Notre Dame Schools, Utica, New York
Vision 2029: Strategic Plan

Mission: Notre Dame Catholic Schools provide a faith-based educational experience for children in grades Pre-K through 12, in a nurturing and intellectually stimulating environment, that prepares our students to successfully pursue lives committed to community with integrity, compassion, and service.

Vision: We aspire to an educational experience that prepares many more young minds to meet the increasing demands of our modern world, through cultivating our students’ embrace of the myriad challenges facing our people and societies, of the rich diversity of religions, cultures, and traditions, and of dramatic advances in technology.

Values: The virtues of faith, hope, and charity guide us in every aspect of our educational enterprise, fostering a commitment to lives lived with honesty, integrity, compassion, and respect for the dignity of others.

Strategic Pillar One: Securing, sustaining, and measured growth in enrollment.
Goal 1: Streamline the enrollment process for grades Pre-K through 12 (S)

  • Objective A: Define, recruit, and retain a Director of Admissions with a comprehensive approach to enrollment at all levels of the Schools. (S)
  • Objective B: Establish specific steps for the enrollment process. (S)
  • Objective C: Develop, design, and implement an online admission application form. (S)
  • Objective D: Centralize a database of potential and current students that tracks all points of contact and allows us to expand and better utilize baptismal and religious education records. (S)
  • Objective E: Evaluate and address staffing needs within the enrollment department. (S)

Goal 2: Develop a community network in Oneida and Herkimer County and surrounding areas. (S)

  • Objective A: Develop strategic partnerships with local businesses, corporations, realtors, chambers, visitors’ bureaus, etc., in tandem with the Advancement Office. (S)
  • Objective B: Create more “Meet and Greet” opportunities for prospective students, their families, and for the greater community. (S)
  • Objective C: Secure new corporate-funded scholarships to Notre Dame for employees’ children. (S)
  • Objective D: Build and sustain parent engagement opportunities to enhance the Notre Dame family culture. (S)

Goal 3: Develop an inclusive/target-specific marketing platform. (S)

  • Objective A: Develop a marketing plan to represent Notre Dame Schools as an all-inclusive environment, including utilizing teacher/parent involvement to promote a common message. (S)
  • Objective B: Build connections to both enhance current relationships with parishes and to be inclusive of all faiths. (S)
  • Objective C: Create more opportunities to get potential families on-site, specifically targeting students during key transition years. (S)
  • Objective D: Evaluate and address staffing needs within the marketing department. (S)

Goal 4: Improve student retention for continued sustainable student success. (M)

  • Objective A: Promote enhancements in current curriculum, extracurricular, and student life activities and inform parents/community of any new programs and student achievements. (S)
  • Objective B: Implement a consistent/streamlined registration process and connect with current students/families during key transition years. (S)
  • Objective C: Collect and analyze data (as applicable) regarding retention, achievement, preparedness, experience, etc. from current students, non-returning students/families, current graduates, and alumni, as well as information from the Diocese. (M)
  • Objective D: Provide incentives for families with longevity or legacy within the school system. (M)

Strategic Pillar Two: Delivering a rigorous, challenging, and rewarding academic and co-curricular program. (M)
Goal 1: Prepare the diverse modern learner for educational, career, and life success (M)

  • Objective A: Enrich the educational experience of all students through rigorous academic instruction coupled with experiential learning opportunities. (S)
  • Objective B: Expand advanced placement, dual credit, and enrichment programs for high-achieving students at all grade levels. (S)
  • Objective C: Develop and implement a system of identification, screening, and assessment of English Learners, in order to recognize instructional needs and monitor student growth toward learning objectives. (M)
  • Objective D: Using a data-driven problem-solving process, provide effective, evidence-based interventions for students at risk of academic failure, closing the skills gap with peers. (M)
  • Objective E: Enhance social, emotional, spiritual, and behavioral development of all students by providing direct instruction and establishing connections to school and local communities. (M)
  • Objective F: Establish a system of screening and assessment of early childhood students to monitor developmental progress and evaluate readiness for  school. (S)

Goal 2: Develop and maintain a rigorous instructional curriculum designed to maximize student growth and achievement.  (S)

  • Objective A: Review and establish a curriculum and assessment system to be used consistently across elementary sites and evaluate this system with an ongoing curriculum review protocol by administration and staff. (S)
  • Objective B: Develop a plan to increase differentiated instructional resources to enhance learning outcomes for individual students, students with disabilities, whole classes as well as small groups. (S)
  • Objective C: Evaluate the use of integrated technology while increasing its use through the curriculum by expanding available resources and drafting a plan for future use with future programs (i.e., PLTW, E-Sports, Others). (L)
  • Objective D: Enhance the religion curriculum to engage students with faith formation founded in Christian and other world belief systems by increasing involvement in and ownership of religious experiences while also facilitating faith-centered service- learning opportunities at all grade levels. (S)
  • Objective E: Sustain and enhance bridges to increase and enhance college-credit-bearing courses at Mohawk Valley Community College and Utica University. (S)

