2016-2017 New York Archdiocese At a Glance
Superintendent of Schools Office
1011 First Avenue
New York, NY 10022
Total Number of Schools
The mission of the Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of New York is to ensure our schools are Christ-centered, academically excellent, and welcoming communities that teach students to be life-long learners and leaders energized by fidelity to Christ, the Church, and one another.
Catholic School Experience
Catholic education in the Archdiocese of New York began in 1800 in St. Peter’s Parish in lower Manhattan. Today, Catholic educators in the archdiocese serve more than 67,000 students from Pre-K to twelfth grade in rural, urban and suburban settings throughout the ten southern counties of New York State. Building on more than 200 years of inspiring students, our Catholic schools offer an excellent, nurturing, values-centered education in a structured environment that helps children of all backgrounds realize their fullest potential as human beings.
In Catholic schools today, a love of learning starts in Pre-K and continues through the years, with 99 percent of our high school seniors graduating and an overwhelming majority of those graduates going on to post-secondary education.
Our Catholic faith is central to what we do, and we proudly teach it. Gospel ideals permeate the substance and structure of our lessons. We share our faith through daily prayer and the regular celebration of Mass as a school community. We foster a spirit of Christian service as an expression of our concern for the needs of others. Character formation and personal spirituality are rooted in the study of Catholic teachings and tradition, as well as sacramental preparation.
Our academic programs grounded in basic skills meet the varied needs of each school community by incorporating technology, advanced math, hands-on science, and foreign language coupled with the various forms of art study. We offer a forward-focused curriculum, integrating technology into classroom instruction, preparing our students to compete in an increasingly complex world.
Our students are motivated to do their best. We help them understand their talents, find meaning in their lives and build on their strengths to achieve success in school and beyond graduation. We provide them with the skills and inspire the self-discipline and confidence needed for them to take their places as compassionate leaders in their communities and in society.
The Catholic school experience is an unparalleled opportunity to develop a child’s mind, heart and soul.
“This past year, our Catholic school system celebrated a multitude of demonstrable improvements thanks to carefully targeted investments and innovative educational strategies.”
-Timothy J. McNiff, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools
These successes are thanks in large part to the transformational leadership that has defined Catholic education in the Archdiocese of New York. This year was no exception, as we embarked upon a comprehensive and thorough review of our school system, taking counsel from our dedicated stakeholders: pastors, principals, educators, alumni, parents and family members, donors, and prominent innovators from multiple industries. Their feedback was compelling; the result was the launch of a three-year strategic plan for the Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York: Pathways to Excellence II. You may recall in 2010 we unveiled our first Pathways to Excellence Strategic Plan (Pathways I), a roadmap to help us strengthen and sustain our Catholic school system.
Examining our progress since Pathways I and considering new approaches that might be critical to our success, Pathways II aims to set an even higher standard of excellence in our Catholic schools. Bolstered by the countless partners whose energy made this plan possible, I am confident that Pathways II will preserve and invigorate Catholic education in the Archdiocese of New York for generations to come.
The Office of Enrollment and Financial Assistance is proud to report that the number of applications to our schools increased by 15% this year with more than 19,000 new and returning students enrolled throughout the archdiocese. Our schools also honored their commitment to keeping Catholic education accessible and affordable for all families, offering more than 5,400 various financial assistance awards and scholarships.
The office also unveiled a new brand identity for Catholic schools: Faith-Based, Future-Focused, which summarizes our dual mission of building men and women of strong faith and moral character, while also honing the intellectual abilities that will set them on the path for lifelong success. Our innovative marketing efforts have generated a 25% increase in visits to our website, which was changed from buildboldfutures.org to the more intuitive catholicschoolsny.org. We also significantly enhanced the digital footprint of our schools, completing a full redesign of all 75 regional school websites and social media pages.
In addition, we aggressively expanded our Latino Outreach efforts through the creation of new Spanish-language web pages and advertising campaigns, with bilingual presentations occurring at 48 parishes. Our Bilingual Parent Helpline also expanded its one-on-one outreach to families, handling over 15,000 inbound and outbound calls to assist families through the application process.
Blended Learning & Technology-Enhanced Curricula
One particular instructional strategy that continues to yield impressive results for our students’ academic performance is the blended learning model. Blended learning incorporates both online and digital platforms into traditional student instruction and allows teachers to monitor student progress and tailor instruction in real time. The program began as a pilot in three schools at the start of the 2015-2016 school year and since then has reached 34 schools. Blended learning has had a positive impact on student achievement as revealed in our students’ outstanding 2016-2017 New York State Test results.
