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May 7, 1993     The Message
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May 7, 1993

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7,1993 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 13 Vincennes study shows strengths, weaknesses On April 28, representa- tives of parish councils, fi- commissions and the . 0ard in Vincennes re- eoved a report on Vincennes 'taolic Schools. , The report was prepared by or, Robert L Boyd, Dr. Robert ' Estabrook and Dr. Gregory i1, Ulna, who met with a 21- aember study committee ap- i P!nted by the Board of Edu- .cation. th TM three investigators and e 21 members of the study !e0nunittee reached consensus the conclusions drawn in study. Consensus, by def- means agreement in opinion" -- not total in all aspects of by all participants. report is a 92-page with six appen- Chapter V of the report of the first four The following de- taken from that sum- : Demographics: 1 Major Conclusions ' The VCS is com rised of :dellts who reside Pn Knox :hasiitY, Indiana. The county p0e3perienced 30 years of PUlation stability, while Clem Behme Real Estate obie Chastain Insurance the school age population has been declining. That decline has accounted for a loss of 620 students or 14.3% of the potential student base in the last 10 years for the county. A continuing loss in school age population is projected by the Indiana State Board of Health for Knox County into the 21st century. Thus, the VCS will have to recruit a larger per- centage of a dwindling stu- dent population just to main- tain current enrollment levels. 2. The VCS lost 77 students (60 secondary and 17 elemen- tary) or 18.5% of its student population in the last 10 years. The year 1983 repre- sents the high point in total enrollment with 415 stu- dents, while 1987 was the low point with 334 students. Thus, the high to low range is 81 students. The current year enrollment of 338 students is within 4 students of the 1987 enrollment. 3. The Kindergarten through grade five enrollment has been relatively stable over the past 10 years ranging from 182 students to 231 stu- dents and averaging 200 stu- dents per year. However the past three years has seen a JLm Halfrich Insurance/Real Estate George Helfnci3 Insurance/Real Estate SINCE 1913 HONEST AND PROFESSIONAL REAL ESTATE AND INSURANCE SERVICES REAL ESTATE AND INSURANCE 464-5991 Call For A Quick Quote/ Homeowners Family Auto Contractors Packages Business Auto General Liability Special Risks Workers Comp. Farm Insurance Bonds Motorcycle Boat Life REAL ESTATE SERVICES MULTI-LIST APPRAISALS LISTINGS SALES FREE MARKET APPRAISALS ill/ decline from 231, the 10 year high, to 186 which is near the 10 year low and represents a loss of 45 students. 4. The population per square mile in Knox county is 77.3 people per square mile, while the population per square mile in Indiana is 154.6. Knox county has the second lowest population density of those Indiana counties that support sec- ondary level Catholic educa- tion programs. Listed below are Indiana counties that sup- port Catholic secondary schools and the population densities of those counties. Count2 Population Density Allen ........................... 457.7 Clark ............................ 234.0 Daviess .......................... 63.9 Grant ........................... 179.1 Jefferson ........................ 82.5 Knox .............................. 77 3 Lake ............................. 956.9 LaPorte ........................ 179.0 Marion ...................... 2,011.0 St. Joseph .................... 540.2 Tippecanoe ................. 261.3 Vanderburgh ............... 703.6 5. The VCS tend to lose stu- dents between kindergarten Dennis FeLdnaus Insurance Jim Niemeier Insurance Phyllis Schnell Insurance;Real Estate N Margaret Hollertch Real Estate Sca Insurarce Diane Emge Real Estate and grade 'one (13.5%), be- tween grades 3 and 4 (12.9%), and between grades 5 and 6 (15.5%). The average five year continuation rate for all grades is 94.6% indicating that for the past five years the schools are losing 5.4% of their population per year. 6. Student enrollment goals, enrollment criteria and processes for marketing the schools to the Catholic com- munity should be better de- fined. Elementary Education Program: Major Conclusions 1. The strengths of the ele- mentary school community are generally recognized by all stakeholders and can be summarized as follows: A. Teachers are highly ded- icated, prepare well for in- struction and provide quality instruction. They participate in many professional devel- opment activities and work well together. B. Parents are interested and involved in the school and are helpful to the deliv- ery of the total educational program. C. Students are cooperative and receptive to the programs offered by the school. They are well behaved, happy, and display a good sense of self. They enjoy their school. D. The general education program is sound in both the breadth and depth of program offerings. It is a viable school and school program which should remain a part of the future of the Vincennes Catholic community. 2. Faculty and administra- tion should work to build a better sense of curriculum. Curriculum guides, scope and sequence, content, and inter- relatedness of learning should be formally developed and articulated. 3. Catholic schools have a special mission and are gen- erally perceived by the public as academically rigorous and behaviorally positive learning environments for children. The feelings expressed for this study reflect the attitude the Flaget Elementary School should be a Catholic" elemen- tary school, not a private school. Program offerings of the elementary school could better reflect this balance in perception through: A. Better development of application and instruction in technology education. B. Emphasis on fine arts program development in the areas of art, vocal music. drama and theater. C. Better representation and communication of the values inherent in Catholic schools by acting out the edu- cational and religious cele- brations in the total commu- nity context. D. Improved field experi- ences and convocations that put the school in contact with the community and support student learning. pvee ta  Schumache Re Estzte What we believe and how we 4. There is a need for the school staff to rethink and better define what is believed about teaching and learning. act on those beliefs should provide a basis for reviewing how to deliver instruction. Areas that need to be studied include: A. Integration of subject matter versus distinct time al- locations for each content area, e.g. spelling, handwrit- ing, reading, writing (whole language). B. Students develop higher level thinking skills and be- come independent learners by making choices (learning centers), working together (cooperative learning), figur- ing things out on their own (math manipulatives). C. Students' individual learning styles require a vari- ety of settings and practices, e.g. tables, projects, soft areas, computers, learning spaces, i Religious Education: Major Conclusions 1. The religious education program has many strengths. Religion is well integrated into the curriculum and the daily life of the students in the VCS. Prayer is a visual and important part of the day. Concepts of morality, family, getting along, loving, caring, helping, good manners, re- spect, and language are all positive and reflective of the presence of The Father, Son, Holy Spirit, and Mother in the school environment. Teachers are dedicated and want to do well in religious instruction. Students are learning and living their reli- gion. 2. Major concerns regarding religious education as ex- pressed in the study include: A. All teachers are not ap- propriately prepared to teach religion, ethics, morality, and church doctrine. The need exists for a Director of Reli- gious Education for Catholic schools to ensure continuity of program, stability, and to provide needed leadership and training for teachers who teach religion classes. B. Too little audio-visual and media materials support for the religious education program is available. C. Too little evidence exists regarding the clergy interact- ing with the schools, stu- dents, and support for the re- ligious education program. 3, Catholic parents are choosing other forms of reli- gious education or no form of religious education for their children. Some of the reasons for this are the cost of Catholic schooling, trans- portation, academic program offering in the Cathohc school, peer friendships, the belief that REP is an appro- priate form of religious edu- cation, and the fact that many parents did not attend Catholic schools themselves. Secondary Educational Program: Major Conclusions 1. The learning environ- ment of the school is clearly one that is both safe and lov- ing Evidence relative to this point is abundant. 2. The faculty exhibits a pronounced level of dedica- tion. sensitivity, and unity. Despite limitedresources, a