The Albany diocesan Catholic Schools Office has released the following announcement:

Too often, strategic plans are developed with good intentions but end up sitting on a shelf without implementing the visions and priorities established in those plans. Moving beyond the planning stage involves taking concrete steps — informed by history, present conditions and future goals — to move programs and institutions forward.

The Diocesan School Board and the Catholic Schools Office are working to ensure that the strategic plan published earlier this year — known as “Answering the Call: Imagine. Evangelize. Transform.” — leads to such informed actions. (The plan is available on the diocesan school website, www.higherpoweredlearning.org, under the “Resources” tab.)

Working closely with the principals from the four diocesan high schools, the Catholic School Office has engaged the Capital Area School Development Association (CASDA) to review all aspects of the four schools — from academic programs and extracurricular activities, to current and projected enrollments, to facilities, partnerships and financial resources — guided by the strategic priorities outlined in “Answering the Call.”

CASDA, the region’s pre-eminent educational consulting organization, will prepare a report on the schools’ strengths, weaknesses and trends that will provide valuable data for imagining the future of Catholic high school education across the Diocese in the years to come.

The CASDA study is part of a process begun in the spring of 2016, when Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger asked the Diocesan School Board to develop a strategic planning process. As the “Answering the Call” document notes, strategic planning involves “a thoughtful and detailed evaluation of the current status of schools, previous planning initiatives, ongoing improvement plans and acknowledgment of the contemporary challenges our schools face.”

CASDA’s team will reach out to school administrators, board members, faculty, students and family members at each high school, and will conduct site visits to develop a comprehensive overview of the schools, and report on its findings next summer.

“We look forward to working with CASDA on this important task,” said Giovanni Virgiglio, superintendent of schools. “Their independent assessment and efforts will be invaluable to both the high schools and the Diocese as we formulate a future vision for Catholic high school education in the Capital Region – a future driven by an evaluation of the current reality and mindful of our historic traditions.”

Very Rev. Robert Longobucco, vicar for Catholic faith formation and education, said the importance of a well-grounded and realistic plan based on objective data is paramount to successful strategic planning.

“We want to think dynamically about the future of our Catholic schools, and imagine the heights to which students can soar when we provide them with the opportunity and support that is inherent in Catholic education,” he said. “I am excited for the future, and I am heartened every day by the examples I see of the Holy Spirit moving in our schools.”