Goal 3: Equip teachers and staff with the tools required to implement best practice instructional strategies and enhance educational outcomes for all
students. (M)

  • Objective A: Increase staff understanding of and use of educational data and empower teachers to provide data-driven instruction to improve student growth and outcomes. (S)
  • Objective B: Provide comprehensive, meaningful, applicable, professional development opportunities to all staff. (S)
  • Objective C: Establish and implement a comprehensive communication plan between all sites to ensure success in transition by coordinating curriculum, sharing resources, and using common instructional language. (M)

Strategic Pillar Three: Enriching the student experience through enhanced co-curricular and extra-curricular programs. (M)
Goal 1:  Expand the options of co-curricular activities. (S)

  • Objective A: Determine student interest regarding new co-curricular activities. (S)
  • Objective B: Re-evaluate and clearly define the purpose of the house and prefect systems. (S)
  • Objective C: Improve availability of non-athletic activities and increase participation in fine arts and co-curricular activities. (E-Sport Clubs, Technology Clubs, etc.) (S)
  • Objective D: Explore partnerships with area organizations, community volunteers, and available program resources. (S)
  • Objective E: Make best use of available site resources (printing, 3D printers, available technology, etc.). (M)

Goal 2:  Improve communication between and among students, faculty, and families. (S)

  • Objective A: Increase direct communication related to student life, upcoming activities, retreat/service opportunities, and events. (S)
  • Objective B: Provide students with information regarding available service opportunities and religious activities. (S)
  • Objective C: Enhance the marketing of student co-curricular and extra-curricular opportunities to promote throughout the recruitment, admissions, and orientation processes to encourage participation. (S)
  • Objective D: Develop a process to follow up with individual students who are not involved in co-curricular activities and gather student feedback on a regular basis. (S)

Goal 3:  Formalize character building through Catholic Faith focus. (S)

  • Objective A: Offer more direct opportunities for community service. (S)
  • Objective B: Offer frequent faith-centered activities such as prayer, adoration, Mass, or other religious gatherings, and yearly retreats. (S)
  • Objective C: Strengthen partnerships with local religious organizations. (M)

Strategic Pillar Four: Securing, building, and sustaining a financial model that ensures fiscal health and care and nurture of capital assets. (L)
Goal 1: Develop programs to attract, evaluate, and retain quality faculty, staff, and administration. (M)

  • Objective A: Develop a teacher wage scale that is consistent between all grades (Pre-K – 12) and ensures that all instructional compensation is consistent with the diocesan guidelines. (M)
  • Objective B: Review benefits and health plans to provide consistency between grade schools, junior high, and high school. (M)
  • Objective C: Establish procedures to regularly review teacher resource needs and develop methods for identifying funding sources and to obtain new/updated resources. (M)

Goal 2: Expand and revise advancement and marketing organizational structure to incorporate grade school, junior high, and high school into single operating unit. (M)

  • Objective A: Codify all fundraising groups and activities along with their corresponding policies and procedures. (S)
  • Objective B: Establish partnerships and relationships with local parish marketing and fundraising departments. (S)
  • Objective C: Create partnerships with area businesses and organizations to establish sponsorship opportunities. (S)
  • Objective D: Develop a program through the County of Oneida, to identify and secure potential business partnerships. (M)
  • Objective E: Establish a task force to study the feasibility of selling business sponsorships to assist in the development of future athletic facilities and future sport’s team needs. (M)
  • Objective F: Research best practices among other top private schools to help with communication of the value of setting up endowments for the school or for creating a legacy of giving, including estate gifts. (S)
  • Objective G: Create a professional and comprehensive development and fundraising plan. (S)
  • Objective H: Research the availability of private gifts and grants from foundations and organizations that can provide critical funding for our SP goals and objectives. (S)

Goal 3: Review and evaluate need for new facilities and improvements to existing buildings and grounds (L)

  • Objective A: Assess and maintain Health Life Safety Infrastructure, including doors and cameras, fire system, classroom 911, and emergency disaster plans. (S)
  • Objective B: Secure permanent Music and Performing Arts facilities within the confines of the school map. (L)
  • Objective C: Secure permanent Athletic facilities that can support and accommodate all grade levels. (L)
  • Objective D: Analyze and compare options, develop a feasibility study, and necessity of new Academic facilities to consolidate grade schools into single location. (L)

Goal 4: Ensure future financial stability through sound financial practices and data-driven projections. (S)

