At the heart of the Catholic school educational philosophy is a cultural commitment to care for students, ensuring that every child is seen as an individual. This results in the formation of students who make of their gifts, talents, competencies, skills, and passions a distinctive gift of Catholic education to society. President James Childs recently talked about the long-range planning process underway at O’Dowd, the educational philosophy that will inform that planning process, and the role of the Western Catholic Education Association (WCEA) accreditation process upon which the school is embarking this fall. Get more detailed information on this process »
Childs said that O’Dowd is committed to ensuring that all students feel seen. “At O’Dowd, ‘seeing every child’ presents as every student knowing that they are cared for. In the context of relationships with our students, we build developmental competencies, cultivate resiliency and empathy, and encourage their sense of responsibility in and for the world,” he said. “We are educating our students to provide for the common good in a much more impactful way, building a more just, joyful, and sustainable future, just as our missions indicates.”
Active visioning has taken place over the past two years in anticipation of the accreditation process, with an eye towards informing school priorities and areas of focus for the future. This work has included Academic Council sessions, Charism reflection work to deepen alignment, the School Climate Survey, as well as discussions and workshops with faculty and staff, explained Childs. The WCEA process maps the work already completed at O’Dowd over the last few years to this formal process to discern any further opportunities in meeting our goals. Accreditation with its explicit workflows and third party involvement expands our inventory of knowledge to inform planning and helps to ensure a quality educational program as well as alignment with best practices in Catholic education.
“The strategic imperatives for student growth emerging out of this comprehensive planning and accreditation process will take into consideration the developmental realities of teens, instructional strategies that expand their ability to learn – with sensitivity to equity, access and inclusion – overall student health and wellness, as well as leadership development,” explained Childs.
“O’Dowd is at the leading edge of Catholic education. Innovation over the years has focused on the implementation of programs that distinguish and define O’Dowd, such as Academic Support and the Living Lab. In this next phase of O’Dowd’s evolution, innovation will continue to be at the forefront of O’Dowd planning with an eye towards sustainable growth and management,” Childs said.
In addition to innovating how the culture of care presents at O’Dowd throughout all facets of the O’Dowd experience, this will include operational and technology strategies as well as program developments that enable better outcomes and efficiency, namely, how we utilize resources (people, space, time) in creative ways to meet our needs. Stay tuned for more information on planning and innovation at O’Dowd from President Childs in upcoming issues of O’Dowd Online and Dragon magazine.