Your First Year as a Catholic School Leader

As you work your way through a first year as a Catholic School Leader, you may want to consider the following:

 

LISTENING IS KEY

Listening is especially important advice for first-time principals or for principals who are new to a school. It is important for any new administrator to gather input from those who have been on staff at the school for some time.  Ask [the staff] about what is working in the school and what is not. Meet with people individually, talk with them, get some insight and don’t try to change everything overnight.

Let the school’s faculty know up front that you intend to spend some time assessing the situation. Get in and learn how the school works before making any major changes. Some of the things you think would never work may be great ideas that work for that school.

Remember the school ran OK before you got there, and it will run OK after you leave. Many individuals guide the ship. Find them and solicit their thoughts. Those individuals include the school custodian, the secretary, the bus driver, the pastor, and even the kid who’s always in your office for being in trouble.

Spend most of your time listening to staff, students, and parents.  Get concerns out in the open, and be as accessible as possible. Save paperwork until the end of the day when things have quieted down so that you can be visible in classrooms and throughout the school. Make it a priority to visit classrooms every day. It’s amazing how much information you can gather just by being out of your office and approachable.

 

SHARE YOUR LEADERSHIP

Don’t forget that there’s a wealth of talent around you. The Holy Spirit didn’t give you all of the wisdom. We each got just a piece of the wisdom and we are therefore larger than the sum of our parts. Staff members who are well known in the community might request volunteers or donations for school events; those who are good organizers could be tapped to organize an after-school parent activity, a Family Math Night, a carnival, or an ice-cream social. Good Principals find out what people’s talents are and put them to work for the good of the children and the school. Even disgruntled employees have talents, and approaching them for their help just might turn them around. Everyone loves to feel important and needed.

Keep the personal in personnel. Remember at all times that you are dealing with people and feelings.  Support your staff. Teaching is hard work.

Don’t try to do it all yourself.  God is in community – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. If he can’t do it alone what would make any of us think we can .Give the teachers everything you can to help them do their job; then get out of the way and let them do it. Remember, it’s better to give than to receive. Give them compliments. Share victories. Give them credit.

 

FIND A MENTOR … AND MORE PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT ADVICE

A true mentor is not just someone assigned.  The mentor is there when needed to discuss issues, offer advice, bounce ideas, and help you with making decisions.

Be sure to educate the clergy in your service area to the mission, vision and goals of the school. Ask the pastors in your service area  – how you can better serve them. I believe the Church has a mission and therefore we have schools. You are about the mission of the Church – your success – is the success of the Church.

Think about the characteristics of your principalship and how you want your tenure at the helm to be described. Write it down.  Keep it where you can see it every day, on the bathroom mirror or refrigerator, for example. Read it every day, then go do it!

Read the book, How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk, by Adele Faber. It was recommended to me and one help book I always recommend to parents, teachers, and administrators.

Make sure that time with God and your family is listed as an important priority appointment on your calendar. Don’t let a day pass where you ignore yourself, your prayer life and your family. If you fail to feed your soul you won’t be able to feed the teachers or your family.

 

DON’T FORGET THE KIDS!

Every principal knows it, but some forget it as they get caught up at their desk. It is impossible to lead the spiritual and academic formation of children from your desk.  Ask yourself am I spending my time in the best interest of student formation.

Most of the successful Catholic school principals I know had their character stretched early in their tenure as a principal.. There will be days you probably will question everything about yourself and your abilities. This is normal and it has the wonderful potential of causing tremendous personal growth.

And while you will feel days of joy and the rewards will be great, you will also feel days of despair and times you will be overwhelmed. In those dark hours give it over to Jesus. You are not alone – he is always with you as you are laboring together as partners in HIS Father’s business.

May the blessed Mother watch over you and your school community throughout the days and nights of the 2019-2020 school year. Please be assured of my prayers for you, your family, faculty, school parents and students.

 

Steven Virgadamo is an educator and school administrator filled with a missionary zeal for contributing to education reform. Currently, he serves as the Associate Superintendent for Leadership at the Archdiocese of New York and he encourages every Catholic School Leader to consider the tips he offers above.

Steven Virgadamo Joins Firm Full-Time

Larry Furey, Founder of Partners in Mission, is pleased to announce that Steven Virgadamo has joined the firm on a full-time basis. 

