Launch The Catholic School Consortium – A Sustainable Model For Catholic Schools
By consolidating eight former parish schools into a new system of five schools, the Catholic School Consortium is offering a new model of Catholic education that will create efficiencies and yield cost savings that will allow the schools to not just remain open, but to reinvest in their teachers, curriculum and facilities. The schools in the Catholic School Consortium are Holy Cross, Our Lady of Lourdes, St. Bernadette, St. Thomas More and Saints Peter and Paul.
$1,500,000 Distributed to Date
A portion of the funds have been used to update facilities. All five schools now have air conditioning providing a more comfortable learning environment for students. In 2014 Ignite the Faith funds provided for building updates and improvements at Saints Peter and Paul School. Additional improvements are scheduled in 2015.
Provide Needs-Based Grants For
Our Catholic Schools
The Archdiocese of Omaha recently developed a comprehensive vision for all Catholic schools. School board members, parents, lay leaders, parishioners, priests, teachers and administrators identified areas where new investment is needed to strengthen our Catholic schools. All schools can apply for these funds to use for strategic initiatives that will improve and sustain them for the future.
To date, more than $1,500,000 has been awarded to 16 Catholic schools throughout the archdiocese – five in the metro area and 11 in rural communities. These dollars are being used to fund or partially fund important efforts such as:
Improve Facilities at CUES Schools
Since 1975, the Christian Urban Education Service (CUES) has provided operational guidance and financial support to Sacred Heart Catholic School in north Omaha. CUES expanded its mission in 2012 to offer annual support to Holy Name Catholic School and All Saints Catholic School, where changing demographics have left parishes unable to support their schools without significant outside assistance. Campaign funds will be used for capital improvements to the three schools.
$3,000,000 Distributed to Date
CUES Executive Director Mike Findley said Ignite the Faith funds are already being used to repair and improve the aging facilities at the three schools. A Building and Grounds Committee has been working to evaluate and prioritize facility needs. One major upgrade is to the boiler systems. CUES engaged Alvine Engineering to evaluate and recommend upgrades or replacement of aging and inefficient boiler systems at Holy Name, Sacred Heart and All Saints.
Other projects include:
Support Catholic Education In Rural Communities
Parishes in rural Nebraska face a unique set of challenges in keeping their Catholic schools affordable and academically excellent and their facilities up to date. Rural parishes are allocating 40 percent of the funds they receive to directly support Catholic education in their local communities.
$2,392,003 Distributed to Date
These dollars will support a variety of projects that were identified before the campaign was launched, including tuition assistance, facility and technology upgrades and program expansion.
Market Our Catholic Schools
Our Catholic schools have an amazing story to tell. Ignite the Faith funds will be used to more effectively promote and market our schools with the goal of achieving maximum enrollment at every school. Campaign funds have allowed this effort to commence. The Awaken Greatness campaign was launched in December 2014 after extensive research conducted by the advertising agency
$894,871 Distributed to Date
The first phase of the campaign utilized a mass media approach including TV, online, radio, outdoor and print advertising. It introduced audiences to Catholic schools in an effort to build awareness, dispel misconceptions and encourage families to learn more about Catholic schools. The second phase of the campaign focuses on deepening engagement with potential families by initiating one-on-one discussions and through social media channels. The campaign will tap into the energy and stewardship of individuals who are passionate about Catholic school and already promote it in their daily lives. These Awaken Greatness "ambassadors" will serve as a front line force for our schools. Finally, the campaign will create brand messages and marketing tools that schools can use as part of their recruitment efforts.
Start A Teacher Scholarship Fund
Our Catholic school teachers sacrifice much to educate and form our young students. We owe them a debt of gratitude for their commitment and their service. While the campaign doesn't have the ability to permanently raise salaries across the board for all of our teachers at all of our schools, campaign funds will be used to award scholarships for our teachers to pursue advanced degrees. Scholarships will be awarded based on the recommendations of Catholic school administrators and could focus on those subject areas where teachers are most needed in our schools. Teachers will be asked to commit to teaching at a Catholic school in our archdiocese for at least two years following completion of their advanced training or degree.
Steve Schumacher, a physical education teacher at St. Wenceslaus School since 2005, is pursuing a master's in Educational Leadership at Creighton University. His long-term goal is to become a principal at an archdiocesan school. He said his short-term plan is to make it through the challenging program while balancing a full-time teaching position and raising a family. Steve said the tuition grant from the Ignite the Faith funds "nudged" him to pursue his master's. "I felt like when this opportunity came up it was telling me, 'this is your calling,'" he said. Steve and his wife, Emily, have two young children, so the grant was critical in his decision to start the program. "Having it paid for was a relief and allows me to focus on the educational aspect instead of worrying about student loans. It's a gift that I'm very grateful for."