Special thanks to Parents, Faculty and School Advisory Board members for attending Thursday evening's parent information session. Surprisingly, this was the first time all three vital components of our school community came together in support of St. Mark School. I feel blessed to have been a part of this historic moment!
For those of you that could not join us, I have
summarized the evening below:
As you know from Bishop Caggiano's letter, all elementary schools in the Diocese are meeting with parents this month to discuss the viability of their school. Catholic schools across Fairfield County are facing serious demographic challenges: decrease in school age populations and increase in secularism. These factors, coupled with the high cost of living, have contributed to declining enrollment across our Catholic schools. To address these challenges, a Diocesan-wide strategic planning initiative,
To Make All Things New,
has been established to evaluate the long-term viability of our schools. This plan will give us the opportunity to proactively discern a vision for our future that will differentiate ourselves in a shrinking market. We have a collective voice in creating this St. Mark School vision and will be asking for your input as parents. Please be on the lookout for a Diocesan survey that will be coming out later this month.
In the past 2 years, the enrollment at St. Mark School has decreased. As a result, last year was the first year in many that our school ended in a deficit. Thanks to a modest surplus in the previous year, this deficit was rectified. With this year’s current enrollment, we are projecting a deficit of approximately $38,700. It is important to understand that this figure is a conservatively budgeted number, proposed to the Diocese in October. Similar to any non-profit organization in the business world, many factors can change over the fiscal year that can determine the year end actual figures. One way we anticipate making revenue gains is to increase participation in this year's Annual Fund over last year.
Our school budget coincides directly with the decline in enrollment. I am confident that with our aggressive marketing plan this year, we can reverse this enrollment trend. We invite parents and alumni to join our students and faculty in becoming ambassadors for our school and assist with identifying potential new families. The initial response to the parent ambassador program has been great! A few families have already made me aware of potential new families that have expressed interest in enrolling. Thank you! We know that
positive word of mouth advertising
works best here at St. Mark School. We will be taking a more active role in submitting press release to local media highlighting academic success and community involvement. We will continue to partner with preschools, daycares, parishioners, Religious Education families, and realtors to invite them to learn more about our school community. In addition, we will continue to implement and promote some great initiatives that will position St. Mark School for success; especially Personalized Learning and upcoming Social Emotional Learning Program.
To Make All Things New
has set enrollment benchmarks for each school. Our first, and most important, benchmark is to have 85% of our current K-7 families register for next year before Catholic Schools Week. The Diocesan Education Commission is interested in seeing parent commitment. Our goal is to have 114 students registered by mid-January. Thanks to our 8
graders, our Parish Center was transformed into a voting poll last night. Parents were invited to register via paper application, electronic application on iPads, or airdropped electronic application on their phone. The theme for the evening was Vote for St. Mark School – by registering for next year, you are not only reserving a seat for your child, but casting a Vote of Confidence in St. Mark School. I am happy to report that as of last night, we are nearly 1/3 of the way towards our goal! Thank you to all our families who were among the first to register!
If you have not yet registered, please
and register now! As we track the # of registrations submitted, the faculty felt that the class with the highest percentage of re-registrations should have an ice cream party to celebrate! I thought to myself, “What if all the classes were at 100%? Would that mean an ice cream party for the entire school?” The thought brought a smile to my face, as that would be a great problem to have!
We will continue to communicate upcoming benchmarks and updates to the planning initiative. Thank you again for your love and support of St. Mark School.
- Register NOW!
- Participate in upcoming Diocesan survey
- Encourage families and friends to consider St. Mark and invite them to our January 26 Open House
- Remain positive and faithful to our St. Mark community