Operational Vitality

Catholic schools are temporal organizations committed to the Church and the mission of Catholic education including a commitment to a culture of excellence and rigor. These schools face constant socioeconomic challenges, prompting the need for sustainable financial planning, human resource/personnel management, professional formation, facilities maintenance and enhancement, institutional advancement, and contemporary communication. Catholic schools must adopt and maintain standards for operational vitality in these areas and define the norms and expectations for fundamental procedures to support and ensure viability and sustainability. When a school does not maintain standards for operational vitality, the continuation of academic excellence is in grave jeopardy. Over time, even an academically rigorous school with strong Catholic identity will not survive without operational vitality.

Standards for operational vitality focus on the “operation” of the school - how it works and how it is supported - in four key areas: finances, human resources/personnel, facilities, and institutional advancement. The leader/leadership team must manage each area and be subject to the direct oversight of the governing body in these matters.

Standard 10

An excellent Catholic school develops, carries forward, and monitors a feasible three- to five-year plan, including both current and projected budgets that are the result of a collaborative process, emphasizing faithful stewardship and sustainability.


10.1 The governing body and leader/leadership team conduct a financial planning process and consult with available experts in nonprofit management and funding.

10.2 Financial plans include agreed-upon levels of financial investment determined by the partners involved including parishes, dioceses, religious sponsor, educational foundations, the larger Catholic community, and responsible board.

10.3 Financial plans clearly define all revenue sources including tuition, subsidies, fundraising, and other identified categories.

10.4 Financial plans delineate all costs for key target areas including salaries, instructional programs, equipment and facilities, capital projects, and other identified categories.

10.5 Current and projected budgets include a statement of all actual and projected revenue, by source, and a statement of all projected expenditures, by category, identifying the cost per child while showing appropriate balance.

10.6 The governing body and leader/leadership team annually communicate an explanation to stakeholders of the total cost per child and how that cost is met by identifying the percentage of cost that is paid for by tuition and the remaining amount of cost that is supported by other sources of revenue.

10.7 The governing body and leader/leadership team provide families equitable access to information about tuition assistance and long-term planning for tuition and Catholic school expenses.

10.8 The governing body and leader/leadership team ensure that appropriately developed financial plans and budgets are implemented using current and effective business practices.

Standard 11

An excellent Catholic school operates in accord with the school’s published human resource/personnel policies, developed in compliance with the policies of the (arch)diocese and/or religious congregations, and/or other sponsorship groups, and Catholic social teaching regarding the dignity of work, with an understanding of how federal/state policy impacts school policies, which affect all staff (clergy, religious women and men, laity, and volunteers) and that provide clarity for responsibilities and accountability.


11.1 Human resource programs are professionally staffed at the appropriate level (i.e., central office, school office) and ensure full compliance with human resource policies.

11.2 Human resource policies delineate standards for position descriptions including staff responsibilities and qualifications, hiring, compensation, and benefits, as well as standards for professional development, accountability, succession planning, and retirement.

11.3 Human resource policies ensure that benchmarked compensation is applied fairly and equitably to salaries and benefits for all staff.

11.4 Human resource policies ensure that institutional planning includes benefits such as investment in professional growth opportunities, health care, and retirement.

Standard 12

An excellent Catholic school develops, implements, and monitors a facilities, equipment, and technology management plan, which is consistent with Catholic social teaching regarding the environment, and that continuously supports the implementation and sustainability of the educational mission of the school.


12.1 The school’s facilities, equipment, and technology management plan includes measurable objectives to support the school’s mission, the delivery of the educational program of the school, and accessibility for all students.

12.2 The school’s budget supports facilities, equipment, and technology management with specific funds for maintenance, capital improvements, depreciation, and replacement.

12.3 The school’s purchasing, physical, and technological improvements are, by design, done in alignment with the mission, with budget funds and appropriate external revenue sources.

Standard 13

An excellent Catholic school develops and implements a comprehensive strategy for institutional advancement based on a compelling mission through communications, marketing, enrollment management, and development.


13.1 The communications/marketing plan requires the school leader/leadership team and staff person(s) to ensure the implementation of contemporary strategies to reach targeted audiences, maintain communication outlets, serve all stakeholders, and provide data analysis.

13.2 The enrollment management plan requires the governing body to review and the school leader/leadership team to supervise annual and continuous measurement and analysis of recruitment, enrollment, and retention data for all student groups.

13.3 The development/advancement plan requires the school leader/leadership team, in collaboration with the governing body, to ensure that key strategies and metrics are in place to identify, cultivate, analyze, and maintain significant funding sources.