St. Mary’s School Strategic Plan 2024

St. Mary’s School and Parish prepares for the world the next generation of saints, scholars, and leaders through a Christ centered family-oriented atmosphere that focuses on educating the whole child to reach their full potential through research-based academics, technology infused instruction, the nurturing of social/emotional learning and the spiritual growth of individual students. We believe in the power of prayer, the importance of character, in rigorous and relevant academics and in exceptional
extracurricular opportunities.

Our Mission

The St. Mary’s School students, families, teachers, and parish are united to provide a Catholic education in a Christ-centered environment, dedicated to academic excellence and promoting truth and charity in service to God and others.

Our Vision

Guided by our Catholic tradition and Christian values, Saint Mary’s School will be recognized as the model of excellence in developing the whole person spiritually, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically for this world and eternity.

Core Values

The St. Mary’s School Community holds the following Core Values as essential to the mission of St. Mary’s School:

I. Recognizing the Dignity of every Human Person
We respect every person knowing that God made each one in His image and likeness. Every person is worthy of great respect. We care for each member of our community and promote teamwork.

II. Searching for Truth and Wisdom
We work hard at all that we do, striving to achieve excellence in all we do. We pursue truth and wisdom in all our endeavors. We work at developing the gifts God has given us.

III. Becoming Lifelong Disciples
We are grateful for the gift of faith that God has given us. We seek to grow daily in our knowledge and love of God, to live our faith, to follow God, and to share His love with all those with whom we come in

IV. Striving always for Integrity
We seek to live virtuously, doing what is right because it is what God wants of His children. We accept responsibility for our actions and serve as role models for others.

Strategic Areas

The following strategic areas represent future states that must be achieved to realize our vision. They are supported by a number of broad goals that will help to address those areas. Ultimately this strategic framework will serve as the basis for specific actions to be incorporated into implementation plans.

Area 1: Vibrant Faith Filled Community – St Mary’s School Community is committed to forming intentional Disciples of Jesus Christ through the teaching and traditions of the Catholic Church.  Saint Mary’s School is committed to ensuring the Catholic identity of the school reflects our mission, vision and our call to discipleship. St. Mary’s School will intentionally provide opportunities for liturgy and prayer, and to further develop the quality of our religious education program. The school will foster positive and collaborative school-parish partnerships, and challenge our community to “make a

Goal 1: SMS will increase understanding and appreciation of our Catholic heritage, faith traditions and Gospel values throughout the school community.

Action: Sustain the presence and active participation of priests, clergy and religious who provide evangelizing witness in their leadership of student activities (examples: campus prayer walk, Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, vocation discernment).

Action: Teach, encourage and promote full participation of the school community in the Mass, as well as Parish ministries, programs and activities.

Action: Provide opportunities for parents to gain knowledge and skills to enhance the spiritual formation of their children.

Action: Create retreat opportunities for families and students.

Goal 2: Vibrantly live out the Catholic faith, forming students as missionary disciples with a life-long commitment to joyful discipleship.

Action: Implement our core values through a deepening of faith formation initiatives (such as regular prayer, worship spaces, inter-disciplinary religious teaching, etc.).

Action: Develop teachers who are well-formed in the faith who complement and empower
parents as the primary faith educators of their children.

Action: Institute age-appropriate instruction regarding the Theology of the Body.

Action: Establish student servant leadership opportunities for middle schoolers to model discipleship, love and respect.

Area 2: Exceptional Learning Environment – To provide an excellent learning environment for all students founded on Jesus’ love for us and our love for Him.  Saint Mary’s School is dedicated to providing the highest quality educational experience for all who desire it, founded on Jesus’ love for us and our love for Him striving to develop the whole person:  spiritually, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically for this world and eternity.

Goal 1: St. Mary’s will recruit and retain passionate, dedicated teachers, who are focused on the students and setting them up for success.

Action: Assess professional development needs based on data from IOWA Tests, iWalk, teacher observations, and other data and provide additional funds for professional development.

Action: Strive to have attractive and competitive compensation and benefits package, including tuition breaks for faculty and staff.

Action: Increase staffing to meet needs of students, faculty and staff:

  • Increase number of days the school counselor is present to enhance the guidance curriculum, to address the personal and social development of students, and to assist students in unlocking their full God-given talents.
  • Assess needs/ability to hire a school nurse, additional teacher aides, English as a Second Language teachers, Special Needs teachers, Speech, full time Assistant Principal.
  • Increase substitute pool and investigate a simpler way of securing a sub.

Action: Assess needs of each student and develop a plan for meeting each one’s needs. Monitor and review the plans throughout the year.

Goal 2: Continuously improve academics and incorporate proven methods and standards.

Action: Enrich the curriculum and parallel instructions creating greater depth of knowledge of subject material, exceed Diocesan and State standards, include critical thinking, experiential field trips, STREAM (science, technology, religion, engineering, art, and math), and problem based learning in each grade level, while teaching digital citizenship.

Action: Provide broad-based learning opportunities, implemented through effective instruction methods to meet the diverse academic needs of students.

Action: Continuously support each individual child to discover their unique talents and abilities to encourage them to become the best version of themselves.

Action: Continually research educational technology with the goal of implementing what will truly help students. Research the best technological tools for students, and implement them.