 

“Partners in Mission is widely recognized as the leading counsel to our Steve Virgadamonation’s Catholic schools in areas of advancement, enrollment management and leadership,” Larry said. “As our nation-wide partnerships with Catholic schools, dioceses and religious communities further expand, we continue to grow our practice with accomplished and proven full-time practitioners like Steven to meet the mission-critical needs of our school communities. To my knowledge, there isn’t an active advocate for Catholic education who has been on more Catholic school or diocesan campuses than Steven Virgadamo. With Steven’s expanded role and full-time commitment, Catholic schools, as well as all areas of our practice, will benefit from his subject matter expertise, professional network, and extensive experience in directing robust Catholic school leadership formation programs.”

 

Steven’s career spans 30-plus years in partnering with more than 6,000 Catholic schools in over 120 dioceses in the United States. Steve has formed and mentored school leaders while serving as the Vice President of Catholic School Management and as an Associate Director at the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education (ACE) Program. Over the past five years as an Associate Superintendent of Schools in the Archdiocese of New York, he managed and directed over 150 regional and national searches for Catholic elementary and secondary school leaders. As the Executive Director of the Curran Catholic School Leadership Academy and in conjunction with Fordham University, St. John’s University, and the University of Notre Dame’s ACE, he designed and implemented a nationally recognized program for aspiring Catholic school leaders. In 2018, the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA) awarded Steven, the John F. Meyers, Presidents Award and named him one of the most influential people in Catholic education over the past 25 years.

 

As Steven transitions to his full-time role at Partners in Mission, he will continue to partner with schools and dioceses in areas of Strategic Planning, Operations Planning, Administrative Retreats, Board Formation, and Professional Development; as well as continue to provide advancement counsel. In addition, he also will formally join the School Leadership Search Solutions division of Partners in Mission. For years, Steven has actively supported the belief that the single most distinguishing factor between a successful Catholic school and a struggling one is leadership. He has dedicated his career to identifying, recruiting and most importantly counseling Superintendents, School Presidents, School Leaders, Advancement Directors, Enrollment Mangers and other key members of a school management team.

 

About Partners in Mission

Partners in Mission is a full-service consulting and professional education firm focused exclusively on developing excellence in Catholic school advancement and leadership. Our dedicated team of professionals partner with clients to advance their missions by providing comprehensive and effective solutions to address the challenges they face every day.

About Partners in Mission School Leadership Search Solutions

Partners in Mission School Leadership Search Solutions is the retained search division of Partners in Mission, the nation’s leading full-service consulting firm focused exclusively on developing excellence in Catholic school advancement and leadership. As partners with religious and school communities, boards and dioceses, our team of dedicated search consultants have identified and secured mission-driven professionals to serve in a myriad of diverse Catholic school and diocesan leadership positions from Massachusetts to Hawaii.

What is “Developmentally Appropriate” for Students Today?

“Developmentally Appropriate”

This refers to teachers creating new curriculum, depending on how their students can perform emotionally, cognitively, and physically by a certain age. Not every child develops at the same speed, so teachers must think about their students’ range of abilities. For example, if one child cannot tie their shoes yet but his or her classmates can, they may all fall into a developmentally appropriate range of ability.

 

Child’s Abilities at Different Stages

Kindergartners (typically four to five-year-olds) should be able to walk up stairs, skip, share toys and count objects. A first grader learns to see patterns in words and numbers. They can hold a pencil, and they can respond better in social situations.

As children grow, they are expected to make progress in several realms, both cognitively and physically. They will be better able to interact socially with other students and accept more responsibility and self-control. They will also be able to figure out more difficult concepts with a certain amount of ease.

 

Using Developmentally Appropriate Practices in Creating Lesson Plans

If a teacher has a student still learning a fairly basic concept while other students have learned to master that skill, the teacher knows they will have to implement a DAP (developmentally appropriate practice) as they create lesson plans. This can be a challenge to achieve if the teacher works within a traditional classroom. Using a DAP means they have to tailor each lesson plan to each student’s individual needs.

Ideally, teachers should be able to personalize how they teach the same concept to each student. Incorporating DAPs in lesson planning allows younger students to benefit from a more ideal learning environment.

 

Areas to Consider

  • Knowing what a child should be able to do at each stage of development. This helps teachers fine tune their lesson planning according to their students’ needs.
  • Knowing what is developmentally appropriate for each individual student. Teachers can determine developmental readiness by examining their students in social situations.
  • The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) recommends including information about a student’s family and cultural background in lesson planning decisions as well.

