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Strategic Plan Update from the RCS Trustees

 


Hello RCS Families,

We hope you all have been finding time to relax and enjoy these Minnesota summer days. There is a great deal of activity and excitement happening within Rochester Catholic Schools (RCS) and anticipation for the 2020-2021 school year.

As trustees, we too are excited about the future of RCS and are looking forward to bringing a number of initiatives to fruition. Work on the strategic plan continues in earnest within each of the four strategic pillars: Catholic Identity, Academic Excellence, Active Stakeholder Engagement, and Mission Achieving Financial Performance.

Catholic Identity
RCS continues to foster a Christ-centered community in which all members are known, loved, and served. We have set targets for student service and faith-based activities at every grade level. We will catalogue and track counseling activities, bullying prevention programs, and wellness activities to monitor the spiritual and social growth of our students. We will develop a semi-annual student survey to ensure an environment where all students feel safe and included.

Academic Excellence
We are extremely excited to welcome Amy Heimer, the former St. Pius X School assistant principal, as the new principal of Holy Spirit Catholic School. Amy has spent over 25 years in our system and is returning to Holy Spirit where she previously taught. Amy brings a wealth of experience into this position and a positive energy that will inspire teachers and students. Please join us in welcoming Amy to this role.

As we strive toward academic excellence at all grade levels, we are setting targets for ACT scores at the high school level and establishing standards for NWEA test scores at the elementary and middle school levels. In addition, we hope to implement a standard faculty assessment tool during this school year.

Our teachers and administrative leaders are working closely with the Diocese of Winona-Rochester and the state to determine how we safely and effectively bring our students back to the classroom this fall. Our face-to-face instruction will look different this fall, but we remain committed to bringing our students back for in-person learning. We are continuing to work through numerous logistical challenges and state mandates. We will keep you informed as the re-opening plan continues to solidify.

Active Stakeholder Engagement
We are moving forward with a marketing plan to drive student enrollment. In June, the Hunt Adkins marketing firm met with a group comprised of RCS leaders, staff, and volunteers to begin to build the creative concepts we will use to spread the good news of RCS. This was a four hour creative session, and we can't thank Hunt Adkins enough for providing this service. We are also extremely appreciative of the volunteers who participated in this session and who will continue to help us advance this key initiative. We are all part of a truly amazing community. Our hope is to begin a new marketing campaign to drive enrollment for RCS this fall.

Mission Achieving Financial Performance
Our advancement goals are lofty. In addition to our annual fund, we have a $1 million philanthropy target this year and a goal to raise $10 million in the next five years. These funds will be primarily used to develop competitive benefit packages to retain and recruit the best and brightest faculty and staff to RCS.  It will take a coordinated effort across the system, led by our Advancement Office, but together we can achieve these goals. Our current enrollment numbers alone cannot financially support the system. We must continue to focus on increasing enrollment, but giving by generous benefactors will always play a key role in supporting this amazing educational system. If you would like to discuss a gift to Rochester Catholic Schools, please contact the Advancement Office: snielson@rcsmn.org or 507-424-1817. You may also support RCS at rcsmn.org/makeagift.

A subcommittee of the RCS Trustees is in the process of reviewing the administrative and business structure of the system. They are benchmarking with other Catholic schools in the Midwest to determine the optimum organizational structure to support growth of our system. Inherent in this analysis will be a recommendation on the Director of School position. In addition, we will have a change in the financial operations as Mrs. June Barnick will be leaving her role after supporting RCS for the last 33 years. June wore many hats within the Business Office during her tenure. A review of her role will be incorporated into the overall analysis of the Business Office. Recommendations of the committee will be presented to the Trustees this fall.

The Board of Trustees would like to say thank you to Marcia Vettel, Dave Pederson, and Sue Palen, and their families. Marcia and Dave are stepping down from their roles as RCS Trustees and Sue is stepping down from her role as the chair of the RCS Finance Committee. We are truly indebted to these individuals and their families for sharing their time and talent with the entire RCS system.

We hope everyone feels the same energy and anticipation we do as we move to the 2020-2021 school year. This is OUR educational system. There are certainly pressures and challenges that need to be addressed, but overall, we are well positioned to be the premier educational system in southeast Minnesota. We will get there together, as a family.

As we move RCS forward through this unprecedented time, a prayer from St. John XXIII reminds us of our opportunity:

"Consult not your fears, but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you have tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do."

Thanks for all you do for our students and our staff.

Father Tom Loomis and John T. Wald, MD
Co-Chairs, Rochester Catholic Schools Board of Trustees