Operational Vitality

Catholic schools are temporal organizations committed to the Church and the mission of Catholic education including a commitment to a culture of excellence and rigor. These schools exist in a milieu of constant socioeconomic challenges grounded in continuous need for sustainable financial planning, human resource/personnel management and professional formation, facilities maintenance and enhancement, and the requirement for institutional advancement and contemporary communication. Catholic schools must adopt and maintain standards for operational vitality in these areas and define the norms and expectations for fundamental procedures to support and ensure viability and sustainability. When a school does not maintain standards for operational vitality, the continuation of academic excellence is in grave jeopardy. Over time, even an academically rigorous school with strong Catholic identity will not survive without operational vitality. Standards for operational vitality must focus on the “operation” of the school—how it works and how it is supported—in four key areas: finances, human resources/personnel, facilities, and institutional advancement. The leader/ leadership team must manage each area and be subject to the direct oversight of the governing body in these matters.

Standard 10

An excellent Catholic school provides a feasible three to five financial plan that includes both current and projected budgets and is the result of a collaborative process, emphasizing faithful stewardship.


10.1 The governing body and leader/leadership team engage in financial planning in collaboration with experts in nonprofit management and funding.

10.2 Financial plans include agreed-upon levels of financial investment determined by the partners involved who may include but are not limited to parishes, dioceses, religious orders, educational foundations, the larger Catholic community, and responsible boards.

10.3 Financial plans define revenue sources that include but are not limited to tuition, tuition assistance/scholarships, endowment funds, local and regional partnerships, public funding, regional cost sharing, (arch)diocesan and/or religious communities’ assistance, foundation gifts, entrepreneurial options and other sources not listed.

10.4 Financial plans include the delineation of costs for key target areas such as instruction, tuition assistance, administration, professional development, facilities, equipment, technology, program enhancement/expansion, capital projects and other planned projects.

10.5 Current and projected budgets include a statement of the actual and projected revenue sources, indicating an appropriate balance among revenue sources, and a statement of actual and projected expenditures including the actual cost per child, benchmarked compensation/salary scales, and other health benefits and retirement costs.

10.6 Financial plans include educational materials for distribution to all members of the community explaining the total cost per child and how that cost is met by identifying the percentage of cost that is paid for by tuition and the remaining amount of cost that is supported by other sources of revenue.

10.7 The governing body and leader/leadership team provide families access to information about tuition assistance and long-term planning for tuition and Catholic school expenses.

10.8 The governing body and leader/leadership team ensure that appropriately developed financial plans and budgets are implemented using current and effective business practices as a means of providing good stewardship of resources.

Standard 11

An excellent Catholic school operates in accord with published human resource/personnel policies, developed in compliance with (arch)diocesan policies and/or religious congregation sponsorship policies, which affect all staff (clergy, religious women and men, laity and volunteers) and provide clarity for responsibilities, expectations and accountability.


11.1 Human resource programs are professionally staffed at the appropriate level (i.e central office, school office) and ensure full compliance with human resource policies.

11.2 Human resource policies delineate standards for position descriptions including staff responsibilities and qualifications, hiring, compensation, and benefits, as well as standards for professional development, accountability, succession planning and retirement.

11.3 Human resource policies ensure that competitive and just salaries, benefits, and professional growth opportunities are provided for all staff.

11.4 Human resource policies ensure that institutional planning includes investment in personnel growth, health care and retirement.

Standard 12

An excellent Catholic school develops and maintains a facilities, equipment and technology management plan designed to continuously support the implementation of the educational mission of the school.


12.1 The school’s facilities, equipment, and technology management plan includes objectives to support the delivery of the educational program of the school and accessibility for all students.

12.2 The school’s budget supports facilities, equipment, and technology management with specific funds for capital improvements, depreciation, and replacement.

12.3 The school’s purchasing, and physical and technological improvements are, by design, done in alignment with the mission and the school’s planning and curricular goals, and consistent with environmental stewardship.

Standard 13

An excellent Catholic school enacts a comprehensive plan for institutional advancement based on a compelling mission through communications, marketing, enrollment management and development.


13.1 The communications/marketing plan requires school leader/leadership team and staff person(s) to insure the implementation of contemporary, multiple information technologies to reach targeted audiences, and to establish reliable and secure databases and accountability to stakeholders.

13.2 The enrollment management plan requires the governing body to review and the school leader/leadership team to supervise annual and continuous measurement and analysis of both enrollment and retention patterns for all student groups.

13.3 The development plan requires school leader/leadership team, in collaboration with the governing body, to insure that key strategies are in place to identify, grow and maintain significant funding prospects, including alumni(ae), over time and when appropriate.