School Choice & Charters

Catholic School Principals Scrambling, Looking for Support

By Sean Cavanagh — May 08, 2012 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Many Catholic school principals are struggling to keep up with the myriad financial and administrative demands placed on them, according to a new report, which recommends that they be given more focused duties—and that they form a nationwide association to press their policy concerns.

Those findings are included in a survey of about 1,700 Catholic primary school principals, which was directed by the Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program at the University of Notre Dame, in Indiana. The results of the survey are soon to be released by Information Age Publishing, program officials say.

Today, many Catholic principals are forced to “exercise a type of triage over their jobs, attending to what is urgent right now and often neglecting strategic goals and long-term plans,” according to a summary of the findings that accompany the survey. While administrators “are dedicated and faith-filled,” the authors say, “they are often frustrated and overwhelmed in their ministerial positions. If they are to continue to succeed in their important roles, they will require support from church leadership and serious, ongoing professional development, designed to meet their growing and changing needs.”

The principals reported that the issues they are most focused on in their schools are financial management and marketing, followed by promoting Catholic identity, enrollment management, and long-range planning. The emphasis on finances and marketing is almost certainly a reflection of the pressures that principals feel to attract new students and families, explained Rev. Ronald J. Nuzzi, senior director of the Remick leadership program, who worked with other faculty on the report. The Remick leadership program provides coursework and degree programs for aspiring Catholic school administrators. Many of its students are teachers who hope to move into administrative positions, Nuzzi said.

When asked about the biggest area of need or challenge they faced, the greatest number of principlals, 1,030, said enrollment, followed by financial management, 930; development, 463; marketing, 277; capital improvements, 229; maintaining affordability, 194; technology, 186; Catholic identity, 147; academic quality, 124; and long-range planning, 99.

Principals end up having to juggle a range of activities, the survey found, which range from fundraising and encouraging alumni to become more involved with the school to overseeing renovations of aging buildings, to trying to explain the value of a Catholic education at a time when many potential families may be concerned about the costs of private school tuition.

The report offers a series of recommendations, one of which is the creation of a national association of Catholic primary schools principals, to advocate for those administrators’ needs and help them speak with a more unified voice on policy issues. Such advocacy, the authors say, could include taking positions on vouchers, tuition tax credits, or overall school choice, where too often, “Catholic school principals are silent.” Another recommendation is to change how Catholic schools are governed, so that many financial and development duties are put “in the hands of a properly educated advancement professional, not an educator.” In addition, the authors see a need for a more organized and comprehensive professional development system for Catholic school principals.

Related Tags:

A version of this news article first appeared in the Charters & Choice blog.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
How Data and Digital Curriculum Can Drive Personalized Instruction
As we return from an abnormal year, it’s an educator’s top priority to make sure the lessons learned under adversity positively impact students during the new school year. Digital curriculum has emerged from the pandemic
Content provided by Kiddom
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

School Choice & Charters Virtual Charters in Hot Water Again. Accusations of Fraud Prompt $150M Lawsuit
Indiana officials seek to recoup more than $150 million they say was either wrongly obtained or misspent by a consortium of virtual schools.
Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star
2 min read
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis. Rokita filed a lawsuit against a group of online charter schools accused of defrauding the state out of millions of dollars Thursday, July 8, 2021.
Indiana's attorney general Todd Rokita speaks at a news conference on Sept. 16, 2020, in Indianapolis.
Darron Cummings/AP
School Choice & Charters How the Pandemic Helped Fuel the Private School Choice Movement
State lawmakers got a new talking point as they pushed to create and expand programs to send students to private schools.
8 min read
Collage showing two boys in classroom during pandemic wearing masks with cropped photo of feet and arrows going in different directions.
Collage by Gina Tomko/EducationWeek (Images: Getty)
School Choice & Charters Opinion Taking Stock After 30 Years of Charter Schools
Rick Hess speaks with Nina Rees, president and CEO of the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, on charter schools turning 30.
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
School Choice & Charters In Fight Over Millions of Dollars for Charter Schools, a Marijuana Tax May Bring Peace
The Oklahoma State Board of Education voted unanimously to rescind a polarizing lawsuit settlement, pending certain stipulations.
Nuria Martinez-Keel, The Oklahoman
3 min read
Money bills cash funds close up Getty
Getty