The Office of Education serves the San Francisco New Orleans District’s mission through its support of the District’s educational ministries. This includes the areas of Formation for Mission, Board Formation, Evangelization and Catechesis, Leadership Development, Young Lasallians, and Vocation Ministry. Programs and resources are developed and coordinated to accompany and assist the Brothers and Partners in maintaining and advancing the Lasallian Catholic identity, character, activity and vision of the District and its works.
NEW PERSONNEL ORIENTATION:
In the middle of the school year, new personnel at each school gather for an afternoon retreat that invites them to reflect on the foundational values of the Lasallian mission in light of their experience in the classroom or in the school up to that point. Time is devoted to individual reflection, small group sharing, and large group discussion of the issues, challenges, and blessings that result from the application of the mission to the daily life of the school.
The Office of Education provides a half-day orientation for new personnel at each school in the District. The orientation includes an introduction to the life of Saint John Baptist de La Salle and to foundational Lasallian educational principles and terminology, as well as an orientation to the District of San Francisco New Orleans, the Lasallian Region of North America (RELAN), and the International Institute.
Special Orientation for Others as Requested
The Office of Education provides schools with resources that will allow them to introduce other groups, such as parents, coaches, and alumni to the school’s mission as well as the mission of the International Institute. A member of the Office of Education staff is available to assist with these orientations at the request of each school.
The Office of Education has created a number of freestanding materials to be used by schools that wish to facilitate their own orientations. In the case of schools reflecting the charisms of two religious congregations, these materials are modified, with information highlighting the partnering charism.
ONGOING FORMATION OF SCHOOL PERSONNEL:
District Educator Workshops
The Office of Education sponsors a number of District-wide workshops each year. These workshops gather representatives from around the District of San Francisco New Orleans for two to three days to consider topics pertinent to the work they share. Such workshops help to deepen the participants’ understanding of the mission and the role they play in it. They also provide an opportunity for people to network with others in the District who share their job responsibilities. Recent focus groups include local animators, Counselors, Admission Directors, and Social Studies Teachers. The Office regularly sponsors the Lasallian Renewal Retreat and the Lasallian Commitment Retreat, which are open to teachers, staff, and administrators who wish to prayerfully reflect on their vocation as a Lasallian educator.
Specialized Local Retreats/Workshops as Requested
The Office of Education makes itself available to the various apostolates in the District for specialized retreats or workshops. Such events include a retreat day for teachers, an evening presentation on the Lasallian heritage for parents, a retreat for school leadership teams, and an orientation presentation for coaches.
SCHOOL LEADERSHIP/INTENSIVE FORMATION:
Discerning Leaders Program
This program aims to help selected educators from across the District of San Francisco New Orleans to discern their talent, interest, and aptitude to serve as a principal or president for one of the secondary schools of the District. Three cohorts have been facilitated.
District Chief Administrators Association (formerly SSAA)
The presidents and principals of the middle and secondary schools of the District of San Francisco New Orleans meet two times a year to share challenges and insights, to promote professional and spiritual enrichment, and to advance District-wide initiatives on behalf of the Lasallian mission. The winter meeting is in conjunction with the annual Regional LASSCA gathering.
Local Leadership Initiatives
The Office of Education helps to develop leaders throughout the District through the regular inclusion of local people in the planning and facilitation of local and district workshops, retreats, and other programs. The 2010 District Assembly on Mission is a good example of this initiative. The Assembly involved more than 75 individuals representing every District apostolate in establishing the direction of the District’s mission for the next four years. District Education Workshops are another example. All participants in a District Education Workshop are included in the initial planning, and some also facilitate workshop sessions
RELIGIOUS EDUCATION/CAMPUS MINISTRY:
Campus Ministry and Student Activities Annual Gathering
The Directors of Campus Ministry and Student Activities gather annually for formation activities, retreat, and opportunities to discuss themes, trends, and issues relevant to their respective areas of campus life. These two key areas of campus life continue to foster a sense of collaborative ministry and explore common areas of interest that advance the overall goals of co-curricular and youth ministry activities.
