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FAQ's - Erie Catholic School System

Posted Feb. 15, 2017

FAQ's - Erie Catholic School System

Where can I get information about the new Erie Catholic School System?
Our website address is www.ErieCatholicSchools.com. Our new website is under construction, so until it is up and running, it will redirect you to www.ChooseCatholicSchools.com. On this site, you can access information about each school through the landing page for all the Catholic schools in the Diocese.
You can call the Erie Catholic School System Office at 814-824-1268.
You can find the entire plan for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Erie, Building in Truth and Love (BTL), using the following link: www.ErieRCD.org/pdf/building.pdf. We encourage you to refer to this plan and it will be referenced, with page numbers, throughout our FAQs.

Which schools will be included in the new system and will they be renamed?
The six school sites will be Blessed Sacrament, St. George, Our Lady of Peace, St. James, St. Jude and St. Luke. The schools will all be named after the parish on whose campus they are located. The only school name that will change is Our Lady’s Christian School. It will become St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Elementary School.
All school mascots and team names will remain the same.

Why do the teachers and principals have to re-apply for their jobs?
The Erie Catholic School System, Inc, is a separately incorporated non-profit entity. Administration, faculty and staff who will be working our six campus schools for Erie Catholic will be working for a new employer, even if they are staying in their current buildings. They will no longer be working for a single school, but for a school system.

When will principals be hired?
We have begun the interview process and plan to announce principals in early 2017. Once our building-level educational leaders are in place, we will be working closely with them to get ready to launch the new system for the 2017-2018 school year.

How will we register our students in this new system?
Currently enrolled families will be able to re-enroll throughout January. After Catholic Schools Week, we will open up registration to families from Catholic Schools that are closing – Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, St. Boniface and Villa Maria Elementary. After that, we will open registration to the general public. Building principals and their staff will work closely with the central office to ensure consistency in the registration process throughout the system. Student records will be maintained at the building level. Parents will be able to pick up registration paperwork at the schools or at Erie Catholic’s central offices.Students will not be assigned to schools. Parents and guardians will still have the same freedom they have always had to choose the campus school they prefer.

What about the teachers?
Catholic school teachers in the Diocese of Erie sign a new contract at the beginning of each school year. As we move into the new school year, teachers will be working for a new employer — the Erie Catholic School System. We are asking all teachers to apply for their positions in this new system. A number of criteria will be used as part of this hiring process, including certification level and years of experience in the diocese. We expect that many of our teachers will remain in their current schools. This process will allow us to ensure that your children are getting the best teachers possible in their classrooms and that all our teachers are properly certified. The teacher rehiring process will begin in Spring of 2017.

Will all schools be on the same calendar?
Yes. The schools will share a common school year calendar.

Will our uniforms change?
No. Each school will maintain their plaid, but we will also allow students to wear either blue or khaki skorts/skirts/trousers.

What will happen to events that a particular school recognizes, such as weekly mass, advent projects, homeroom parties, pet blessing, or grandparent day, for example?
We encourage our campus schools to maintain their traditions and special events.

We really love the before- and after-school care and summer camp programs. Will the new system offer these student services?
Yes. All our schools offer before and after school care programs. Four of our six schools currently offer summer camp (St. Luke, Blessed Sacrament, St. George, and OLP), and we hope to add a new summer camp program to the St. Jude campus, beginning this summer.

There was a lot of talk about embedded middle schools. What’s happening there?
We are working with an architectural firm now to start the process of ensuring that each system school offers students a high-quality science lab and media center. Our embedded middle schools will comprise grades 6-8. We have created a middle school philosophy and are investigating the best way to put into place the opportunities listed in BTL on p. 15.

What about other extra-curricular (non-athletic) programs?
We plan on keeping our excellent extra-curricular programs in place at their existing schools and to improve our offerings across the system.

What about athletics?
Athletics will continue at each of the campus schools in a manner similar to what currently exists. For example, the schools will keep their team names and mascots, and will continue to play against each other in competition. A task force has been established to create a centralized athletic policy which will ensure consistency throughout all six campus schools.

Will advancement be centralized, or will schools still have separate advancement offices?
An Advancement director will be part of the Erie Catholic central administration team. We envision advancement teams at each of our schools, but are still developing the model for that.

When is the official launch date for the new system?
The Erie Catholic School System will go into effect on July 1, 2017, we will be phasing in the concepts outlined in Building in Truth and Love in close collaboration with the Catholic Schools Office.

How are you going to organize all of this?

We have been investigating different school system management software companies that will facilitate information across our system. We will be using a software platform with portals for students, parents, faculty and administrators across all of our campus schools. It will also provide us with web hosting for our new website that will allow these different stakeholder groups with access to the information they need!