Plan receives strong support from Bishop James V. Johnston, parish leadership and more than 300 stakeholders
St. Joseph, Missouri – As Catholic schools prepare to reopen across the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, a new plan to revitalize Catholic education in St. Joseph, Missouri has been officially approved.
Following a 12-month process involving a 50-person steering committee, more than two dozen listening sessions and input from more than 300 stakeholders in the St. Joseph community, St. Joseph Catholic Schools is today officially kicking off its Vitality in Catholic Education plan with the start of the 2020-21 school year.
A team of parish pastors, school principals, and other lay leaders, will continue meeting to discuss the recommendations from the plan with the intent to establish a full roll out in the 2021-2022 school year.
“Our Catholic schools are treasures which offer a unique partnership with our families, helping to raise happy, holy, healthy children that are wise and good and prepared to meet the challenges of life,” said Bishop James V. Johnston, Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph. “Our schools are not only about educating the mind but also the heart, forming the whole person, helping our children to become who God wants them to be, and we do that in a wholesome, religious environment. We are obligated to do all we can to ensure the vitality of Catholic education in our diocese and I’m so proud to see this renewed focus in the St. Joseph area.”
The Vitality in Catholic Education plan emphasizes the development of the whole student in Catholic teachings and values and seeks to stabilize, and eventually increase, enrollment to reach more students across the St. Joseph area.
“I am grateful for the many members of the committee who put a lot of time and effort into forming a workable plan. Collaboration is truly messy work involving a wide variety of people who are passionate about their ideals and hopes, and I am so proud that even with all the challenges and setbacks, they persevered,” said Fr. Christian Malewski, pastor at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in St. Joseph. “I am most passionate about the possibility of forming a unified vision and mission among our Catholic schools. It’s vitally important that we all know what we’re about and what our ultimate goal is – to help form young people to be true disciples of Jesus who will continue to live their faith out in the world and continue to build up the Church as a whole.”
The plan presents six values and operational recommendations for implementation beginning with the 2021-22 school year and into the next several years:
Pat Modlin, implementation director for St. Joseph Catholic Schools Vitality Plan, said, "St. Joseph has had Catholic schools for over 120 years. This plan, endorsed by Bishop Johnston and the Pastors of our schools, is innovative and will transform how Catholic education is delivered, ensuring we'll have Catholic schools here for another 100 years. Having a vibrant and exceptional educational choice available to the St. Joseph community is important for our Catholic families and also non-Catholics who want more options for their children."
Modlin will lead the ongoing work of the Implementation Steering Committee, made up of the Diocesan Schools Office plus the pastors and principals of the Cathedral of St. Joseph, St Francis Xavier Church, and St. James Catholic Church, along with these members of the core team:
Learn more, including how to enroll, at stjosephcatholicschools.com or St. Joseph Catholic Schools on Facebook.
About St. Joseph Catholic Schools
The mission of St. Joseph Catholic Schools is to build and foster a thriving, collaborative & sustainable K-12 Catholic School System in St Joseph, Missouri that educates the whole
person through unique attention to academic and spiritual formation, based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ. St. Joseph Catholic Schools teaches its students the lessons they will need as they strive to share with the world their gifts and talents, so that in all things God may be glorified. stjosephcatholicschools.com
About the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
The Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was established in 1956 when the Dioceses of Kansas City (founded in 1880) and St. Joseph (founded in 1868) were combined. Led by Bishop James V. Johnston, Jr., the Diocese is home to nearly 124,000 Catholics in 88 parishes and 10 missions across 27 counties in northern and western Missouri. Under the guidance of Bishop Johnston, the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph continues its mission to announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to live and serve in charity in northern and western Missouri. kcsjcatholic.org
Vital to the mission of the Catholic Church, the Kansas City-St. Joseph Catholic School System works in partnership with our communities and especially our parents, who are the primary educators of their children, to educate the whole person through unique attention to academic, human and spiritual formation based on Jesus Christ and His Gospel.
The COVID-19 pandemic presents the most serious public health crisis the world has experienced in generations. Looking forward to the 2020-21 school year and beyond, the Kansas City-St. Joseph (KCSJ) Diocesan schools/centers are resolved to do everything we can to reopen our campuses safely with the health and well-being of our entire community in mind.
Kansas City-St. Joseph (KCSJ) Diocesan schools/centers will re-open with in-person instruction in August.
Recommended start date: Week of August 24
The following recommendations are based on the assumption that a vaccine will not be available for 12-18 months, which means each KCSJ Diocesan school/center needs to be able to respond quickly to circumstances in its own school/center community as well as to conditions in surrounding municipalities. Individual schools/centers will follow the direction of the local health department and/or civil authorities. Even as we plan to reopen our campuses in August, we know we may need to close them again with very little advance warning. This means the KCSJ schools/centers will be prepared to toggle between different learning models designed to fit a variety of circumstances and drivers. This plan is based on the following principles:
The principal and pastor of each KCSJ Diocesan school/center will base the selection of a learning model on their assessment of health risk based on local health departments and local civil authorities’ recommendations.
Three Models for Learning
In anticipation of ongoing and changing challenges associated with the coronavirus pandemic, the KCSJ Diocesan school/centers have developed three learning models.
Daily Routine Recommendations
The following routines are based on current CDC recommendations and local pediatricians.
Pediatricians discourage gathering a large number of students in a large room and recommend maintaining cohort groups within schools to minimize exposure to others and limit the spread of COVID-19. Exposure is defined by the Centers for Disease Control as contact that lasts more than 15 minutes with less than 6 feet of distance, whether masked or unmasked.
There is not much evidence that masking alone is effective without physical distancing. It is also important that students and teachers not touch their own faces as this can assist the transmission of the virus. When masks are required, students with special medical, sensory or other conditions are not required to wear masks, but must take extra precautions to prevent transmission of COVID-19 by physical distancing or other means.
Visit our School Locations page for available individual school learning plans.