Catholic Education Growing in Tippecanoe County
Catholic school enrollment in the United States has experienced a steady decline over the past ten years. Since 2008, over 1,300 Catholic schools have been closed or consolidated and total enrollment has declined by 435,000 students nationwide. Despite this, data continues to show that Catholic schools do a better job of educating students – with better outcomes both short and long-term. These results held true for students of varying socioeconomic backgrounds and showed that these schools consistently outperformed all other school types: public or private. This research was highlighted in a Wall Street Journal article this past June. The Lafayette Catholic School System has experienced similar positive results, which were highlighted in our most recent “State of the Schools” report.
Contrary to national trends, there is still good news to report in Catholic education! Since 2008, 220 NEW Catholic schools have opened their doors around the U.S. And this month, LCSS will welcome 977 (K-12) students to its schools, our highest enrollment in over 40 years. Our preschools continue to fill, with over 102 students registered for classes at St. Mary’s and St. Lawrence. Our preschools have waiting lists for certain programs, especially for the all-day programming. We look forward to expanding and updating our campuses to accommodate this growth as part of our Vision 2030 efforts – stay tuned.
We have a number of new faces to welcome to our LCSS team this academic year! Please join us in welcoming these folks to our community, schools and parishes:
Central Catholic Jr.-Sr. High School
- Ms. Erica Rawles: Senior High English. A graduate of Central Catholic, Ms. Erica Rawles attended Ball State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. She has experience as a substitute teacher for the Lafayette Catholic School System and as a student teacher at Muncie Community School System.
- Ms. Amanda Leary: Junior High Religion and Senior High English. Ms. Amanda Leary attended Valparaiso University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English, graduating magna cum laude. Ms. Leary then studied at the University of Chicago Divinity School where she earned her master’s degree, and she is currently working on her Ph.D. at Purdue University. Ms. Leary has experience as a Graduate Teaching Assistant at Purdue. She has also worked as a Faith Formation Coordinator at Church of the Blessed Sacrament and as a Director of Religious Education at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.
- Mr. Maxwell Goodin: Junior High Social Studies and World History. Mr. Maxwell Goodin earned his bachelor degree in History from Hanover College. He has experience teaching at Decatur Central Middle School and Decatur Central High School. In addition to teaching Social Studies and World History, Mr. Goodin will also be an Assistant Football Coach.
- Mr. David Cornelius: Junior High Social Studies and World History. Mr. David Cornelius is a graduate of Ashford University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, and he earned his teaching degree from Purdue University. Mr. Cornelius previously taught at North White High School.
- Ms. Katlyn Patterson: Junior High Science. Ms. Katlyn Patterson is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Arts and in Theology. Ms. Patterson earned her master’s degree in teaching from Notre Dame of Maryland University. She has taught at Christ the King Catholic School in South Bend, Indiana and at Calvert Hall College High School in Baltimore.
- Mr. Brian Nay: KNIGHT360 Lead Teacher and Head Football Coach. Coach Brian Nay is a full-time licensed teacher who previously worked at Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis as a special education teacher as well as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He has been coaching football since 2010 and has also served as a wide receivers coach, running backs coach, and passing game coordinator.
- Mrs. Kendyl Weise: KNIGHT360 School Counselor. Mrs. Kendyl Weise graduated from Ball State in 2009 with a degree in theatre education. She became certified to teach English and spent a year in a special education classroom at Benton Central High School before moving into a full-time high school English position the following school year. After teaching for awhile, Mrs. Weise applied and was accepted to Indiana State University where she earned her master’s in School Counseling.
- Mrs. Isela Rangel: Office of Student Services Registrar. Mrs. Rangel earned her bachelor’s degree from Eastern Illinois University. She has over 18 years of office experience including working at the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Office and the Danville Area Community College. As part of this experience, Mrs. Rangel has worked over seven years in an academic setting.
- Mrs. Jodi Justak: Math Teacher. Mrs. Justak has been offered and has accepted a Math Teacher position at Central Catholic. We are currently looking for a new Director of Campus Ministry.
- Miss Caitie Beardmore: Interim Director of Campus Ministry. Miss Beardmore will continue to teach high school theology along with her work as Interim Director of Campus Ministry.
- Mrs. Michaela Glafke: Office of Campus Ministry Administrative Assistant. Mrs. Glafke earned her bachelor’s degree from Purdue in Youth, Adult and Family Services. She has experience working in the courthouse as well as several years of experience working as a Youth Minister. She also currently works along Miss Beardmore in their two-person religious comedy act Nun and Nunner.