Teachers should encourage students to get hands-on experience and explore the classroom. Allow children to self-direct. Waldorf schools and Montessori schools, specifically, use DAPs in much of their lesson planning and instruction.

The Numerous Educational Outlets of Libraries

The Array of Services that Many Libraries are Now Offering

Libraries have long been associated with borrowing books, and for the last decade or two, free internet access. However, as time goes on, they are offering much more than that. Some, such as the Chicago Public Library, are now offering their WiFi access from home for those who can’t afford their own internet connection. They do so by offering laptops, e-readers, and MP3’s for checkout.

Many are now offering creative maker spaces to utilize tools such as 3-D printers and graphic design programs. They also offer classes on how to utilize said technologies. Others, such as the Westport Free Library in Connecticut, offer stations to practice robot commands. Since Westport launched the program in 2014, more than 2,000 people have utilized and figured out how to operate them.

Even more libraries, such as the Chapel Hill Public Library, are taking advantage of the new OPEN Government Data Act. This act requires that all information, from healthcare to policy changes be made openly available to the public. There are also programs that educate individuals on how to access this information. The Chapel Hill hosts occasional events for this, specifically for entrepreneurs, academics, and civic hackers.

The Hillsboro Brookwood Library in Oregon is yet another organization now displaying their own art or unique collections for the public, including foods grown on local farms or classic American dolls. Speaking of the arts, some, such as the Chattanooga Public Library in Tennessee, are offering their own music studios. Anyone from local talents to aspiring recording artists are welcome to access these.

The Free Library of Philadelphia is offering their own healthcare-related services. These include yoga classes, access to blood pressure monitors, and sex education courses. Many libraries across the country have similar services, so it probably won’t be too long before a majority of libraries in every state join this growing trend.

Last but not least are the myriad of classes that many libraries now offer. They focus on anything from finance, to resume writing. Many also host classes on creative writing, plant growth, government-related topics, and ESL (English Second Language) classes. It seems as though libraries are becoming gold mines for public services that can greatly benefit those with a constant desire to learn.

Customer Service in Catholic Education

Customer experience is one of the hottest buzzwords in Catholic education these days. Schools are retaining national consultants such as Partners in Mission, Inc and committing resources into building a strong customer experience. In many parts of the country Catholic schools are already competing more based on the customer experience versus price or curriculum. After all, a school is a school is a school, and all elementary schools in essence offer the same education adhering to both state and national standards.

So, what is left then to set the school apart but the customer experience. Parents need to be able to rationalize the school purchase decision and the customer experience is the key to happy satisfied parents who are willing to serve as good will ambassadors for your school.

Outside of the education business, we are seeing research that companies that invest in customer experience boast a higher stock price. That said, more companies are also taking customer experience seriously.

The truth is that in the business of Catholic education, there are a many ways to care for and interact with parents to create a positive customer experience.

Customer service is the advice or assistance a school leadership and staff gives to parents.

The goal of customer service is to increase customer satisfaction, and it usually comes by answering questions – often before they need to be asked.  Some schools offer Kindergarten readiness testing for parents and parenting workshops open to parents of both enrolled students and parents with children enrolled elsewhere who members of Catholic parishes. This strategy can be viewed as a customer service gesture on behalf of the parish leadership as well.

Customer care means how well parents are taken care of while they interact with school leadership and staff.

A term used less often is customer care, which is how well customers are taken care of while they interact with the school leaders, faculty, and staff and yes even the custodial staff. Customer care in Catholic education is actually caring for parents, listening to their needs, and finding the right solution – even if it means sometimes helping them find a neighboring Catholic school more prepared to meet their needs.  In many instances, customer care moves one step beyond basic customer service by building an emotional connection and making parents feel like a member of the community. I refer to this as the Starbucks experience. Starbucks doesn’t really sell coffee but rather the experience of community.

Customer experience is the total journey of parent’s interactions with a school.

Customer experience is the sum of all contact, from first discovering and researching school options, to touring a campus, applying, admission notification, registration, enrollment, and the day to day interactions each day of the school year with EVERY member of the school staff. with to actually using the product and following up with the brand afterwards. Customer experience measures how customers feel about a company overall and includes the emotional, physical, psychological connection parents as a consumer have with the school.  Customer care for school parents isn’t a one-off interaction, but rather includes the entire lifecycle and every touch point a parent has with the school.

If these three concepts all sound similar, it’s because they all contribute to a school delivering on its promises and building loyal, satisfied parents and alumni. Customer experience is the overarching sum of all interactions, and customer service and customer care are pieces of that puzzle.

