N.C.E.A. Unveils New Theme For Its Marketing Campaign

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Anaheim, Calif.--The National Catholic Educational Association unveiled a new theme and logo for its national marketing campaign for Roman Catholic schools at its annual convention here last week.

The theme, "Catholic Schools: Schools You Can Believe In,'' is intended to underscore both the values and the academic excellence of Catholic education, officials said.

"'Schools You Can Believe In' is a powerful message for parents,'' said Robert J. Kealey, the executive director of the N.C.E.A.'s department of elementary schools.

"All that parents want for their children--a good education, training in morals and ethics, a safe environment--already can be found in Catholic schools,'' he said.

The marketing program is sponsored jointly by the N.C.E.A. and the United States Catholic Conference.

Previously, the four-year-old campaign has changed themes annually. But the new theme and logo will remain in place for several years.

The colorful campaign logo depicts a leaping figure holding aloft a large book, which is meant to symbolize both education and the Bible. The figure moves outward from a background incorporating a triangle shape--symbolizing the Trinity--and a sunburst, representing the dawn of a new day, officials said.

Past campaign themes have emphasized educational choice. This year, with the issue taking a back burner at the national level, school choice has moved into the campaign handbook, which advises Catholic-school supporters on how to promote the issue.

The N.C.E.A. places great significance on marketing efforts and attributes this year's continued upswing in national enrollment at least in part to successful salesmanship.

One way for a Catholic school to boost enrollment seems to be to win a U.S. Education Department "Blue Ribbon School'' award.

A University of San Francisco doctoral student, presenting a summary of her dissertation here last week, has found that Catholic elementary schools that won that distinction experienced increased enrollment, less teacher attrition, an increase in corporate sponsorship, and improved school climate.

Marty Webb, the principal of the Corpus Christi School in Houston, conducted the study.

Ms. Webb looked at 43 Catholic elementary schools that were selected between 1985 and 1990 and had not had a change of principal since then.

Student enrollment in the sample schools had risen 18 percent since the award. Moreover, while just 15 percent of the schools were fully enrolled when they applied for the award, 62 percent had full enrollments at the time of Ms. Webb's survey.

The National Association of Boards of Catholic Education last week released a survey on the growth of archdiocesan and diocesan boards of education.

The survey polled archdioceses and dioceses to determine whether they had diocesan-level boards and what characteristics those boards had.

Of the 179 archdioceses and dioceses responding to the survey, 78 percent had boards or some other identified governance structure.

Most often, the poll found, the boards work on finance, planning, and policy development, as well as on public relations, marketing, and development.

In addition to having pastors, parents, and educators as board members, 55 percent of the dioceses reported having members of the business community on their boards.

The poll also found that 71 percent of board respondents gave their own board a letter grade of A or B for effectiveness.

Unlike public school boards, Catholic boards largely work in an advisory or consultative capacity to the bishop and school superintendent.

In a ceremony here late last week, the N.C.E.A. was expected to grant formal "associated organization'' status to the U.S. chapter of Teachers' Teams, an international association of Catholic teachers who work in public schools.

The N.C.E.A. will provide administrative and membership support to the group. (See Education Week, Sept. 8, 1993.)

Vol. 13, Issue 29

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