Goal 3: Maintain and develop Fine Arts, Physical Education, and extra-curricular offerings to help students develop spiritually, intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically.

Action: Ensure that the Fine Arts curriculum exposes students to a wide variety of expression
within each field.

Action: Develop and maintain a high quality Physical Education program, including adherence to Tennessee Physical Education standards, utilization of equipment, variety of units, scaffolded instruction, and the use of benchmarks.

Action: Plan sport units to be covered ahead of season to serve as a feeder to the athletic teams.

Action: Develop an implementation plan to pay coaches a stipend for the sports teams they coach.

Action: Encourage faculty, staff, parents, and community members to share their talents with students by coaching or moderating clubs.

Goal 4: Provide more resources to better serve the Hispanic community and other limited-English

Action: Translate current handbooks, Blue Notes, Parent Alert Messages, and other documents
into Spanish.

Action: Have parent meetings in Spanish or have a translator present. Provide orientation of the school, the school information tool (Facts®), and volunteering opportunities in Spanish.

Goal 5: Pursue local and national recognition for the students and the school.

Action: Enter local and national competitions: Spelling and Geography Bees, contests such as essay, poster, art, music, Duke Talent Identification Program, and offer scholarships for those in need to participate.

Action: Encourage students who qualify to participate in the Duke TIP program

Action: Apply for recognition as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.

Area 3: Stakeholders, Community and Families – The St. Mary’s School Community will become a more dynamic family of engaged and informed supporters, feeling confident and committed to championing the school’s mission and vision.

Goal 1: To develop, maintain and nurture strong partnerships with the St. Mary’s school families, parish, and extended community in support of the St. Mary’s mission and vision.

Action: Actively engage in local networking opportunities, including but not limited to; Oak Ridge and Knoxville Chamber, City of Oak Ridge and Anderson County, local business events.

Action: Create a Business and Community Visitation Team focused around growing awareness and relationships in and around Oak Ridge.

Action: Craft and execute a branded and cohesive Communications and Marketing plan.

Action: Create an updated, thorough and correct list of alumni and relevant community and business contacts to be entered into DonorPerfect® for continued updating and maintenance.

Action: Add staff support around development, communications, programming and marketing needs.

Action: Add better structure and staff support around the Home and School Association and School Board.

Action: Encourage families to offer time, talent and treasure towards the mission of the school.

Area 4: Infrastructure & Technology – St. Mary’s School will develop and maintain the facilities, equipment and a technology plan that is designed to continue support of the implementation of the St. Mary’s School mission.

Goal 1: Maintain overall security measures to school building while continually assessing student safety on campus.

Action: Annually perform an independent safety and security review with prioritized action recommendations to the board.

Goal 2: Update and upgrade indoor and outdoor facilities to ensure a comfortable environment for students to learn and grow.

Action: Assess existing equipment and facilities to accomplish our mission and provide an infrastructure plan with recommended prioritized actions annually.

Goal 3: Adopt and embrace a comprehensive framework for integrating today’s technology into the innovative education for SMS students and families.

Action: Prepare a technology roadmap to provide advanced learning opportunities through technology. The roadmap will provide an evaluation of the current state and prioritized recommendations to achieve our innovative education goals and mission.

Area 5: Resources, Financial Sustainability – To obtain and manage the financial resources necessary to effectively fulfill our mission and magnificently realize our vision.

Saint Mary’s School is committed to provide the best Catholic education possible to all those who seek it. We must ensure that we have a stable and sustainable financial future to meet our goal to develop the whole person in a Christ-centered environment; with the finest teachers, in well-equipped facilities, utilizing the latest technology and with engaged stakeholders.

Goal 1: Update and execute a St. Mary’s School 5 year business and operating plan.

Action: Build a stable financial plan and approach which includes an updated budget and St. Mary’s School giving campaign plan.

Goal 2: Prepare and execute a Capital Campaign with financial goals as outlined in the feasibility study.

Action: Update and improve our alumni coordination program.

Action: Construct an efficient and effective grant writing program.

Action: Improve the donor recognition program.

Action: Institute a benefactor’s endowment opportunity program.

Action: Establish a well-constructed and thoughtful St. Mary’s School Capital Campaign communication strategy.

When people hear “St. Mary’s School” they will think, “Close-knit, family-oriented, Blue Ribbon Catholic School with a challenging curriculum, outstanding teachers, involved parents, and a supportive parish – I want my child to go to school there.” Visitors will feel welcomed; alumni will maintain ties and will be ambassadors for the school long after they graduate, and local businesses will support the school. The school will have the funds necessary to operate within its budget, provide tuition assistance to those in need, and enrich and enhance programs and activities.

Thank you in advance for your support as we all work together to meet the challenge of Pope Francis to “realize our dreams” for the school and students. With God’s help, we can create a better world for future generations. In the years to come, St. Mary’s School will continue to be recognized as a school that stands apart, one in which our school, parish and local communities are proud and actively
involved. I have great hope for the future of our school, and I invite you to be a part of Saint Mary’s School… Where the Journey Matters.

Sister Marie Blanchette and the Strategic Planning Committee

This Strategic Plan was approved by St. Mary’s Parish Pastoral Council on April 23, 2019