Customer service is a vital part of the entire experience—nearly 75% of customers who leave do so because they aren’t satisfied with customer service. However, customer service and customer care often fall under the responsibility of the school leadership. To be effective, everyone in the organization should be invested in customer experience.

Customer experience is more than just a buzzword—it should be at the heart of everything a Catholic school does. By including customer service and customer care, Catholic school leaders can exceed expectations and delight parents.

Millennial Parents, Catholic Schools and Customer Service

Here are 8 suggestions and a few customer service core values for improving customer experience in Catholic schools.  

1. Streamline. Millennial parents “digital parity.” They expect schools efficient, streamlined, user friendly and the best of what they customers have experienced online in every other part of their lives.  Millennial parents expect self-service options, they don’t expect to repeatedly fill out forms with information they’ve already provided elsewhere, and they actively rebel against org chart-mandated siloing (“I don’t handle that, you’ll have to go down the hall, or “you’ll have to come back on Tuesdays, when Mr. ____ is in the office.”)

2. Try it yourself. Are you easy to use? You won’t know until you try.  Try your own website without your auto-log in.  Is it easy?  Or a pain? Come in the front door of your building (rather than entering from the employee parking area) and see if the front door swings open easily, or whacks you on the shoulder.  Look for the signs and symbols at the get go and throughout the building that say we are a Catholic school.  Try a little secret shopping – Fill out a “request information” form online and see if anyone—ever!—responds.  You may be shocked at what you find out.

 

3. Do the hustle.  Perfect customer service, delivered late, feels wrong. And the timeline in this digital age for what parents as the consumer consider a delayed response is continually getting shorter. You’re not being judged based on what’s always been “fast enough for education”; you’re being judged, implicitly and unconsciously, based on the speed of Amazon.

 

4. Benchmark outside of education. More and more, what your parents are expecting in customer service comes from the service they experience outside of education–and you, too, should look outside of education to great companies and organizations regardless of industry for inspiration that will improve your user friendliness.

 

5. Learn to apologize.  Things will go wrong. Prepare for this, emotionally as well as operationally.   Note that sometimes–often–you’re simply apologizing for the situation, not for something you did wrong. It doesn’t matter; an apology is still of value. Parents are willing to recognize we are all perfectly imperfect.

 

6. Don’t make parents ask simple questions that they should have been able to find online. Customers don’t like to be burdened to contact you for items that could easily be provided for them on a self-service basis.  The lunch menu and photo day requirements are good examples here.

 

7. Get the welcome to your school right even before you greet the parent.  Welcomes are first impressions and are a key moment in customer service. If parking is hard to find, if disabled access is poor (or–just as common–confusing), if office hours are posted incorrectly online, then you’re making a poor impression before the parent or prospective parent gets to consider all the wonder you can do to prepare their child for college and heaven.  

 

8. Build a culture of yes.  A hallmark of a great school is an attitude by every teacher and staff member, that “The answer is yes—now what was your question?”  There’s great power  in getting everyone in your school to share a goal of getting to a “yes” for every consumer, rather than figuring out ways to say “no,” “not my department,” “it doesn’t work that way around here,” “sadly, we cannot accommodate that request,” or “if you call back in the morning, perhaps we’ll be able to help you.” Well-meaning teachers and staff can still find a dozen ways to say no to their parent consumers.   You accomplish this by modeling a spirit of yes, hiring for a spirit of yes, and rewarding a spirit of yes. (And there’s one more thing: Sometimes in education, achieving a culture of “yes” requires rooting out or/and reforming “situational tyrants.” Any institution can become a breeding ground for what I call “situational tyrants,” people who have the power to say “no” within their tiny little fiefdom, and who exercise that powers every chance they get.  It is incredibly important to get these people to come over to your program of having “yes” as the goal: “Yes, we can assist you with this and would be happy to do so.

Finally, work with all staff members to adopt customer service core values I refer to as:

  • Make it Happen
  • No Drama
  • Absolute Persistence
  • Relentless Support
  • Passion in All Things
  • Get Your Hands dirty

How to Stay Organized as a Teacher

Whether you’re a teacher or a school administrator, your work days are undoubtedly hectic. A seemingly endless stream of demands may lead to much stress. If you find yourself counting the days until the next vacation break, maybe you need to consider a new approach. Working for a school does not mean that you must feel overworked and frazzled every day. The following tips should help you to stay organized and restore your sense of calm.

