Continuing a year of restructuring, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced Tuesday it would create a new independently managed Catholic school system for area high schools and special education schools.
Royersford's Pope John Paul II Catholic High School is part of the new system.
In a press conference at St. Hubert's High School in Northeast Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles Chaput said the Faith in the Future Foundation—which earlier this year—would manage 17 high schools and four special education schools beginning Sept. 1.
Chaput said the independent system would focus on major fundraising, enrollment management, marketing and cultivating best practices in leadership and education.
"The willingness of lay leaders with a love for Catholic education to step forward is encouraging. The commitment made by the Foundation—a commitment to professional excellence in management, guided by a strong and faithful Catholic identity—will serve our high schools and schools of special education well," Chaput said in a news release. "We have seen the momentum that the Foundation has been able to generate, and we are confident that this agreement will lead to an even stronger school system for the children of the Philadelphia region."
Structurally, the parochial schools' organization remains mostly the same, for the time being. Each school continues to report to the Office of Catholic Education. However, that office now exists as a division of the Faith in the Future Foundation, not directly within the archdiocese. The archdiocese will continue to own the properties, Chaput said.
Elementary schools will continue to be managed by the archdiocese but through the Office of Catholic Education.
H. Edward Hanway, the current chairman of the Faith in the Future Foundation, will serve as the Foundation's interim CEO until a permanent leader is hired.
"The independence of the Catholic secondary system, with the schools of special education, was critical to our ability to more fully address the fundraising and enrollment needs of our schools," Hanway said. "With capacity available to educate an additional 15,000 students, we fully intend to grow. This is a ground-breaking approach to educating our children and I am deeply pleased that Archbishop Chaput and Archdiocesan leadership were willing to make such a bold decision in reaching this agreement with the Foundation."
A educational board will be created, which will include members of the archdiocese.
In an article following the announcement, The Philadelphia Inquirer called the move a "radical, and nationally unprecedented, change to its 120-year-old education system." The Inquirer also reported that Faith in the Future said it had "a goal of raising $100 million in five years, and it is well on its way."
In addition to Pope John Paul, the following schools will be impacted:
- Archbishop John Carroll High School
- Archbishop Ryan High School
- Archbishop Wood High School
- Bishop McDevitt High School
- Bishop Shanahan High School
- Cardinal O'Hara High School
- Conwell-Egan Catholic High School
- Father Judge High School for Boys
- St. Hubert Catholic High School for Girls
- SS. John Neumann and Maria Goretti Catholic High School
- John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School
- Lansdale Catholic High School
- Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls
- Monsignor Bonner and Archbishop Prendergast Catholic High School
- Roman Catholic High School for Boys
- West Philadelphia Catholic High School
Schools of Special Education:
- Archbishop Ryan School for the Deaf
- St. Katherine Day School
- St. Lucy School for Children with Visual Impairments
- Our Lady of Confidence Day School