FAQ about Catholic Elementary Education

Seton Catholic Schools will become a high-performing model for urban education where our 8th graders are academically and spiritually prepared for high school and beyond. Through a strong network of schools with the right resources, tools, and infrastructure, we will drive growth and enhance our students’ educational and spiritual journeys well into the future.

Together as educators and as a community, we will raise the academic performance of our students, integrate our Catholic identity in a more robust and engaging way, reduce the administrative burdens on our school leaders, and improve the overall school environment to provide a truly transformational experience for each student.

Ultimately, Seton Catholic Schools will become the model for urban education nationwide.

Simply put, while the needs of our communities have changed, our school model has remained largely the same. Now we must reimagine how, as a faith community, we can better equip our schools to successfully prepare children of diverse backgrounds for the future. Seton Catholic Schools will do just that — and more.

Research from the University of Notre Dame has shown a strong correlation between thriving Catholic schools and the stability, safety, and growth of the communities they serve.

We have a unique opportunity to truly make a difference in our communities, especially those that are struggling. By strengthening Catholic schools, we increase our ability to create robust avenues for addressing social issues within the community: strengthening families; reducing violence, crime, and poverty; building community; combatting racism; and reducing destructive behaviors.

Seton Catholic Schools is an independent 501(c) 3 organization, governed by a Board of Directors. The board is composed of the archbishop of Milwaukee, the archdiocese of Milwaukee superintendent of schools, two pastors and academic, business and community leaders. The Board will develop strategy and set direction and policy for Seton Catholic Schools.  The board will hire and oversee a President who is responsible for all operational aspects of Seton Catholic Schools, such as hiring, staff development, technology, and finances. All school employees – principals, teachers, and staff – will subsequently become employees of Seton Catholic Schools.
The board will include two pastors or parish directors from the member schools, the Archdiocesan Superintendent of Schools, Archdiocesan leaders, as well as academic, business, and community leaders of the greater Milwaukee County area. The group of 14 to 18 members will operate similarly to the current governance of successful Catholic high schools, like Pius XI, Catholic Memorial, and St. Thomas More.
These committees aren’t going anywhere – in fact, they are essential to the success of the network. Within Seton Catholic Schools, each school advisory committee will work with the principal, and pastor on local school matters such as parent engagement, school marketing, fundraising, and school and community events.
No. These traditions and qualities make each school special and unique – and while we are seeking consistency in a number of areas of operations, we’re seeking to enhance, rather than take over, the students’ educational experiences. In fact, this collaboration will create extensive opportunities for pastors, principals, and school staff to place an even greater emphasis on building/maintaining a unique school culture and environment.
The parish leader/pastor role will remain vital to the success of Seton Catholic Schools. Seton will take on most of the time-intensive administrative burdens, which creates opportunities for parish leaders and pastors to get back into the classroom and active in school life. The parish leader or pastor will work with the principal to develop a Parish-School Engagement Plan that defines the activities between parish and school, including weekly Mass, classroom teaching, and parent meetings. This plan will also define ways to make the school more visible to parishioners; we want our parishioners to be proud of their schools and embrace them as an important part of parish life.
To date we have identified 26 Milwaukee schools to become a part of Seton Catholic Schools. Our first cohort for the 2016-17 school year will include 9 schools, with two other cohorts to follow in subsequent school years.
Seton Catholic Schools will be deployed over the next three years in three cohorts. The plan is to integrate our first cohort of schools into this network in time for the start of the 2016-17 school year. The majority of the remaining schools will be deployed in the 2017-18 school year. Schools that are not part of cohort 1 have begun to prepare for their inclusion.
Right now this is intended solely for Milwaukee County schools that are participants in the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program. However, this fully deployed network has the potential to serve as a model for schools locally and nationwide.
Catholic identity is critical to the success of our schools, who we are, and the communities we serve. Faith formation is an integral part of forming future leaders and well-rounded individuals ready to take on this changing world. A strong faith formation program led with a pastoral presence in every school is vital to our ministry and our ability to create a transformational educational experience.