 

Start With Your Space

The first step in becoming more organized is to reorganize your classroom or office. This doesn’t need to be a huge undertaking, but it may involve a time commitment of several hours. Designate a place for every item in the room. You might use inexpensive storage containers from a discount store to house paperwork, folders, and art supplies. Place the items you rely on the most as close to your desk as possible. You might benefit from adding a bookcase or shelves to the area. The extra shelf space may serve as an ideal location to store your containers.

 

Write Down Your Thoughts and Plans

Creative and useful ideas may come to you throughout the day, but they will be worth nothing if you forget them shortly after they appear. Before you become engaged in another activity, take a moment to make a quick record of each thought as it comes to you. You might jot down a great idea in a notepad that you keep for this purpose. Another option is to record your thoughts and plans in an online format. You may utilize a simple document from a word processor to keep track of your ideas.

 

Pace Yourself

Remember that you can only accomplish a finite amount of work in one day. This rule also applies to organizing your space. Work on the most important or urgent tasks first, and trust that you’ll get everything else done at a later date. If you don’t have the time to address a parent’s question today, the task can probably be done tomorrow. Similarly, you probably don’t need to transfer all of your paperwork into storage containers in one afternoon.

 

Delegate Work When Possible

You may never be comfortable delegating certain tasks to another person, but try to assign some work to an assistant when possible. If you try to do everything without help, you might soon experience burnout. Additionally, your students may appreciate an opportunity to help you occasionally, so don’t overlook them when you need to accomplish small tasks.

 

Being a teacher or school administrator is admirable. You are contributing to the future of today’s youth and to society in general. By taking a few steps to stay organized, you could maximize your potential and remain calmer throughout the day.

Christmas Break – a time of Recollection and Reflection for School Leaders

Sometime over the next two days the final bell will ring and the students will pour out of our Catholic school buildings to go home. At that moment, every Catholic school leader will feel a huge sigh of relief, because as you share your “Merry Christmas’ and Happy New Year” with each student, teacher and parent you will know that you made it to Christmas break and concluded another semester as a school leader.

The first semester of each school year is always a semester with many ups and downs, but it is an important time to lay the solid foundation for continuous improvement. As Christmas break begins, it is a time of reflection on what worked and what didn’t, so each school leader – new or a veteran – can continue to move forward with success.

The humid days of summer can feel as though it was years ago considering the amount of time and energy you have spent with the teachers, students, and parents in the process of building up the school. In this short time each Catholic school leader has accomplished huge feats, and still have much to do. Catholic school leaders today are busier than ever before and each school leader has earned the right to be extremely proud their progress.

As a leader, reflection is an extremely important aspect of life–it is an art form that must be practiced. It requires digging deep into recollection. As I recount stories of students, and stories from my own life, I realize that many have shaped who I am as a leader, and identify why I act the way I do.

This is not my first time practicing or encouraging school leaders to adopt this art of recollection – at first, it can be extremely difficult, and you may not know where to begin. You may not want to look back – I know I didn’t want to look back—mainly because I was afraid of what I might see. I had always been taught to show my strength, focus on it, and remain confident in appearance, despite what I was feeling on the inside. This exercise, this art of reflection to the public, was contradictory to my own upbringing. To some people it may be self-gratifying to research oneself in context with the culture that surrounds them, but in my case, it was the exact opposite, and something in the beginning, I viewed as painstakingly torturous.

Then one day, I realized that there was no moving forward as a school leader until I looked into the past. As a leader, similar to an athlete, I had to review my own practice, and look honestly at myself, as well as those that were around me, so I could be better, and possibly help others to become better.

The distractions and the humming of the world are sometimes extremely difficult to overcome, especially during the rhythm of life when school is in session, but this art form is necessary in analyzing and reflecting on what is working and what is not, so that adjustments can be made. If it can’t be done during the semester, then it must be done at semester breaks and summer vacation.

So at this Christmas break, I invite and encourage each of you to initiate a new practice in your life as school leader – spend quiet time practicing reflection and taking a hard look at the realities that surround you and your school. Spend time thinking about what you have done well and what you could have done better during your first semester as a school leader or a first semester leading a different school than in the past. Then write it down and conclude with New Year’s Resolutions which focus on what you will do to make you a better leader, your faculty better teachers, your students more motivated and your parents more committed to partnering with you in their education of each child entrusted to your care.

