Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Surveying the market

June 27th, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

DOR’s Catholic schools are going to try to drum up some new business over the summer.

A letter from the Superintendent …

June 17, 2010

Dear Parents/Guardians:

As another school year comes to a close, I want to offer my sincere thanks for your continued support of Catholic Schools. I know you make many sacrifices so that your children can benefit from this lifelong gift of a Catholic education. Please know that we work constantly to ensure that our educational programs are worthy of that sacrifice and commitment.

As part of that effort, we are planning to conduct marketing research this summer that will help us clearly identify areas in which we can better serve you and the children you entrust to us and how we might attract more families to our schools. To accomplish this, we are engaging the Center for Governmental Research of Rochester to conduct scientific surveys and collect comments and data. CGR will be conducting mail and phone surveys and providing feedback to us we hope will serve in the important cause of preserving and growing our schools. I thank you in advance for your cooperation and timely return of the survey materials if you are contacted as part of the research.

I wish you all the best and the most splendid of summers. May it be a safe and happy one for your and your family! See you in September!

God love you,

Anne Wilkens Leach
Superintendent of Catholic Schools

Over the last 15 or so years DOR has had just about the worst track record among all dioceses of its size in terms of the number of schools closed and the number of Catholic students lost.

Many families with kids still in this system are victims of the 2008 round of school closings and are not at all shy in saying they are just hoping to get their kids through their current schools before the axe falls again.  Other families who escaped that trauma still got to see just how much DOR really values parents and other stake holders in its schools: It considers them far too unimportant to be allowed any input into anything major like school closing decisions.

Given this history and the feelings and attitudes among families with children currently in the system, it is difficult to see how any marketing research can lead to an influx of a significant number of new families into our schools.

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13 Responses to “Surveying the market”

  1. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    Why bother with the DOR schools when you can take your kids to Archangel School? Archangel offers a great education (from Kindergarten through 12th grade) at an affordable rate. Bishop Clark does NOT have the authority to close down this school. DOR schools can do all the surveys they want. People have no trust in the system. There’s always worry about whether their school’s going to survive or not.

  2. avatar Monk says:

    It is really quite simple. Be Catholic! Teach the Catholic faith. Be true to your mission. The DoR Catholic schools can’t compete materially with the government schools. It they are not truly Catholic, then they risk their true differentiation from them. They need to be more that just private schools that teach “be nice to your neighbor.” Otherwise, parents don’t see the value of spending their dollars on these schools that don’t really stand for anything in particular, have no mission, and really don’t have much to offer for the cost involved.
    I recently attended a friend’s daughter’s graduation ceremony from Siena Catholic Academy. Siena is the only remaining DoR junior high school. There were hundreds of young teenage children graduating that night. There was not one priest or diocesan school official in attendance. Is there really a commitment to these schools and children?

  3. avatar Anonymous says:

    At St. Joseph’s School, we had two priests and one nun at graduation. At our former school, the current pastor never showed up at school events.

  4. avatar Monk says:

    As the DoR has moved away from parish-based elementary schools, the few remaining schools have essentially become “orphans” as far as any support from parish priests or religious. Priests are rarely seen in the schools anymore. They don’t seem to see them as their responsibility. This is one of the many disastrous consequences of decoupling the schools from the parishes. How can we hope to have more religious vocations when the children don’t see priests and religious as part of their daily lives? The DoR’s disastrous school strategy has done more than destroy our Catholic schools. It has weakened our parishes and Catholic life. Our children are robbed of the Catholic faith and life that previous generations of Catholics benefited from.

  5. avatar Maureen says:

    Hire Catholic teachers who know and practice their faith. Support the schools with a larger percentage of CMA funds so tuition can be reasonable. Give back the control of the schools to the parishes who will have a greater stake in their vitality because it also ensures the vitality of the parishes.

  6. avatar jetscubs86 says:

    Our bishop is a control freak. He will never relinquish control of the schools to the parish. Holy Cross proved that they can support their school WITHOUT help from the diocese, but Bishop Clark told them no. His goal in the next 740 days is to have all the schools closed and to have only “progressive” churches operating in this diocese. That’s not what he said, but it seems as if that’s the direction the DOR is headed. The shepherd leads his flock to slaughter. He wasn’t much of a staunch pro-life bishop anyway.

  7. avatar sunny0009 says:

    This is such a sham. I can remember doing at least one of these in the past, as well as sending letters to the super et al…to no avail. They never even respond. As to previous responders regarding lack of interest by some parish priests, that is one of the problems in this diocese – the schools are seen as a burden rather than a blessing. That was a very difficult part of our transition from Holy Cross when it closed. We came from a school where the priests were happy to celebrate Masses, attend functions, etc – to one where that was not the case. However, in their defense I might say that Buffalo Rd. has caused this with the restrictions on priests (retirement age, 3 masses on weekends) as well as the financial obligations. I think it was all much simpler when each parish ran it’s own school…….

  8. avatar Nerina says:

    “There was not one priest or diocesan school official in attendance.”

    That is inexcusable. It’s hard to get priests to make an appearance at VBS or CCD now that I think about it. I know everyone wants to celebrate the greatness of the laity, but it would be nice to have our spiritual fathers present once in a while.

    I think Monk has it right. When Catholic schools decide to become Catholic schools, then people will attend. None of my kids go to diocesan Catholic school and from what my friends with kids in Catholic schools say, I’m not missing too much (Archangel and SJB are noted to be different). And I am tempted to side with jetscubs’ cynical view given what has transpired during Bishop Clark’s reign. It does seem like he has a death wish for Catholic identity.

  9. avatar BT says:

    It amazes me that the DOR closed many of the preschools this past year which had been the feeder for the kindergarten classes. Is it any wonder that people are questioning the commitment of the diocese? The parents at Mother of Sorrows were not given much notice before it was announced that the 7th and 8th grades were being eliminated and now DeSales in Geneva needs several thousand in order to open in September. No doubt Buffalo Road will express deep regret when this occurs but not offer anything else.

  10. avatar Anonymous says:

    Just noticed Maureens entry above about increasing CMA for Catholic schools. Hmmmm, if I recall correctly, each parish is assessed a very large assessment every year for these schools. Even the rural parishes who have 0 to low numbers of Catholic school students pay dearly into the fund. The diocese should provide the the buildings (they are already there in a lot of cases), hire quality Catholic teachers, add up the projected expenses and divide by the number of school desks in the room then send the bill to those wishing such an education fot their kids. Use the assessment for disadvantaged families. Solves everything. Remember you get what you pay for following a plan. Just an opinion, always ready to look at a different route on the bus…

  11. avatar billb says:

    Drat, lost my password! The Anonymous says above is
    me Bill B. I don’t like it when you don’t know who it is. Bill B! Not Anonymous…

  12. avatar Dr. K says:

    Bill,

    You can have your password reset.

    Go here: http://cleansingfire.org/wp-login.php?action=lostpassword

    Then enter your e-mail address or user name. A new password should be sent to the e-mail address you supplied when you registered.

  13. avatar Mike says:

    Bill B.,

    The Monroe County Catholic School System tried something like your plan a few years back under the administration of Superintendent Sr. Elizabeth Meegan.

    You can read about it here but, long story short, the MCCS System lost 1/3 of its students in a mere 5 years, primarily because most parents simply could not afford the tuition hike they got hit with because the diocese felt they should be paying more in order to help out disadvantaged families.

    At some schools like Holy Cross, where there were quite a few families with 3 or more kids in the school before Sr. Meegan’s plan went into effect, up to 50% of the students were driven out of the system due to the jump in family tuition costs.


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