Executive Summary. Holy Cross High School

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1 Archdiocese of New Orleans Dr. Joseph H Murry, Jr., Principal 5500 Paris Ave New Orleans, LA Document Generated On February 10, 2015

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1 Description of the School 2 School's Purpose 4 Notable Achievements and Areas of Improvement 6 Additional Information 7

3 Introduction Every school has its own story to tell. The context in which teaching and learning takes place influences the processes and procedures by which the school makes decisions around curriculum, instruction, and assessment. The context also impacts the way a school stays faithful to its vision. Many factors contribute to the overall narrative such as an identification of stakeholders, a description of stakeholder engagement, the trends and issues affecting the school, and the kinds of programs and services that a school implements to support student learning. The purpose of the Executive Summary (ES) is to provide a school with an opportunity to describe in narrative form the strengths and challenges it encounters. By doing so, the public and members of the school community will have a more complete picture of how the school perceives itself and the process of self-reflection for continuous improvement. This summary is structured for the school to reflect on how it provides teaching and learning on a day to day basis. Page 1

4 Description of the School Describe the school's size, community/communities, location, and changes it has experienced in the last three years. Include demographic information about the students, staff, and community at large. What unique features and challenges are associated with the community/communities the school serves? Since its founding in 1849, Holy Cross School has been a pillar of educational and spiritual development for young men in the community of New Orleans, Louisiana. Originally sponsored and founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross, the school began its life as St. Mary's Orphanage and was tasked with the care and education of boys affected by the numerous plights facing New Orleans at that time. Over the years, Holy Cross grew to meet the needs of the generations of young men who entered its doors. The school went through, perhaps, its greatest change most recently. The affects of this development still currently shape the school and its direction. The original Holy Cross School campus endured devastating damage as a result of Hurricane Katrina in Forced to depart from the original campus, the school leadership elected to build a new, state-of-the-art facility where the school is currently housed. The development of this facility led to a rebirth of the school in which the curriculum and academic standards were reinvigorated along with the renewed strength of the Holy Cross community. The High School currently educates 759 young men in Grades 8-12 at a facility that is comprised of five buildings containing thirty-eight classrooms, seven science labs, the Watson Family Theatre, two art studios, a library, offices for administrative support, two food service facilities, two multi-purpose sports fields and a student center which includes a gym, weight room, wrestling facility, band and chorus facilities, and coaching offices. Holy Cross School serves a diverse student body that is comprised of approximately 75% White students, 19% Black students, 4% Hispanic students, 2% Asian students, and 0.5% American Indian/Native American students. The majority (79%) of these students are Catholic. The faculty and staff of Holy Cross School also represent a cross-section of academic and cultural backgrounds. Numerous members of the faculty hold a Masters degree and eight members of the faculty hold a Ph.D. Additionally, sixteen faculty members are alumni of Holy Cross. The majority of the faculty is male (61%) and Catholic (80%). Also, approximately 92% of the faculty are White, 6% are Black, 1% are Hispanic, and 1% are Multi-Racial. The Greater New Orleans area is a dynamic area that affords its community many choices in education. There is a long history of Catholic education in New Orleans, so there exists an atypically large number of Catholic schools. The Archdiocese of New Orleans' Office of Catholic Schools currently supervises eighty Catholic schools. Public school options are also continuously growing with the incorporation of a charter school system. Public schools in Orleans, Jefferson, and St. Bernard parishes, the core areas from which Holy Cross School attracts its students, educate a collective 99, 300 students. Clearly, the choices associated with schooling in the New Orleans area are as diverse as the city itself. One of the most unique features of Holy Cross is that it serves an all-male student population. This presents some challenges but primarily allows our faculty to specifically address the social and developmental needs of young men. Still, there exists a great deal of diversity. Our students hail from all over the Greater New Orleans area and bring with them the influences of these culturally rich neighborhoods. Also, the racial and ethnic profile of the school is uniquely diverse, particularly for a private, Catholic school. This affords our students the chance to learn and grow as global citizens. Page 2

5 Holy Cross also faces several challenges that inspire its faculty and staff to seek continuous improvement and development. In particular, all members of the Holy Cross family have been involved with the creation of the newly instituted Primary School. While the school looks to the future through expanding the reaches of Holy Cross, it also faces keen competition for students who now have more school options as a result of the revitalization of the public and charter schools in the New Orleans area. The leadership of Holy Cross must also manage the task of balancing the cost of tuition with the growing fiscal responsibilities of the school. Page 3