  • Objective A: Develop in-depth financial metrics for analysis and review, as well as monitor relevant trends over time. (S)
  • Objective B: Work collaboratively with the Diocese and their Financial Office in the development of a sound year-to-year financial operating budget that encompasses the Strategic Plan’s goals and objectives. (S)
  • Objective C: Review and evaluate tuition and enrollment levels to optimize affordability of education. (S)
  • Objective D: Develop a five-year financial projection process to provide for future operating and capital expenditures. (S)

Strategic Pillar Five: Visionary institutional leadership. (M)
Goal 1: Under the guidance of the Administration, Governing Board, and volunteer leaders, focus on teaching and learning that is authentically Catholic
and academically excellent. (M)

  • Objective A: Explore the feasibility of implementing the President/Principal model in the Administrative Office. (S)
  • Objective B: Cultivate leadership opportunities for faculty. (S)
  • Objective C: Develop a plan for recruitment and retention of qualified faculty. (M)
  • Objective D: Continue and enhance relationships with local colleges in the development of instructional staff. (M)
  • Objective E: Develop a needs assessment and yearly plan for staff development. (S)
  • Objective F: Provide system-wide and site-specific training on research-based instructional strategies. (S)
  • Objective G: Plan and prepare teachers for the focus of future instructional skills with strategies that respect and support all learning styles. (S)

Goal 2: Define and enhance the role of the Board of Trustees to assist in advancing the mission and vision of Notre Dame Schools. (S)

  • Objective A: Review current process and implement a formal application and vetting process for potential new Board members. (S)
  • Objective B: Develop a formal orientation program and job description for the Trustees. (S)
  • Objective C: Require Board members to take a leadership role in advancement opportunities to the best of their abilities. (S)
  • Objective D: Encourage and invite Pastors of surrounding parishes to be involved in the Board of Trustees Open Meetings. (S)

Goal 3: Study the process for the creation of a central Administrative Office to streamline operations. (M)

  • Objective A: Recruit and hire a President & CEO of the Schools to lead the overall administrative leadership. (S)
  • Objective B: Determine the roles and responsibilities of the Administrative Office. (S)
  • Objective C: Identify additional roles that may reside in the Administrative Office. (S)
  • Objective D: Review and confirm the administrative roles at the Elementary Building. (S)
  • Objective E: Study the use of a Teacher on Special Assignment at the Elementary School. (S)

Goal 5: Cultivate and enhance the relationship with area parishes. (S)

  • Objective A: Strengthen the relationships with area church leaders and council members. (S)
  • Objective B: Work more closely with religious education leaders to promote Catholic education. (S)

Strategic Pillar Six: Notre Dame’s Catholic history, heritage, and identity, and it’s role in faith-based private education in the Mohawk Valley for the future. (S)
Goal 1: Build and implement an adult ministry curriculum for staff, parents, and alumni to ensure a strong future involvement of Catholic and other religious laity in the life of the Schools. (M)

  • Objective A: Develop and implement adult retreats available to parents, teachers, alumni, and community friends. (M)
  • Objective B: Create experiential programs, events, and activities, through the leadership of Catholic and other religious and lay leaders, that provide students the opportunity to learn of the traditions of the world’s great religions and their roles in modern society. (M)
  • Objective C: Identify, recruit, and invite the alumni of the Schools, and its former sister schools, St. Francis DeSales and Utica Catholic Academy, who have distinguished themselves, through their chosen professions and volunteer leadership, in service to their communities, guided by their faith and Christian values. (M)

Goal 2: Continue to create, communicate, and sustain a unified, area-wide Catholic Education Philosophy that includes all area Catholic parishes and other
religious institutions. (S)

  • Objective A: Establish a liaison system by and between area religious institutions to promote communication and support between these institutions and the Schools. (S)
  • Objective B: Continue to build upon ministry days and cross-promotion of youth group events/opportunities for involvement. (S)
  • Objective C: Foster a relationship of student access and involvement between Notre Dame Schools, religious education directors of the area Parishes and religious institutions represented among the student population, and youth ministry coordinators. (S)

Goal 3: Assist students on their faith journeys to foster strong personal relationships with their faith, to minister to others, and to live out their future
through faith.

  • Objective A: Build and implement training and retreats for junior high (grades 6-8) youth. (M)
  • Objective B: Continue to broaden the scope of reality-based opportunities to create student run and directed initiatives, in partnership with alumni, parents, and friends, for community outreach to senior citizen centers, food banks, homeless shelters, youth recreation events and programs, environmental clean- up efforts, and other community initiatives. (M)
  • Objective C: Provide monthly liturgical experiences for students with a specific topic or theme for each event and convey their relevance to peoples of other faiths. (S)

S = Short term (within the first full year of the Strategic Plan)
M = Mid-term (within the first three years of the Plan)
L = Long term (up to five years of the Plan, perhaps beyond)