FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ROCKVILLE CENTRE, N.Y. – September 26, 2011 – The Diocese of Rockville Centre released a Strategic Plan on Thursday, September 22, 2011 outlining the goals and actions necessary to provide a future for Catholic elementary schools on Long Island that is fiscally secure, academically excellent, and fully engaged in promoting Catholic faith and values. The strategic plan can be accessed by visiting the diocesan website, www.drvc.org. A special dedicated landing site was created containing the strategic plan, an executive summary, frequently asked questions and a feedback page.
“This Strategic Plan will help us to identify and take advantage of the many opportunities that lie ahead in order to provide Catholic education that is academically excellent and spiritually engaging as well as affordable and accessible,” said the Most Reverend William Murphy, bishop, Roman Catholic Diocese of Rockville Centre.
“This is a plan for the future to allow us to continue to offer a high-quality Catholic education to our elementary school children,” said Sister Joanne Callahan, O.S.U., superintendent of schools, Diocese of Rockville Centre.
This plan is the result of a more than one year of dedicated effort by a special Bishop’s Advisory Committee on Catholic Education, which was formed to work with the Diocesan Education Department to develop and implement a vision for supporting the long-term sustainability, growth, and excellence of Catholic elementary schools on Long Island. The committee, which includes representatives of groups from throughout the Diocese, examined the challenges and opportunities facing elementary schools in the Diocese, created benchmark goals that are measurable and attainable and provided strategies to achieve success.
“I am most grateful for the work of all involved in our schools, the members of the Education Department and the many individuals from the Elementary Education Commission and the Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation who have given so generously of their time and talent. I also acknowledge and express my deep gratitude for all of those stakeholders in our Catholic school communities who have given their time and their wisdom in the many focus groups and planning sessions held throughout the Diocese during the development period of this plan,” said Bishop Murphy.
The challenges to Catholic elementary education in the Diocese include demographic changes in Nassau and Suffolk counties that have contributed to enrollment declines not only in Catholic schools but also in public, independent and religious schools as well. In addition, rising operating costs have strained the budgets of parishes and the Diocese at the same time as the economic downturn has strained the budgets of families. “We’re responding to some of the same challenges public schools are responding to in terms of demographic change on Long Island,” said Steven Cheeseman, associate superintendent of schools, Diocese of Rockville Centre.
To respond to these and other challenges, each elementary school in the Diocese must be able to provide an excellent – and sustainable – Catholic education program. To achieve this goal, the implementation of this plan may require some school reorganizations, mergers, or closings. At this time, no such decisions have been made.
“This diocese is committed to extending the historic legacy of academic excellence and commitment to the faith that families have come to expect from our elementary schools,” said Sister Joanne.
“As we move forward, it is essential that all of us who are interested in preserving and enhancing our schools-the religious and laity, principals and teachers, parents and students – work together toward our long-term goal of sustaining and enhancing quality Catholic elementary schools on Long Island,” said Sister Joanne.
About The Diocese of Rockville Centre
The Diocese of Rockville Centre (www.drvc.org) was formed in 1957 and covers 1,198 square miles in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The diocese serves approximately 1,737,498 baptized Catholics (total population in both counties is approximately 3.4 million). There are 134 parishes (1 campus parish) in 115 towns. In 2010, 16,318 baptisms, 16,296 confirmations, 17,123 First Holy Communions and 4,773 marriages took place in the diocese. There are 19,261 students in Catholic elementary schools; 12,595 students in Catholic high schools and 3,500 in higher institutions. There are 55 Catholic elementary schools (51 parish or regional and 4 private), 10 high schools (3 diocesan, 2 parish and 5 private) and one Catholic college in the diocese. Catholic Health Services of Long Island consists of six hospitals, three nursing homes, a community-based home for those with special needs and a hospice. In 2010, Catholic Charities assisted more than 53,500 individuals who are poor, vulnerable and disadvantaged on Long Island. (09/11).
CONTACT: Sean P. Dolan
Director of Communications
(p) 516-678-5800, ext. 625