Monroe County Catholic School Board
Rochester, New York
This 16-member regional board of limited jurisdiction (policy-making) has been in existence 12 years. It governs a school system of 24 Catholic schools in the county grades PK–8. Its top five characteristics are:
- Effective strategic planning process that has included board members and staff from the diocesan Office of Catholic Schools.
- A tracking process was developed that monitors progress monthly.
- Strong committee structure.
- Selection and orientation of new board members.
- Outreach to assist the advisory committees of the local schools, particularly in development and marketing.
During the past year the board:
- Instituted a new tuition plan to help make a Catholic school education possible for all families, to address loss of enrollment in city and lower-income suburban schools. Tuition was raised significantly, but financial aid was tripled. Seven of the schools were merged into three. Yet the county schools lost fewer students than the year before.
- Engaged in extensive revision of the 5-year strategic plan. The monthly monitoring of results by each committee, reexamining the planning strategies and tactics midway through the process, and reporting to constituencies through the local school advisory committees.
- Implemented a 6% salary increase for teachers and principals for the past five years, which has resulted in a very low turnover of teachers.
- Found numerous ways of developing communication links between the board and the local school advisory committees, by engaging in mutual projects in some cases, by assisting local leadership, and by securing feedback from the local level to assist the board’s effectiveness.
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