St. Catherine's High School building

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee is studying the governance of Catholic schools in the greater Racine area. No changes have yet been announced, but decisions could have an impact on the Racine Dominicans' 152-year sponsorship of St. Catherine's High School, 1200 Park Ave.

RACINE — Over the past few years, St. Catherine’s High School has been working on a long-term plan for the future of the school.

Now, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee has started putting together a unifying system for the six area Catholic schools east of Interstate 94. But officials said St. Catherine’s will be able to continue its plan. 

The Racine Dominicans, which currently sponsor St. Catherine's, 1200 Park Ave., anticipate eventually stepping aside to allow the Archdiocese and the office of the archbishop to fill that role. 

Stephanie May, director of communications for St. Catherine’s, said the school's long-term plan was formulated during the 2014-15 school year before discussions of a collaboration.

“The creation of the plan was the result of seeking input from various stakeholders including Racine’s Catholic community and the Archdiocese,” May said. “At the time of the strategic plan, St. Catherine’s leadership acknowledged that they would participate in any conversations about Catholic school collaboration.”

Amy Grau, communication director for the Archdiocese, said St. Catherine’s and other area Catholic schools have been committed to supporting the collaborative effort.

“(St. Catherine’s) has an ongoing strategic plan that it updates annually to serve as a guiding document,” Grau said. “As all the schools come together under one system, the collaborative effort will be reflected in future school- and systemwide strategic plans. The collaborative effort is progressing as planned and (St. Catherine’s) is to be commended for its ongoing planning, foresight and commitment to excellence via its strategic plan while the collaborative is formed on a parallel course.”

The other schools involved are St. Joseph School, St. Rita School, St. Lucy School, Our Lady of Grace Academy and John Paul II Academy.

Two plans, same goal

May said St. Catherine’s has been in partnership with the committees and task forces and has had a seat at the table during the planning and organizing phases of “the system.”

“St. Catherine’s has every interest in playing a role in a smooth and fruitful transition between being a separate entity, and being part of a cooperative and collaborative system of premier schools offering a Catholic education to as many students as possible,” May said. “St. Catherine’s will follow the guiding principles of the system and, in fact, we are already doing that through the lens of our strategic plan. Theirs (the Archdiocese of Milwaukee) is a growth model and so is ours. Each is interested in growing Catholic education, enhancing academic outcomes and ensuring financial sustainability.”

In February, St. Catherine’s released a progress report on the long-term strategic plan with its focus on the school model, school campus, finances and faculty and staff.

According to the report, the school is aiming to have “650 diverse students enrolled by 2020.”

The school also is in the progress of creating a retention plan and a comprehensive professional development plan for all employees.

According to the report, the school is working toward attracting, developing and retaining staff members to best serve students and “will work toward defining a financial package that supports these goals.”

However, it seems that part of the plan is in the hands of the Archdiocese.

Regarding employee compensation, the report states “no action on this Supporting Strategy will be taken at this time due to the impending incorporation of a new school system that will be charged with creating an employee compensation structure across the system.”

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Ricardo Torres covers federal, state and Racine County politics along with the Village of Mount Pleasant. He bleeds Wisconsin sports teams.

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