National standards and benchmarks established for US Catholic schools
Published: March 8, 2012
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A set of national standards and benchmarks for Catholic schools -- defining what makes them unique and providing ways to measure their effectiveness -- was released March 7. The publication: "National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools" is the result of a collaborative effort by the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness at Loyola University Chicago's School of Education, the Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College's Lynch School of Education and the National Catholic Educational Association. "These standards and benchmarks should be looked upon as all-encompassing school effectiveness standards that give a common framework of universal characteristics of Catholic identity and agreed-upon criteria for Catholic school excellence," said Lorraine Ozar, director of the Center for Catholic School Effectiveness and an associate professor at Loyola's School of Education. She said the landmark document was developed and vetted by a national task force of Catholic school educators and supporters through a process that began at a 2009 Catholic educators' conference. At the conference, educators said they were looking for a way to put all of the best ideas of Catholic schools -- based on Vatican statements on Catholic education, remarks by Pope Benedict XVI and statements of U.S. bishops -- into one statement that would "clarify the brand" of Catholic schools and give a framework for schools seeking accreditation or advocating for public policy efforts. The document's introduction says it hopes its description of effective Catholic schools will enable students, parents, families, faculty, staff members and donors to determine how a school measures up to what it should be doing.
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