To be responsible. To do what you say you will do. To follow through on promises. To be dependable and honest. To be who you say you are. These traits indicate strong character and a strong moral compass. These are important qualities we seek in our friends, family members, and business peers.
Whether parents, teachers or a school as a whole, to teach effectively we have to live it first. To teach our students accountability, we must first be accountable. We must exemplify responsibility, dependability and honesty. Here at Norwalk Catholic School, we take our responsibility to be accountable very seriously. We need to be the model for our students. For our parents, who pay tuition to send their children to us, they must see that we are living up to our mission to provide academic excellence and solid faith formation.
There is also a broader accountability at play. Norwalk Catholic School and St. Paul High School exist because of generosity. Parents give beyond tuition in time and talent to supplement our budgets.
Our Catholic parishes and parishioners give extraordinarily from their weekly offering. Our annual fund, Friends for the Future, is 25 years old this year, and has raised more than $11 million to support our mission. This year, because God is good and our donors’ faithful, we hope to reach our goal of $900,000.
Our “investors” span the country and include our parents, grandparents, alumni, parishioners, business community and friends. We are duty-bound to be accountable to this vast constituency who make this mission possible.
Although not tied to all the state testing required of public schools, we do test students with nationally normed testing to measure and compare progress, locally, regionally and nationally. How are we doing? Are our students prepared? Are we living up to our promises? Each year we compile results into a report to our investors that we call our Return on Investment. Using our school motto, we are grateful to share this report with you:
• 13-plus is the average grade equivalent (freshman year of college) for last year’s sophomores in every subject area for the nationally normed IOWA test
• 96 percent of sophomores have already met the state of Ohio graduation requirements
• $3.5 million in scholarship offers to the class of 2017 (49 students)
• 94 percent of class of 2017 advanced to a two- or fouryear college
• 12 Firelands Conference titles won or shared by grades seventh through 12th
• 97 percent of ninth- through 12th-grade students participate in some type of extra-curricular activity
• 4.1 average GPA of the varsity volleyball team
• More than 90 percent of all varsity letter-winners achieved All-Academic first honors
• 225-plus hours of religious formation for each student per year
• 1,926 man/woman-hours of service given in one day (Make a Difference Day)
• 4,500 service hours given by the class of 2017 in their four years of high school
Local columnist Sue Lesch is the Norwalk Catholic School chief advancement officer.