Archdiocese of Philadelphia High Schools Begin Work with Healey

November 17, 2015

Since reporting on its partnership with Faith in the Future, the Healey Education Foundation team has begun working directly with four Archdiocese of Philadelphia high schools. “Unlike in our initial work with elementary schools, where we often need to set up an advancement office and phase in the Methodology over time, we find that high schools typically have infrastructure already in place and are eager to address the three areas of governance, enrollment and development from the get-go,” said Beth Alfonsi, Vice President of Operations, Healey Education Foundation.“In the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, we’re encountering awesome leadership, a readiness for change and opportunities for growth.”

Led by Healey Director of Schools, Sr. Mary Dacey SSJ, the high schools are identifying and asking members to serve on their Boards of Directors and are preparing for training in early 2016. Sr. Mary has also offered a more deliberate approach to recruiting next year’s 9th grade class and has provided support in the hiring of Major Gift Officers in three of the four schools.

Representatives from each of the high schools working directly with Healey spoke recently about their experiences, challenges and expectations:

On Change

“Close-up, change can seem daunting and difficult. But when we take a broader and longer-term view, it becomes exciting. Our school doesn’t want to keep doing things the same way. And in working with Healey, we’re pleased to have direction, procedures and access to approaches that have been proven. I now have a sounding board – someone seasoned to bounce ideas off of and who knows what has worked in the past.”

Kelly Keane, Director of Institutional Advancement
Bishop McDevitt High School (Wyncote, PA)

On Decision-Making Boards

“As I recruit new people for the board, it’s enticing for them to know that this is an opportunity to effect significant change at the school. With no real authority, there is also no ownership. Now we’ll have ownership. I use the budget as a classic example. On an advisory board only, the finance people offer input but do not pass any motions. Now the board will establish financial policies, determine financial aid procedures, set tuition and fee structures…. The role is so much more than showing up four times a year to provide opinions.”

Thomas Fertal, President
Cardinal O’ Hara High School (Springfield, PA)

On Competition

“We’re dealing with the now common challenges of changing demographics and accessibility of the charter schools. Free is hard to beat. But we’re defining what we do in a different way, and we’re emphasizing the long-term investment of a Catholic education. I’m the eternal optimist and draw on the energy level and spirit here at the school. This is a happy place to be, and our students make that apparent. That’s what spurs us on to keep working on increasing the enrollment.”

Maureen Kerr, Director of Admissions
Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls (Philadelphia, PA)

On Strong Academics and High Expectations

“In the past year, through a planning grant from the Philadelphia School Partnership (PSP), we’ve focused on providing a superior education through a completely standards-driven curriculum and professional development. But even when investing so much on the instructional side, enrollment can still drop. That’s where Healey comes in: to help us pinpoint the best way to advertise and put our school out there…to ensure that we have similar high expectations and follow-through for governance, enrollment and development.”

Kevin Dugan, Principal
Ss. John Neumann and Maria Goretti High School (Philadelphia, PA)