Catholic Education Initiative

Seeks to expand the understanding, practice, and support for sustainable Catholic schools.


Managing Governance Change in PreK-12 Catholic Schools

April 2020

To support the long-term sustainability of Catholic schools, many dioceses have discovered that a change in school governance may offset many of the challenges presented by the traditional, parochial model. How can school leaders determine when a change of governance is necessary? What governance models work best in certain situations, and how should those broad changes be managed?

This report reveals the key findings of a recent qualitative study conducted to address those questions, including a “Governance Change Cycle” planning tool with which bishops, superintendents, principals, pastors, and board members may utilize in their strategic planning discussions.

Profiles on Catholic Schools with alternative governance models

FADICA’s research on alternative governance models uncovered two school communities that have experienced increased stability after the adoption of a new governance model:

Ascension Catholic Academy

Minneapolis, MN.

This unique system of schools stemmed from one parish deciding to intentionally sponsor two additional schools in order to preserve quality education in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

Download the 4-page school profile on Ascension Catholic Academy.

Catholic Partnership Schools

Camden, NJ 

This system of four urban schools was formed by the Healey Education Foundation, which created a central office to manage the business operations of the schools and initiated a board of limited jurisdiction to provide overall governance for the system.

Download the 4-page school profile on St. Joseph Pro Cathedral School, a Catholic Partnership School.


The Catholic School Choice: Understanding the Perspectives of Parents and Opportunities for More Engagement

The findings of the 2018 market research study which measured the general population’s attitudes, opinions, and perceptions of Catholic education in America are presented in this report. The publication includes an analysis of the factors that parents consider when making decisions about educational choices for their children.  A key resource within the report highlights how dioceses have applied the research to improve curriculum, increase enrollment, and enhance school culture, among other strategies.

Breathing New Life into Catholic Schools: An Exploration of Governance Models

This 2015 report offers a comprehensive, clearly articulated look at successful models that were in use across the country. With plain language and an intuitive matrix, the white paper details the theory and practice of the most common models and sets out their advantages and disadvantages. Examples of the models are included in the report. (April 2015)


National Catholic School Mentor Program

For the 2019-2020 school year, FADICA and the National Catholic Educational Association have partnered to pilot a year-long initiative to equip eleven principals from across the country with the skills and resources needed to apply the findings discovered in The Catholic School Choice research study. Though the program is national in scale, it is designed to impact real change in enrollment and school quality at the local level in each principal’s community and school.

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