- Miss Katie Demerly: 2nd Grade Teacher. Miss Demerly graduated from Purdue University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. Miss Demerly previously taught at Sacred Heart Elementary School in Fowler, Indiana.
St. Mary/St. Boniface
- Ms. Charis Vander Plaats: Music Teacher. Ms. Charis Vander Plaats studied Music Education at Ball State University before earning her bachelor’s degree in Education from Purdue University. Ms. Vander Plaats has over 20 years experience in vocal and piano music and is currently the Director of Music and Worship at Grace United Methodist Church and served as the Musical Therapist at the Indiana Veterans’ Home before coming to us. She is also a private vocal and piano instructor as well as a pianist/accompanist, and she previously worked as an Essential Skills Aide and 2nd Grade Teacher at Durgan Elementary School.
- Ms. Sarah Schutte: 4th Grade Teacher. Ms. Sarah Schutte graduated from Purdue University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Reading. Ms. Schutte has experience teaching at Edgelea Elementary School and Mayflower Mill Elementary School.
- Mrs. Shannon Novak: 4th Grade Teacher. Mrs. Shannon Novak graduated from Ball State University where she earned her Bachelor of Science degree. Mrs. Novak taught for several years at Frontier Elementary School before deciding to stay home with her children. She is very excited to be returning to the classroom this year.
- Ms. Kaitlyn Steffus: 5th Grade Teacher. Ms. Kaitlyn Steffus graduated from Purdue University where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and Mild Intervention. Ms. Steffus has teaching experience at Mayflower Mill Elementary School.
- Mrs. Christina Gerkey: 6th Grade Teacher. Mrs. Christina O’Brien-Gerkey attended Indiana University South Bend where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education – Spanish. Mrs. Gerkey taught Spanish at Benton Central High School and Jefferson High School. Mrs. Gerkey also previously worked at St. Mary Cathedral Church as the Religious Education Coordinator.
- Ms. Lindsay Charles: Guidance. Ms. Charles graduated from the University of Michigan where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies Education before attending Indiana Wesleyan University where she earned a master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Ms. Charles previously taught at Harrison High School. She also has counseling experience at Bauer Family Resources, Promising Futures, and Kris Ping, ACSW.
Lafayette Catholic School System
- Mrs. Theresa Loyd: Associate Director of Annual Giving and Alumni and Corporate Relations. Mrs. Loyd is a 2001 alumna of Central Catholic and has worked for the last three years as the Assistant to the Executive Director for the Lafayette Catholic School System, where she has successfully managed several interdepartmental projects including with marketing and advancement. In her new role, Theresa will be closely involved in the coordination and management of fundraising goals and alumni relations. We are currently interviewing for a new Executive Assistant.
A Catholic education is more important than ever in today’s morally complex world. LCSS is committed to growing and remaining competitive in order to ensure that we can continue to offer outstanding, Christ-centered education for another 160 years. In recent years, we have focused on mission achievement, student success, and increased enrollment. With strong test scores, an outstanding curriculum in place, and schools that are at or near capacity, we now turn to making prudent and wise investments in other areas.
We have gone through a careful planning process that helped up plan for the future:
As an outcome of the study, we identified $29 million in investments needed to secure our future, including projects that will impact every school and parish in our diocese. We consulted with each parish in the diocese to help prioritize these projects, with a goal of tackling them in phases. Collectively, we prioritized the following for Phase I:
This past fall we conducted our second annual parent, teacher, and student comprehensive survey. This data was compiled and is being used in both summer and fall planning as part of our continuous improvement efforts. Continuous improvement is not just a buzzword, it is an entire philosophy that is beginning to transform education. The discipline was first perfected in a manufacturing setting and has since been adapted to many industries, including healthcare, software development, and higher education. Strong continuous improvement practices include continuous cycles of gathering data and collecting feedback, organizing and analyzing the information, planning, and doing. Decisions are made collaboratively based upon the evidence. Building continuous improvement practices and methodologies into organizational practices and culture takes time and requires an ongoing commitment, but is essential to long-term growth and viability of any organization operating in a competitive environment with limited resources. Certain lean and agile approaches are being adapted for our culture and environment. We look forward to utilizing these tools and methodologies to remain a top-tier educational option and asset to the Church and our community.
