Recently, I attended the Council of Catholic School Superintendents of Alberta ‘Marked By God: Leadership in Alberta Catholic Schools’ conference with a team from Holy Spirit Catholic Schools. It was a terrific conference focusing on the ‘Marks of an Excellent Catholic Leader’. We plan on implementing some of the ideas we heard at the conference. Dr. Troy Davies, Superintendent of St. Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic School Division, presented the second mark – Expressing and Developing a Catholic Vision. I was intrigued on his analogy of visioning for Apollo 11 Lunar Landing Mission and Catholic Education. Dr. Davies listed the ‘5 Cs’ of visioning: Courageous Vision, Clear Focus, Communal, Candid, and Convincing. He explained how NASA implemented the ‘5 Cs’ and the need to apply them to Catholic Education. Here is my simple summary of his points:
|The 5 Cs||NASA’s Implementation||Catholic Education|
|Courageous Vision||President Kennedy had a courageous vision as outlined in his words, “We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard”||OLA has the vision of a safe and caring, Christ-centered community of hope and learning. Holy Spirit Catholic Schools has the vision of Christ-centered learning communities where students are cherished and achieve their potential. Although both are very good, I wonder how we could improve them to be courageous?|
|Clear Focus||NASA had specific clarity on what was needed to accomplish the vision, a clear focus on the big picture and the small details. Details matter.||We continue to be precise in our academic and faith strategies. Assessments guide our instruction and help to drive our Continuous Improvement Plan. Details matter.|
|Communal||NASA had a clear ‘we’ mentality. They knew they needed a massive team to accomplish the vision.||Collaboration among staff and our various stakeholders are welcomed and encouraged. No classroom or school is an island.|
|Candid||Difficult questions had to be asked and answered, they addressed any and all issues.||We do not shy away from the difficult questions. Our faith is a pillar to help us achieve our vision.|
|Convincing||NASA was excellent in communicating the vision, focus, team mentality, and the need to address any and all issues. They were able to put the might and passion of America behind their vision.||We need to continue to share our many success stories. Often, it is a challenge to promote the need for Catholic Education in a secular world. While many see its importance, many also see it as outdated. We need to continue to convince every one of the former.|
I know Dr. Davies did a better job than my simple summary, but his presentation on visioning was both important and appropriate. I hope to regularly reflect on the ‘5 Cs’ and how they apply to our work at Our Lady of the Assumption.
On a short, related matter. I have always been interested in the Apollo 11 Mission, so after the conference, I did a little online reading. I read that astronaut Buzz Aldrin, a Christian, took communion with him to the Moon. So the first meal on the Moon was the body and blood of Christ. Pretty cool!