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ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PRINCIPAL
Education: Elementary, FT Employee
Pope John XXIII School (Evanston, IL)
POPE JOHN XXIII SCHOOL
Pope John XXIII School is a shared ministry of the Parish of St. Nicholas and the Parish of St. Mary, both of which are located in Evanston, Illinois. Our school was created in 1986 by the merger of the two parish schools, and is located on the grounds of St. Nicholas Parish. The school prides itself in providing an excellent Catholic education in a small, caring and diverse community. Pope John XXIII has a student body that is racially and economically diverse. 64.5% of the Pope John XXIII students live in Evanston, 23.2% live in Chicago, and the rest live in surrounding suburbs.
Our school’s strengths include its excellent faculty, small class size, strong financial position (including a healthy endowment), and the commitment of its parents to a Catholic education. These strengths have manifested themselves in a number of ways in recent years, including being one of the 50 private schools to be named a Blue Ribbon School in 2008 by the U.S. Department of Education. Pope John XXIII students consistently are accepted into competitive high schools such as Loyola Academy, St. Ignatius College Prep and the selective enrollment high schools in Chicago. Many of those students place into honors classes in those schools, as well as in Evanston Township High School.
These academic successes are the result of the rigorous education provided to Pope John XXIII students from the earliest years at the school. Students receive differentiated instruction and small guided reading groups from kindergarten through fifth grade. Accelerated classes are offered starting in sixth grade, which allows students in the middle school to be very well prepared for high school. Because of this rigorous approach, more than half of Pope John XXIII students consistently score above average on the TerraNova standardized tests; mean scores for the students are in the top 10% nationally.
While the school’s academic record is strong and important, the reason most parents send their children to Pope John XXIII is to get a Catholic education. Pope John XXIII provides students with an education that is centered in Christian values in order to prepare them for a life of spirituality and a respect for the dignity of others. Each school day begins with prayer, and the students have daily religion classes and bi-monthly liturgies. In addition, the school provides students with opportunities for service inside and outside the school. All this is done with the ultimate goal of preparing the students to take their place in society and the church community as moral, responsible and contributing citizens.
GOALS FOR OUR NEXT PRINCIPAL
The School Board believes that this is an exciting time for the school. The economic diversity of its families (and the importance of making available a Catholic education to as many children as possible) make it incumbent on the school to provide financial aid to some of these families, and the School Board has made increasing the funding of scholarships to such families a priority for the future. Other goals of the School Board are to expand the technology used by students, faculty and staff, and to make capital improvements to the school. Although the school is in strong financial shape, we need the next principal to take the school’s fundraising to a new level in order to achieve all of these goals simultaneously.
Another area in which the Board sees opportunity is increasing the enrollment of the school. Some Catholic elementary schools in the area have increased their enrollment without negatively impacting the attendance of other Catholic schools, and we would like to do more of that as well. We have had success at attracting students to 5th-8th grades because of the strength of our middle school education, but we would like to have more students in all of the grades of the school.
DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS/QUALITIES OF THE NEXT PRINCIPAL
Pope John XXIII is seeking a principal with the following experience and qualities:
• Excellent communication skills with faculty, staff, parents and the members of both Parishes (being bilingual in English-Spanish would be an asset in this regard, but is not a requirement)
• Comfortable being the face of Pope John XXIII in Evanston and beyond
• Willing to go into Evanston and the Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago to increase the visibility of the school, with the goal of increasing the number of students at all levels
• Able to work actively with the school’s Development Director to increase the outside funding sources for the school
• Able to work with the faculty and the School Board to develop plans for updating the school’s technology and physical plant
• Willing to participate in the activities of both parishes
• Willing to embrace the position of principal knowing that it is more than a 9-to-5 job
In addition to the job description set forth by the Office of Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago, we believe that some of the challenges facing the next principal of Pope John XXIII will be to:
• deepen the relationship between the school and the two Parishes;
• achieve the goals for the school set forth in the recent Parish Transformation Process of the two parishes;
• engage the school alumni so that they are inspired to give financially as well as with their time and talents;
• maintain and advance the school’s high academic standards;
• stay abreast of the latest trends and policies in education in the Archdiocese and in Illinois, including the Common Core Standards, new ways of conducting teacher evaluations and standardized testing; and
• maintain relationships and connections with area Catholic and public high schools, enabling our graduates to continue to be desired by such schools, including the competitive selective enrollment high schools in Chicago. (186)
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