6 School's Purpose Provide the school's purpose statement and ancillary content such as mission, vision, values, and/or beliefs. Describe how the school embodies its purpose through its program offerings and expectations for students. Mission & Purpose Holy Cross School is an independent, Catholic, college preparatory middle and high school founded in 1849 by the Congregation of Holy Cross to educate young men from metropolitan New Orleans. Holy Cross is fully accredited by the Louisiana State Department of Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as a college preparatory school for boys in grades Father Basil Moreau, Founder of the Congregation of Holy Cross, stated our mission: "We can state in a word the kind of teaching we wish to impart. We do not want our students to be ignorant of anything they should know. To this end, we shall avoid no sacrifice. We shall always place education side by side with instruction; the mind will not be cultivated at the expense of the heart. While we prepare useful citizens for society, we shall likewise do our utmost to prepare citizens for eternal life" -Father Basil Moreau Founder, Congregation of Holy Cross School Motto "One Family united by the Cross, Our Only Hope." The Holy Cross Man The Holy Cross Man is a refined gentleman who lives by Faith. Devoted to his soul's welfare, he reflects often on God. His daily actions are sanctified by prayer, the practice of virtue, and manly piety. Since sanctity is his goal, he has a deep devotion to Our Lord, to Our Lady, and to St. Joseph, patron of his school. The Holy Cross Man is studious. He regards learning as a duty; intellectual perfection as an honor. He knows that his school is his training ground where he must mold himself into a useful man. The Holy Cross Man is loyal to God and Country. Devotion to his school and his teachers is demonstrated by his cooperation, zeal, and spirit. He is a friend of all because he is a member of the Mystical Body of Christ. In a word, he is a man of faith and honesty, of strength of character through self-mastery, of respect for the Christian family and lawful authority, of leadership in the pursuit of the true, the good, and the beautiful - that is the Holy Cross Man. The Shared Values of Holy Cross A Holy Cross education is a process which: - Engages the whole man: mind and heart, body and soul - Challenges a young man to learn habits of the mind and habits of the heart: o the competence to see and the courage to act o to think critically Page 4

7 o to make informed choices o to take risks o to own the consequences of his actions - Finds its best expression as service to others rendered by men with hope to bring - Is guided by educators in the faith - Parents, Faculty, Staff, and Directors - empowered to build a community of the coming kingdom - Rooted in a family legacy, which nurtures trustworthy friends and lasting brothers Looking ahead, we see a school that is: - Regarded as one of the most unique in metropolitan New Orleans - Willing to continually renew itself by seeking new ways to articulate these shared values through a sequential curriculum and a comprehensive activity program - Known for the quality of parental participation - Defining success in terms of the useful lives of its alumni Holy Cross School is an academic community that is focused on the development of the mind, heart, body, and soul of every student. To achieve this, the school is committed to the engagement of the student body in a variety of activities. The school's curriculum is a testament to its dedication to educate young men at the highest possible level. Courses are offered that serve students at diverse achievement levels including Honors, Dual-Enrollment, and Advanced Placement. Through the use of standardized test data, the administration and faculty strive to improve instructional strategies and curriculum design to provide more effective student learning. The college preparatory curriculum ensures that all students receive an education that makes it possible for them to succeed after their time at Holy Cross. Holy Cross also offers an athletic program that affords students the chance to compete in competitive arenas that challenge their minds, bodies, and skills. The spiritual development of the student body is ensured through constant reminders of the presence of God in their lives and at our school. Specifically, programs like Campus Ministry, daily prayer, daily recitation of "The Holy Cross Man," the Boys to Men student mentoring program, regular retreats, school liturgies, and community service place spiritual development at the forefront of the student body's consciousness. Overall, the program offerings of Holy Cross challenge young men to learn habits of the mind and habits of the heart, to have the competence to see and the courage to act, to think critically, to make informed choices, to take risks, and own the consequences of their actions. Page 5

8 Notable Achievements and Areas of Improvement Describe the school's notable achievements and areas of improvement in the last three years. Additionally, describe areas for improvement that the school is striving to achieve in the next three years. Holy Cross is committed to continuous improvement and growth in all facets of the school. Our academic community was especially proud of the graduating Class of 2014 who collectively earned $4,730, in scholarships. The school also continued its focus on preparing its students for college through the creation of eighteen Advanced Placement and Dual-Enrollment courses. These programs afford students the chance to earn up to 54 hours of college credit prior to graduating from high school. Also, the school committed to the establishment and implementation of the Scholars Program that follows a prescribed four-year, multi-disciplinary course of studies, using a classical approach to learning that emphasizes higher-level critical thinking skills through written and oral expression. This elite program along with the addition of academic and athletic programs including the Classic Studies curriculum, debate, lacrosse, and beach volleyball add further dimensions to the education that Holy Cross students receive. The success of these advancements is reflected in the performance of the students who consistently meet or exceed standardized test growth targets at every grade level. As we look to the future of the school, the faculty and staff of Holy Cross have noted specific areas we need to focus our energies on improving. There should be a concerted effort to ensure that we continue to meet each student's need with the enhancement of a rigorous academic program. One way that this can be achieved is through a reexamination and implementation of more effective student placement procedures. The growth of faculty members as teaching professionals should also be advanced through professional development activities. Additionally, an increase of awareness and favorability of Holy Cross throughout the community at large would benefit the school greatly in a variety of ways. Engaging the Holy Cross community with the aim of fostering our Catholic identity should also be a task that we collectively strive to accomplish. All of these goals are similarly echoed in the missions associated with the Strategic Plan, which is a plan that Holy Cross is committed to seeing through to fruition. Page 6

9 Additional Information Provide any additional information you would like to share with the public and community that were not prompted in the previous sections. No Additional Information Page 7

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