For 150 years, Greater Boston's Catholic schools have educated hundreds of thousands of students of all backgrounds with unmatched success. In 1965, over 150,000 students attended 350 elementary and secondary Catholic schools in the Archdiocese and 58% of teachers were priests, nuns, or brothers. Today there are just over 37,000 students attending the Archdiocese’s 116 Catholic schools. The face of the teaching staff has changed too—priests, nuns, and religious brothers make up less than 5% of all teachers in the Archdiocese. With the changing landscape of our communities, some Catholic schools have been forced to close their doors, and others are struggling to stay open—most often in neighborhoods where the need for Catholic schools is the greatest.
In 2005, Boston’s Catholic schools were at a crossroads. A new vision was needed to carry on the important work of educating our children now and into the future. After a thorough two-year review of the state of our schools, a panel of professional educators, presidents of area Catholic colleges, and business and religious leaders put forth a new strategic plan for Catholic education called The 2010 Initiative for Catholic Education. The Initiative called for strategic reform to our Catholic schools and as a result, in 2007, Cardinal Seán O’Malley’s asked Boston business civic leader Jack Connors, Jr. to launch the Campaign for Catholic Schools with the chief goal of strengthening Catholic elementary schools in neighborhoods where the need and demand are the greatest.
Today, the Campaign for Catholic Schools partners with local community leaders to transform struggling Catholic elementary schools into thriving learning communities where all students receive a values-based education that gives them a solid foundation for the rest of their lives—through highschool, college, and beyond. This work is setting new educational standards within Massachusetts and is quickly becoming the 21st century model for Catholic schools across the U.S.