While affordability and academic quality are critical to the health of Catholic schools, continued viability also depends on strong Catholic identity of programs, recruiting and retaining excellent teachers, and overall management and systems quality. The St. Louis Archdiocesan Catholic school system is largely parochial and therefore decentralized. Hence, there is a need to innovate at the level of individual schools, or groups of schools, and then to spread that knowledge across a larger number of schools in Eastern Missouri. The purpose of Transformational Innovation grant-making is to seed those innovations that can then become transformational throughout the education system. -Read More
Objectives and Targets
The measurable objective of Transformational Innovation is to identify and scale experiments in three areas of organizational transformation which will contribute to education system growth and sustainability:
- Catholic identity: Christ-like environment and strong catechesis
- Teaching: Transformational innovation in pedagogy and teacher retention
- Management: Structures, systems and processes necessary for high quality educational administration and marketing and enrollment management
Funded innovations must have a measureable impact on enrollment and/or teaching and administrative quality and must be replicable across the school system. Funds will be available for schools in all ten Deaneries and grant recipients will be limited to parochial and Archdiocesan schools and education programs.
Applications may be submitted by schools, groups of schools, or the Catholic Education Office (for cross-school experiments). To be considered, applications must include explicit measurable performance indicators which can be tracked to determine the effectiveness of the innovation against a measurable objective.
Innovation grant awards will be competitive based on the merits of the application. The focus of the applications must be the improvement of a specific aspect of quality, cost, or management that is material to improving enrollment, teacher retention, marketing or academic competitiveness, or management efficiency.
Recognizing that successful applicants may not have sufficient internal resources to conduct a performance assessment, the Foundation will set aside, as necessary, a sub-grant for each grant made to fund the services of an assessment specialist through the Innovation Performance Partnership described on the next page.
Application and Disbursement Process
Until such time as the grant-making process has created a sufficient number of models of innovation initiatives that can generate independent proposal submissions, the Foundation will provide technical assistance to schools or groups of schools wishing to apply for an innovation grant.
Applications may be submitted by individual schools or groups of schools for initiatives that have the potential to transform Catholic marketing or educational management in ways that drive enrollment growth and sustainability. The Foundation will manage the call for proposals and assessment, and the awards process, in collaboration with the Catholic Education Office; the call for proposals will be annual.
Performance Reporting Process
The performance objective is to determine what innovations might merit further expansion in the school system. Depending on the scale of the effort, the Foundation will consider creating an Innovation Performance Partnership (IPP) with a Catholic university (possibly the Institute for Catholic Education at St. Louis University). This may include collaboration with graduate students in ways that both assist the Foundation and provide academic credit or benefit to the graduate student. The intent of the IPP would be to provide a cost-efficient mechanism for applicant individuals or schools to obtain necessary help with performance measurement.