Christian Service-Learning is a method of teaching that enriches learning through the integration of Christian Service in curricular and co-curricular programs. The Office of Education provides a number of resources and training opportunities in Christian Service-Learning to all District works.
Schools in the District of San Francisco New Orleans participate in the Twinning Schools Program sponsored by Christian Brothers Conference. Each school in the District of San Francisco New Orleans is twinned with a school or ministry in the Lwanga District (Africa). Since 1999, schools and works in the District have contributed funds to assist the works of the Lwanga District. This program provides a unique opportunity for mission education of our students, service-learning, curriculum opportunities, and cultural understanding throughout the Lasallian world.
Vandu Paaru: Immersions to India/Sri Lanka/Myanmar
Since the summer of 1999, the Office of Education has coordinated month-long immersion experiences in India, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. These projects provide educators with the opportunity to experience the Lasallian mission in the third world as well as to provide fundamental services to our brothers and sisters involved in Lasallian ministries.
Vocation Coordinators Gatherings
Vocation Coordinators, representing the schools and Communities, meet annually for formation activities and to plan programs. The Director of Lasallian Student Programs conducts an annual spring visit with each school’s Vocation Coordinator in order to assist in evaluating programs and to gather ideas for the fall meeting. Vocation materials are also made available at www.brothersvocation.org.
The Office of Education has led in the development of educational resources around the Lasallian mission in RELAN. Many of these resources have been designed for ease of use with educational communities in workshops and other types of educational programs. These resources, including workshop outlines, retreat models, prayer services, video productions, and PowerPoint presentations, are available from the Office of Education free of charge. The Office also assists each institution in the District to establish a basic library of Lasallian print and non-print resources for students and educators.
Assessments & Planning
Lasallian Catholic Assessment Process (LCAP)
The Lasallian Catholic Assessment Process (LCAP) is an internal/external review process conducted by a school, together with a visiting team of Lasallian educators, that focuses on supporting and strengthening the school’s Lasallian Catholic identity by assessing the overall effectiveness of its programs, practices, and culture in light of core principles of Lasallian schools. LCAP takes place once every six years at each District middle school and high school.
Religious Studies Program Assessment
Since 1997, the Office of Education has provided evaluation and consultation services to the Religious Studies programs in the secondary schools in the western states of the District of San Francisco New Orleans. These services have helped the schools to consider critically such issues as Religious Studies scope and sequence, the District Standards for Religious Studies, teacher training and education, and the effectiveness of the Religious Studies Program in addressing the needs of the students in each school. The Religious Studies Program in each school has been evaluated once every six years. This assessment will be evaluated during the 2014-2015 school year.
Boards of Trustees
Association of Board Chairs
Two times annually, the Chairpersons of all the Boards of Trustees gather for leadership development. This is an opportunity for Board chairs to discuss common issues, share best practices, and improve their skills in the areas of agenda development, board formation, monitoring CEO performance, policy writing, recruitment, and board evaluation.
Board Secretary Training
As needed, the Secretaries of all the Boards gather at Mont La Salle to discuss their roles in the further development of a Lasallian Board, development of Board agenda, the appropriate dispersal of meeting materials, and how to handle the LEC/LLEC approval process.
Policy Governance Training and Development
The Office of Education is committed to assisting the schools with excellence in governance. The Office of Education is available to work locally with Boards of Trustees on policy development, CEO evaluations, monitoring board evaluations, and other areas and issues related to Policy Governance.
Boards of Trustees have responsibility of governing for mission. In order to assist boards in their own formation of mission, the Office of Education provides a variety of Lasallian formation resources for boards. Board Development Workshops are held four times each year to orient potential new trustees to Lasallian mission and to the Policy Governance Process©. Print, video, and prayer resources are also furnished to every Board.
A number of resources have been developed to assist Board Chairs, Presidents, and Board Secretaries with their respective tasks as related to governance and Policy Governance in particular. Some of these include: Board Chair Procedural Manual, resolution templates, sample monitoring reports, sample employment agreements, and other record keeping and policy development tools. A website for the Board members, Board Chairs, Presidents, and Board secretaries provides them easy and current access to all Board resources.