Central Catholic – KNIGHT 3 + 1
For a number of years, Central Catholic graduates have been letting us know that they were thankful they had valuable college credits when they left the halls of Central Catholic. Students like Megan Smith (now Thompson), CC ‘14, left Central Catholic with 34 credit hours, enabling her to enter into Purdue’s 3 + 2 MBA program at Krannert School of Management. Due to this headstart, Megan was able to obtain her Bachelor of Science and Masters in Business (MBA) in 4 years at Purdue. With no prior college credits, this would have taken a student a full 6 years to complete. Many other CC graduates have reported that they have been able to study abroad, get internships, graduate early, and complete multiple majors because of the number of credit hours they earned while a student at Central Catholic. Parent surveys have also indicated a high interest in dual-credit and college-level coursework.
These courses, called “dual-credit”, have been offered at CC for a number of years through Indiana University for $25 per credit hour and were also offered through a partnership with Ivy Tech. Unfortunately, this trend was slowed dramatically when the Commission for Higher Learning started to require that all high school teachers who teach dual-credit must have or obtain a master’s degree in their teaching field. So for example, a Math teacher would need to obtain a master’s degree specifically in Math. Other education-related master’s degrees would not qualify. This change made it very difficult for schools to continue to offer dual-credit courses.
With over 90% of Central Catholic students attending college, the Central Catholic team plans to buck the trend and instead start offering even more of these courses in the future. When Central Catholic polled students and parents, they felt that Central Catholic’s dual-credit courses were higher quality and more rigorous than other options, and they also liked that they could stay on campus to take the courses with little or no additional cost. After considerable research and planning, Central Catholic is introducing its “KNIGHT 3 + 1”. The 3 + 1 program allows students to complete a full year of college courses before he or she graduates from Central Catholic. This program is an early investment in our Vision 2030 strategic plan and will require continued investment in teachers through salary incentives and continuing education subsidies. We also look forward to renovating our library and several other spaces to better accommodate these types of courses.
This academic year (2018-2019), Central Catholic is offering the following dual-credit and AP courses:
- ACP Chemistry – dual credit through IU
- ACP Spanish – dual credit through IU (Check out our ACP Spanish students from last year talk about what they learned in the class!)
- ACP S121 (Speech) – dual credit through IU
- Dual Credit English
- Dual Credit Government
- Dual Credit Economics
- Dual Credit Psychology
- Dual Credit Sociology
- Dual Credit US History
- AP Calculus
- AP Biology
- AP English Lit/Composition
- AP Studio Art
For additional information regarding ACP, dual credit, and AP courses, please see your assigned counselor in the CC Student Service Department.
Knight 360 is offered by the CC Student Services Department for all students in grades 7 through 12 and is a result of our continued efforts to expand and improve student services at Central Catholic. Knight 360 allows students to begin the college and career planning process beginning in 7th grade. The program is designed to go beyond traditional guidance services by taking students through a formation process that helps them discover their gifts and God’s plan for them. Knight 360 uses a combination of sophisticated online tools, strength discovery exercises, career interest inventories, and one-on-one academic advising to help develop a college and career plan for each student. The department uses a team approach to support each student’s academic, social, emotional, and spiritual needs. Knight 360 services include:
- Career interest inventories
- Goal setting
- Resume development
- Personality assessments
- Strength discovery tools
- Organized college visits
- College “fit” support
- SAT Prep
- College application and essay workshops
- Study tables and progress monitoring
- Social and emotional support
- Academic advising
- Study habit workshops/coursework
- Summer study and enrichment experiences
Central Catholic Campus Update
With the enrollment increases at Central Catholic, there is an ongoing need to add and improve classroom space. To make some additional room, 7 members of the business office have temporarily relocated their offices, and that office space was converted back to a functional classroom. Mr. Matthew Newkirk, History and Business teacher, wrote a grant proposal for his classroom. His proposal provides for a classroom that accommodates a flexible learning environment that promotes six C’s that are hallmarks of a 21st Century Catholic education: Character and faith, Critical thinking and problem solving, Collaboration, Creativity and Innovation, Communication, and Cultural Competency. This classroom will be able to be reconfigured to support the many different teaching styles that promote these skills, including lecture, small group collaboration, Socratic discussion, projects, and assessment. To fund this project LCSS has partnered with Steelcase, a company that features innovative office and classroom furniture, for a 75% discount to build out a model classroom that will help be a pilot for our Vision 2030 classroom updates.
Tennis Courts at Central Catholic
The Central Catholic tennis courts are near completion. We will soon have 8 new courts at the Rohrman Tennis Facility thanks to the generosity of Mr. Bob Rohrman and his family and a number of our generous alumni and their families. The addition of these courts makes the Central Catholic Defouw Sports Complex one of the state’s best high school facilities and one that brings together and supports our entire community.