Immaculate Conception High School

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Affinity Group Visit

The overarching objective of this gathering was for Felician-Sponsored Ministries to be inspired, motivated and build an experience that would support their schools to advance their mission, transform their ministry, and truly deepen relationships across the ministries.

The goals were for attendees from all ministries to feel as being part of a bigger Felician education family while being engaged and deepening their connection to the ministries in the affinity group. Moreover, attendees were asked to be flexible to how the affinity group responds to the needs within secondary education and be provided with resources and support that will make their roles more impactful.

The keynote speaker was Lorraine A. Ozar, PhD, the founding director of the Andrew M. Greeley Center for Catholic Education and a longtime advocate for Catholic education.

Dr. Ozar has served Catholic education at all levels as a teacher, school level administrator, member of the Office of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Chicago, author, and national speaker. She led the development of National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools and has presented numerous workshops to educators in more than 75 dioceses across the country, focusing on curriculum development and implementation, assessment, instructional leadership, professional learning communities, and standards within the context of faith-based schools.

Dr. Ozar shared a very compelling presentation that focused on examining the efficacy of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools and their application as a tool for many purposes.

The affinity group also heard from two inspirational speakers; J.D. Childs, President of the Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland, California and Dr. Brad Bonham, President of the Carmel Catholic High School in Mundelein, Illinois, who shared powerful practices that truly allowed their schools to transform into highly-functioning organizations while remaining true to their missions.

Participants from the various Felician-Sponsored Ministries had an opportunity to be inspired to collaborate with their colleagues while sharing insights into the trends and challenges facing the affinity group.

Some of the key takeaways that ICHS focused on at this gathering were; to be reflective in practice both as a team and individually, remember to continuously evolve and grow while celebrating the achievements that have been completed in a short period of time, and be transparent with all constituents.

Participating in the Secondary Education Affinity Group Gathering, left the Executive Team from ICHS feeling empowered, inspired and truly motivated.

Mr. Joseph Azzolino, Head of School added, “Having the opportunity to share, brainstorm, and develop ideas with members of the other Felician High Schools was energizing.  I am looking forward to sharing this experience with our entire faculty and staff as we continue to ensure each student gets the highest quality of educational experience.  Our classrooms are being transformed into learning environments.”

Mrs. Jessica Cutrona, Associate Head of School and Dean of Student Life shared, "The message of making beautiful things versus fixing what's broken, really resonated with me. As educators and servant leaders, we must constantly remind of ourselves to focus on the positive and to reflect on all that is beautiful and less on what is wrong".

Dr. Sonaliz Morel-Baker, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement exclaimed, “Being part of this affinity group allowed me to focus on the essence of transformation while learning from colleagues from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School and Holy Name of Mary College School. We will certainly remain in touch, work collaboratively, and share best practices to continue to evoke change in our own ministries.”

By the end of this gathering, ministry leadership were able to identify two to three powerful practices they plan to adopt to transform and advance in their ministries for the next five to ten years.

ICHS will continue to focus on the academic rigor and craft a transparency plan to share with its constituents. Lastly, ICHS will provide a report by September 2020 for the Felician Services, Inc., Board of Directors regarding how ICHS is progressing on the plans for collective transformation and advancement.