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TIME OF CHANGE

February 1, 2019
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TIME OF CHANGE

As the Diocese of Scranton celebrates its schools this week, officials launched a search for a new leader who will focus on 21st century curriculum and preparing students for the future. Catholic Schools Week, which ends today, coincides with the start of a national search to find the diocese’s next superintendent — someone administrators and Bishop Joseph C. Bambera hope will continue adding science, technology, religion, engineering, arts and mathematics (STREAM) curriculum and other academic initiatives into the diocese’s schools. The Diocese of Scranton oversees 16 elementary schools and four high schools spanning 11 counties in Northeast Pennsylvania. The theme of Catholic Schools week was “learn, serve, lead and succeed,” said Jason Morrison, secretary of Catholic education and chief operating officer. “We’re highlighting a real focus also as we move forward — academic excellence of our schools and reimagining excellence in our schools.” The schools offer individual instructional programs for students with “exceptionalities and particular learning needs,” he said. Recently, the diocese expanded the Collins Writing Program, which enhances students’ critical thinking and writing skills while preparing them for their college workload and career. It extends across the curriculum, said Morrison. A search committee that includes a group of retired and current educators from the community has formed to find the next superintendent to replace Monsignor David L. Tressler, who stepped down from the position Nov. 2. Since then, officials restructured their Catholic school leadership to a president/principal-type model with Morrison as the chief operating officer serving alongside the new superintendent. Committee member Lois Draina spent her entire career in Catholic education. She was a school superintendent in Richmond, Virginia, and consultant with Catholic schools around the country. She’s also a retired dean from Marywood University. “We’re looking for someone with a vision for the future, with an understanding of the unique challenges of Catholic education today and in the future,” said Draina. She said diocesean schools face financial challenges along with a push for a high-quality, challenging curriculum that meets the needs of every student. To kick off the new era, the diocese is also freezing tuition at the 2018-19 rate for students if they sign up by March 29. The move to be more affordable and accessible will bring in new students while helping faithful families, said Morrison. The diocese is also hoping to amp up fundraising efforts to offer more scholarships than ever to the schools. “We have an obligation to provide the best academic quality in our schools,” said Morrison. “What differentiates us is our ability to infuse faith values and morals and create socially responsible leaders in our schools.” For details about the diocese’s schools, visit www.dioceseofscranton.org Contact the writer: kbolus@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9100 x5114; @kbolusTT on Twitter

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