Following a Nov. 10 concluding review of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Trenton by Cognia – a global school accreditation agency – diocesan superintendent of schools, Dr. Vincent de Paul Schmidt, was confident.

“The Cognia exit Zoom was very insightful [and] the visit itself went very, very well,” Dr. Schmidt wrote to the diocesan Curia and school representatives. “A true testament to your hard work today and over the past several months; I appreciate all the effort and making yourselves available to the cause.”

A call was made to all schools and priests of parishes with a school, requesting that local school administrators choose representatives for their respective schools, Dr. Schmidt explained. “It was a really nice mix” of representatives, he said. Various stakeholders, including school students, staff, administrators, parents, and pastors, gave 257 interviews to Cognia to evaluate the Diocese of Trenton’s Catholic schools for accreditation.

The review is very significant, he pointed out, “because it allows our schools to be viewed nationally as successful at producing students who are high-achieving.”

Since Cognia evaluates all types of schools and educational systems, both secular and parochial, "We chose to be reviewed on national Catholic benchmarks and Catholic criteria,” Dr. Schmidt noted. Those criteria included the Diocese’s analysis of its testing data, what the curriculum aims to accomplish, and whether that was brought to fruition at the classroom level.

Dr. Schmidt recalled, “The three common themes they heard from interviews were [that our schools are] truly Catholic, they become family centers, and they are critically important to the communities in which they reside.”

While the final result is yet to come, Dr. Schmidt noted “the overwhelming feeling of the review team was very positive.”

“I also want to thank the team here at the Chancery for all their hard work,” he added. “I sincerely appreciate all the work at the school level to make this Cognia visit a success.”