Consistent and Compelling Growth in Academic Proficiency
One of the most exciting achievements we are celebrating from the 2016-2017 academic year is our students’ outstanding performance on the New York State ELA and Math Exams, marking the third straight year of system-wide academic growth for every region in the archdiocese. We are proud to report that our students are outpacing New York State and New York City public school students in terms of the percentage of students meeting or exceeding proficiency standards in both Math and ELA. Additionally, in the last three school years the Archdiocese of New York has outperformed New York State and City schools when it comes to expanding proficiency.
The promising growth in our students’ state test scores over the last three years is a testament to the combined dedication of our teachers, principals and students. Across the archdiocese we are seeing firsthand the continued benefits of targeted investment in technology and data analytics that help our teachers individualize instruction to meet students’ needs.
This success is not limited to primary education, as our high schools continue to enjoy outstanding graduation rates. Of our 24,000 high school students last school year, 99% of seniors graduated (outpacing national average of 83%), and the overwhelming majority of those graduating seniors went on to college or post-secondary education.
The remarkable upward trajectory of our students’ Math and ELA scores, in combination with the excellent graduation rates of our Catholic high schools, offers evidence for the unique quality that a Catholic school education provides. We are so proud to instill not only an excellent education of the mind, but also of the heart, soul, and personal character, and we look forward to continuing to build upon these profound successes well into the future.
Early Childhood Education
The Archdiocese of New York considers early childhood to be the crucial entry point for children as they begin their education in our Catholic school communities. Families are offered a wide range of high-quality early learning options, including funded and tuition-based programs throughout the archdiocese.
In the fall of 2016, a pilot Kindergarten Initiative was launched to bring the best aspects of center-based instruction to classrooms. This method incorporates instructional practices that promote the development of 21st century skills including critical thinking, creativity, problem solving and collaboration. Pilot educators and families are in agreement that the pedagogical shift vastly improved the quality of instruction.
Catholic Education Advancement
Inner-City Scholarship Fund
Under the leadership of Executive Director Susan George, Inner-City Scholarship Fund (Inner-City) offers families with financial needs the opportunity to provide their children with a quality, values-based K-12 education within the Archdiocese of New York. In 2017, Inner-City provided $13.3 million in need-based scholarship support to more than 8,000 Catholic school students, preparing them with the skills and values to succeed in college and beyond.
Champions for Quality Education
With Susan Madon’s leadership, Champions for Quality Education (Champions) partners with underserved elementary schools in the Archdiocese of New York to meet the diverse needs of today’s students. By supporting academic and enrichment programs, as well as capital repairs that would otherwise be out of reach, Champions equips Catholic schools to deliver a competitive, faith-filled education to students of all backgrounds. In 2017, Champions awarded $3 million to Catholic elementary schools to implement new educational programs and complete critical facility improvements.
Our Legislative Priorities
A key component of our public policy work is continued support for the Education Tax Credit, a sensible way to provide scholarships for tuition-paying families. Our advocacy efforts and the program itself have the support of the majority of legislators in state government. For details on this legislation and to register to vote, please visit nyscatholic.org. Some of our other public policy priorities include:
- Ensuring our schools receive their proper benefits under the Smart Schools Bond Act, which provides technology equipment and services to schools
- Fighting to ensure the federal, state, and local governments comply with their obligations to our schools under Titles I, IIA, and III of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA)
- Expanding the use of federally allocated funds for teacher professional development
- Advocating for continued expansion of the New York City security guard reimbursement program
- Reinstituting and staffing the State Office of Religious and Independent Schools (SORIS) to serve as a bridge between the public and nonpublic educational communities
- Broadening our schools’ wireless infrastructures and capabilities through the federal E-Rate program
Even as we evolve curriculum to remain competitive in a rapidly changing educational landscape, we remain steadfast in our commitment to faith formation. A Catholic education succeeds in developing the whole person because it is a communal duty that relies on the bold, creative direction from all of our stakeholders. Our 2016-17 Annual Report outlines some of the many accomplishments made in our schools across all nine of our Catholic School Regions in the 2016-2017 academic year. In these testimonials, you will see how the many investments we have made in recent years are yielding outstanding results throughout our school system.
Timothy J. McNiff, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools