Holy Cross School
Bishop O'Connell has shared with pastors and parish administrators Part I of the final report of the Catholic Schools Sustainability Commission that he formed in March of 2012 to study the present and chart the future of Catholic primary and secondary schools in the Diocese of Trenton.
The general strategy to strenghten and sustain Catholic education in the diocese is discussed in Part I of the report. The bishop has emphasized the requirements for a viable Catholic grammar school: (a) sustained strong enrollment and (b) sustainable financial support. The bishop's call for Catholic schools at every level to be "passionately Catholic... academically excellent and financially responsible" must not only be heard, but acted upon for Catholic schools to educate this generation of children and the next.
Part II contains statistics concerning each school - appropriate sections will be shared by the bishop with each pastor whose parish maintains a school.
Over the coming months, the criteria for sustainability will be circulated, discussed and explained. Each parish with a school must discern whether it can authentically commit to these goals or consider the sad, but real possibility of closing their school. Holy Cross school is fundamentally sound but we are always striving to improve; the bishop's report will help us establish additional benchmarks to measure our progress.
For decades, both school families and parishioners without children in our school have sacrificed for the mission of Holy Cross Parish School. We can be proud of its record of academic achievement and spiritual formation. In recent years, we have been emphasizing the importance of the school's Catholic identity and have implemented many curricular and pastoral changes to help strengthen it, while at the same time strenthening the academic curriculum and modernizing the school facility itself. We are blessed with our principal's enthusiastic embrace of Catholic education, an excellent faculty and a supportive School Board and PTA.
We must not only value our Catholic schools, but send our children to them if they are to survive. It seems rather obvious. Our budget for faculty enrichment, student activities, school environment, faculty wages and benefits is directly tied to student enrollment. If each classroom is filled with students to our stated capacity, uniquely small with an excellent faculty:student ratio for this region, not only will the students benefit from a diverse student population, but school programs, staff and facilities will flourish more comfortably with lesser increases in tuition.
Holy Cross School has been an important mission of the parish for almost half the lifetime of the parish. We can ensure it remains healthy under our watch for coming generations to cherish.