In 2017, the Lafayette Catholic School System began a comprehensive annual review of school and system performance. This empowers each school and our administrators to identify opportunities for improvement in areas that matter to our parents, supporters and long-term success of our students and schools. The following is a look at some of the things we have accomplished for which we can all be proud and areas for continuous improvement. These are each indicators of success, and collectively, they help demonstrate the true value of a Catholic education in educating the whole person: spiritually, academically, physically, and socially.
This past year a group of eight administrators and nine teachers went through over 40 hours of professional development, data analysis, strategic visioning and planning. LCSS utilizes a planning process referred to as continuous improvement. With this review and planning, LCSS keeps its mission front and center, and evaluates its progress around four domains that are connected to the National Catholic Standards and Benchmarks. Those domains are: Mission and Catholic Identity, Academic Excellence, Governance & Leadership and Operational Vitality. The following is a brief snapshot of our progress.
Mission and Catholic Identity
100% of faculty, staff and administration are committed to faith formation and to be examples of our Gospel Values.
Students, faculty and staff pray together hourly, attend mass together weekly and are reminded of their goal to become saints – always
Students, faculty and staff have the opportunity to attend monthly adoration and reconciliation.
4 nationally recognized speakers were brought in to speak to our students by our Campus Ministry Department.
92 CC students volunteered to be retreat leaders at retreats throughout the year.
CC Students contributed 12,966 hours of service to their parishes, school, and community – 4,274 more than required.
Students of all ages are immersed in a culture that promotes the exploration of the transcendentals.
100% of LCSS 3rd graders passed the IREAD-3 3rd Grade Reading Proficiency Test
Grades 3-8 combined ILearn Proficiency Rates
St. Mary’s 3rd Grade Math Proficiency = 100%
10th Grade ISTEP (ELA + Math) Combined results
College Placement Rate
% of CC students that graduate with college credits
% of CC students that graduate with 12 or more college credits
On-time completion rate – 4 year state college = 77%
Central Catholic offers 45 college credit hours through our partnerships with IU Kokomo and Ivy Tech
2018 – 2019 General Operations
2018 – 2019 Annual Philanthropic Efforts
LCSS operates an efficient budget, with an average spend of approximately $7,500 per student PreK through 12th grade. This spending ranges from approximately $6,500 for elementary students to over $10,000 for Sr. High students at Central Catholic. LCSS strives to keep the expenses in check, while also ensuring that quality is high and mission is a priority.
Governance & Leadership
The environment in education, like every industry, is in a constant state of change. Right now, advances in technology risk leaving a significant portion of humanity behind. We want our faculty, staff and students to maximize
The PACE OF CHANGE has NEVER BEEN this FAST, yet will never be this SLOW again. – Justin Trudeau
their human potential and to both be good and do good. In order to do this, we must remain focused on our mission and looking at the data across all of our domains. This is very difficult work when the pace of change is often outpacing our resources and ability to adapt. To remain a top performing institution we are already hard at work on overcoming the challenges.
We continue to develop new surveys aligned to the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools (NSBECS) and expand our domains to not only represent parents, but teachers and students. This past summer administration and faculty examined 117 student subdomains, 75 teacher subdomains, 77 parent subdomains, ISTEP, ILEARN, IREAD and SAT results. After looking at the data, we set priorities by school considering our resources of people, time and money.
2019 – 2020 Objectives
As administrators and teachers we remain engaged in our continuous improvement cycle of PLAN, DO, CHECK and ACT. Our outstanding teachers and principals remain committed to meeting every Monday to continue to analyze and map out the strategy, and measure our performance towards our shared objectives.
As we look towards the future we must recognize the headwinds, but never forget who is propelling us forward. The duty of educating our young is an irreplaceable role that Catholic schools play in our local and broader communities. We must continue to foster the cooperation of all those involved in this apostolic work.
- Low Birth Rates: The U.S. birthrate fell again in 2018 to its lowest number of births in 32 years. Today, we have more families but less students than at the peak of Catholic education in the mid-sixties.
- Stressed Funding Sources: Family tuition and fees represent less than half of the total operating budget. We must continue to diversify and expand our revenue sources as a shared responsibility of not only the Church, but our entire community.
- “Teacher Shortage”: Students who could choose to become teachers are choosing not to. People who could choose to stay in the classroom are instead leaving the profession. Our real problem is how to attract and retain those people. We must continue efforts to treat all teachers with respect, remain focused on competitive pay and encourage others to enter this noble profession.
- Faith & Culture: In the broadest sense of the word, faith and culture are inextricably connected because a culture is always an expression of the faith which informs it. In a culture animated with secularism, our Catholic schools must prepare our students to be guided toward the great values of mankind: truth, good and beauty; now more than ever.
- Student Mental Health: Up to one in five kids living in the U.S. shows signs or symptoms of mental health disorder in a given year. Our schools play a critical role in identifying students with problems and helping them succeed. Having enough resources to work with students and families to provide the necessary support is a growing challenge.
- Political: A pressing problem for parochial schools and families in Indiana is the political movement to remove government financial assistance for families who choose a parochial school. The Church’s teaching authority has frequently addressed the rights of parents to such help in fulfilling their obligation to educate their children. Families, regardless of income, must enjoy the true liberty in deciding how their children are to be educated. A state monopoly of education does not respect the fundamental right and freedom of the individual.
Vision for the Future
We have been focused on mission achievement, student success and increased enrollment for several years. With strong academic results, an outstanding curriculum in place, and schools at or near capacity, we now turn to making prudent and wise investments in other areas. We have undergone a multi-year planning process, conducted community-wide surveys and personally met with hundreds of key-stakeholders to determine how we can best serve our students and parents going forward. Based on the feedback, we developed Vision 2030, a strategic plan to outline a 15-year roadmap for the future of LCSS. As an outcome to the study, we identified $29 million in investments needed to secure our future, including projects that will impact every school and parish in our school system. We consulted with each parish in the school system to help prioritize these projects, with a goal of tackling them in phases. Collectively, we prioritized the following for Phase I:
- Central Catholic Jr. – Sr. High School ($3 million)
- Early Childhood Education ($2.5 million)
- Endowment ($2 million)
“When we invest in our Catholic schools, we invest in the entire Catholic community here in this diocese as well as in the preservation of our faith.” – Fr. Eric Underwood, Pastor, St. Lawrence Parish and School
In May, we announced LCSS received the largest single gift in the school system’s history. Franciscan Health, Inc., a ministry of The Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration donated a 10,000 square foot building to be the home for a new Early Learning Childhood Center. This transformational gift affords us the opportunity to provide more high-quality early childhood education access in our community. Preschool and daycare play an important role in the modern Catholic family, which typically has two working parents. The new center, scheduled to open in the fall of 2020, is vitally important to the health of our K-12 program. Once families experience our early childhood program, they tend to stay with LCSS through grade school and high school. To meet the needs of our families, we must invest in all-day care programs and add additional space to meet the growing demand. Investment in this critical developmental period of children’s lives will be a foundation for our entire Catholic community. This investment will help foster a feeder system for our entire school system, provide additional faith-based support services for young families to be supported by our community of faith, and help equip every family with the spiritual tools necessary to engage in faith formation activities during a critical developmental period for the child and family. Both the Church and the world need families who are prepared to be witness to Christ’s vision of life and love.