In the meantime, please know that I pray you will all enjoy a blessed Christmas and make many memories with family and friends.

Steve Virgadamo Selected to Launch the Entrepreneurial Leadership Series at New York’s Fordham University

This is a press release, and can be found at  PR.com

New York, NY, October 14, 2016 –(PR.com)– Fordham University – the Jesuit University of New York – selected Steve Virgadamo to launch the 2016-2017 Entrepreneurial Leadership Series. The invitation only Leadership Series sponsored by Fordham University will focus on Leading through Crisis. Dr. Gerald Cattaro, Director of the Fordham Center for School leadership said: “It is always easy to find spirituality during times of joy, but leaders are called to seek grace and strength during times of crisis and sorrow as well.”

Steven Virgadamo a long time advocate of school choice is an expert in managing and leading schools, colleges and universities through dynamic planning processes. On November 4, 2016, Virgadamo will be at the Fordham Lincoln Center Campus to speak with hundreds of Board Members as well as the Chief Executive Officers and the Chief Operation Officers representing hundreds of schools from throughout the United States. Virgadamo said his talk entitled Planning to Avert Crisis is designed to not only provide practical tools but to inspire hope and feed the spirit of passionate leaders committed to educational reform.

Mr. Virgadamo will bring insight to the Fordham Entrepreneurial Series as he was one of the VIP delegates from the United States invited by the Vatican Congregation to participate in the World Congress on Catholic Education in 2015. For more than 30 years, has worked directly with thousands of Catholic schools both within the continental United States and abroad. In 2012, the Alliance for Catholic Education Program at the University of Notre Dame tapped him to consult with Bishops and Catholic School Superintendents throughout the United States to initiate overall school improvement plans. In 2014, he was invited to return to his New York City roots where he is currently contributing to the architectural re-engineering of the Catholic School System in the Archdiocese of New York.

Catholic School Olympians

There are a lot of Olympians from all over the world participating in Rio 2016 Olympic Games, a wonderful chance for huge amounts people from all over the world, both athletes and spectators, to come together and root for one another in a global arena. However, you might have heard of a few specifically: Katie Ledecky, Lia Neal, and Anabelle Smith are names you probably recognize, as all three have won medals in the games.

 

But that’s not the only thing these athletes have in common: They, along with Olympians Erin Rafuse, Gaby Lopez, KK Clark, are all products of the Sacred Heart Schools, a Catholic school network of over 145 Catholic education institutions founded by the Society of the Sacred Heart.

 

“Our athletes recognize that their gifts comes from God and are not to be wasted,” the school’s communications director Donna Heckler told CNA.“They are taught to take personal responsibility for themselves while being self-disciplined in their efforts,” she said.

 

Coming from four different countries and from and from an institution over 200 years old, these athletes have a lot to be thankful for.

 

“Ledecky attended Catholic school –  Little Flower School in Bethesda through 8th grade, and then Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart for high school – her whole life. “My Catholic faith is very important to me. It always has been and it always will be. It is part of who I am and I feel comfortable practicing my faith. It helps me put things in perspective,” Ledecky told the Catholic Standard in a recent interview. She also confirmed that she says a “Hail Mary” before each event. “I do say a prayer – or two – before any race. The Hail Mary is a beautiful prayer and I find that it calms me,” she told the Catholic Standard.

 

While Heckler noted that they have no secret to producing Olympians, she did say that the school “does have a secret to producing amazing people. That secret is seen in the five Goals and Criteria of the Sacred Heart Schools that bind the schools together.” According to Heckler, the network of Sacred Heart Schools focuses on instilling five main goals in their students: a personal relationship with God, respect for intellectual values, social awareness and action, community building, and personal growth. “The Goals and Criteria, which are Sacred Heart educational principles, are foundational to this year’s dedicated Sacred Heart Olympians,” the schools press release stated.””

 

The Sacred Heart schools are run by the Sisters of the Society of the Sacred Heart. There is a focus on challenging every student to be their “most authentic selves,” as well as a strong faith, commitment to the transforming power of the Spirit of God, and the value of community, it’s clear that the Sisters are helping to inspire students to a life of determination, commitment, and faith that is an inspiration to many. These athletes are just a small few of the successful students of Sacred Heart schools specifically, but also of a Catholic education worldwide.

 

It is wonderful to see athletes that will come to inspire generations of children who are not just excelling physically, but who have a strong foundation of self-discipline, a relationship with God, and values that are inspirational in and of themselves.