Summer 2023…Blink and you missed it!!
The students of the Catholic schools of the Diocese of Trenton may have enjoyed the shore, with its sandy beaches or a day of relaxation spent at the swimming pool, but the Department of Catholic Schools has been busy. There have been meetings to plan, report cards to redesign, summer enrichment programs to support, new platforms for our teachers to work within for their respective professional development needs and more.
Whew!! Much going on…
In reality, that is what summer in the Diocese of Trenton is all about: reflecting on what has happened over the past nine months and planning to build on these successes. To be sure, our schools have had many successes upon which to build.
The Catholic identity of our schools remains such a powerful element of our programming. Each and every time I enter a Catholic school in the Diocese of Trenton, I am amazed by the overwhelming feel of the Catholic environment of the school. There are always displays of projects and opportunities for students’ participation, so as to live as servants of Christ.
More impactful are the relationships I see forming between classmates, staff members and the communities of the faithful within the parish. There is just a “feel” to our schools that does not seem present in other schools I visit around the state. We are blessed to have this cultivated by our staffs, school administrators and priest leaders.
Our academic achievement is strong when considering the national test scores released by the U.S. Department of Education. Catholic school performance continues to eclipse the national averages of our public school counterparts. Again, a point of pride for our schools, but it is also in line with the expectations of our parents for their investment in our Catholic schools.
Lastly, I would mention the personal development that I see within our Catholic schools. Our programs simply improve with all the opportunities. Whether it is our summer enrichment programming that was newly available in 14 of our elementary schools, the summer camps programs that our high schools offer, the Orton-Gillingham training program for our teachers, and other opportunities for professional development and growth. Our schools are continuing to grow at each and every opportunity. Life-long learning to be sure!
And lastly, a note about the strides our schools have made to ensure that all campuses remain safe places of learning. We’re able to report that substantive security measures and safety protocols have been successfully established in our schools. But that is not something to rest upon as the new year begins.
The Diocese of Trenton and the Department of Catholic Schools have made school safety and security a continued focus and priority. The safety of our students is critical. Our schools have invested financially in the resources necessary to make this assurance to our parents. Furthermore, our schools are investing the time to be certified in school safety by the State of New Jersey. All of these efforts underscore that the schools are doing everything possible to keep our students safe while they focus on learning.
The DCS is looking forward to building on the shoulders of our past successes. In so doing, Catholic schools are confident that they will continue to grow and become the communities our parents expect, and our parish communities deserve.
Thank you and have a wonderful start of the year.