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April 23, 1993     The Message
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April 23, 1993
 

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2 The Message m for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana April 23 Catholic School Catholic elementary and secondary school enrollment -- enrollment reflects 3.0 3.0  positive 5-year trend . , . From the NCEA Catholic leaders also point , to other benchmarks in sup- - " " A "good news' story for port of Catholic education Catholic school enrollment which have contributed to a 2 was announced at the nineti- stabilized enrollment. In eth annual convention of the 1988, the Vatican issued a National Catholic Educa- document in support of tional Association in New Or- Catholic schools. In 1990, the leans. , .... bishops announced a strategy 1" .ccoramg to national to strengthen Catholic educe- statistics, enrollment in- tion and insure that it is creased for the 1992-93 school year. The increase fol- lows a stabilization of enroll- ment in Catholic elementary and secondary schools over the past five years. Current figures show the total Catholic school enroll- ment at approximately 2.6 million students, with an in- crease of 17,000 over the pre- vious school year. Since 1988-89, enrollment has steadied at the 2.6 million level, with modest shifts up and down during that period. Catherine T. McNamee, C.S.J., NCEA president, said the increase can be credited to the marketing efforts un- dertaken by Catholic educa- tors nationwide. "An old proverb says 'begin to weave and God will give the thread," said Sr. McNamee. "Catholic schools have learned the importance of telling the public about their academic excellence and val- ues-added education. The 'tapestry' they've woven in- cludes campaign buttons, billboards, and P.R. There's a little Madison Avenue there -- tempered by the thread of the Lord." Ten years ago Catholic school enrollment was 3 mil- lion. It shifted downward to 2.9, 2.8 and 2.7 before level- ing off to 2.6 million in 1988. About that time NCEA launched National Apprecia- tion Day For Catholic Schools, an outreach activity geared to community and po- litical leaders. In 1990, the as- sociation, along with the United States Catholic Con- ference, began the National Marketing Campaign For Catholic Schools, with the slogan "Discover Catholic Schools." A subsequent campaign urged the public to "Choose Catholic Schools -- the Good News in Education" and for 1993-94 the message is "Sup- port Catholic Schools: Your Choice for Education." "Almost 90 per cent of our 8500 Catholic elementary and secondary schools have par- ticipated in this marketing ef- fort," said Dr. Robert Kealey, executive director, NCEA Ele- mentary Schools Department. "There's clearly a shared vi- sion and momentum here." Michael Guerra, executive director, NCEA Secondary Schools Department, said that the emphasis on educational choice throughout the cam- paign has united Catholic school leaders under a banner of justice. "Catholic educators strongly believe in the right of parents to choose schools --public, private or parochial for their children. This is a recurring message in all mar- keting materials." available to all Catholic chil- dren. "Another significant part of this road map to enrollment success was NCEA's National Congress on Catholic Schools for the Twenty-first Century," said Frank Savage, executive director of the Chief Admin- istrators' Department. "That convocation brought together 250 key people including bishops and other church leaders, corporate, commu- nity, political and educa- tional leaders to chart a course for Catholic schools in the year 2000 and beyond." In fact, diverse, top-level leadership is yet one more key to the "good news" en- rollment story, according to Regina Haney, O.S.F., execu- tive director of the National Association of Catholic Boards of Education. "Lay leadership for Catholic schools has risen dramati- cally in the past decade," said Sr. Haney. "Every large dio- cese has school development campaigns driven by dy- namic corporate leaders. More and more schools are benefiting from business part- nerships. Big Business knows Catholic schools are a unique American resource," she added. "For nearly 200 years. Catholic schools have quietly served the educational inter- ests of this country," said Archbishop Thomas C. Kelly, O.P., Archbishop of Louisville and chairman of the NCEA Board of Directors. "God willing, there will be vi- brant Catholic schools here 200 years from now- with good stewardship and with help from our friends in the public and private sectors." The announcement was made at the ninetieth annual NCEA Convention, Exposi- tion and Religious Education Congress which has attracted over 12,000 delegates to this city for 400 workshops and seminars. The theme of the meeting is "Catholic Educa- tors: Telling the Good News Story." NCEA is the largest private, professional education asso- ciation in the world. 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