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  • Randy Hodge

Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools Conference a Huge Success

This year, the Michigan Association of Non-Public Schools semi-annual conference returned to an in-person event that was hosted at Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa. The theme for the conference was Resilient Leaders-Vibrant Schools.

The keynote session on Thursday morning was led by Simon Jeynes, Executive Director of Christian Schools Management (CSM). His keynote session was titled the Victory of God. The focus of his talk was on how we, as Christian schools, are living in a unique period of time, and we have a unique opportunity to grow our enrollments and strengthen the viability of our schools. Our school, being truly Christian, gives us the reason and the lived-out faith to demonstrate the Victory of God in our communities, neighborhoods, and regions.

After the keynote session, I chose to stick with Simon throughout the day and attended the morning session titled “Key Financial Indicators.” He said “that student achievement depends on many inputs and that having the necessary resources to ensure quality instruction is the key.”

After lunch, the session was titled “Your Website and Enrollment.” During this session we delved into our school websites. They were reviewed to see if our mission statement was clearly front and center of our website. We reviewed our admissions pages and reviewed how they can be improved. Simon emphasized that our schools needed clear and transparent communication with our school families, stakeholders, and benefactors.

The final Thursday session was titled “The Blasphemy of the Empty Seat.” Simon said “the empty seat is a reproach to us. It is an opportunity for a child lost.” He encouraged us to commit to filling our classrooms and we worked on ideas of how this could be done.

The Friday morning keynote speaker was Mr. Frank Donaldson from the Institute of School and Parish Development (ISPD). Mr. Donaldson challenged us to look at the present state of Catholic and non-public school education. He shared with us fifteen basic truths that ISPD has learned in the past 32 years of working with Catholic schools and parishes throughout the country. He followed this up with 12 steps for schools to prevail and not just survive.

The final session of Friday was titled “Enrollment Management – Understanding Why this is Everyone’s Responsibility” and was led by Mr. Frank Donaldson. This session introduced a visual of 15 checkpoints that clearly show the main areas of concentration for a robust enrollment management effort.

It was a great time to get away and relax. The atmosphere at the Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa was beautiful and the weather cooperated with warm, sunny, fall days. It was great to network with fellow Catholic school administrators and touch base with a few friends from Catholic schools from other dioceses in the State of Michigan that I haven’t seen in a while. Finally, the speakers were some of the best we’ve ever had at the administrators conference. It is definitely a great time to be a Catholic school administrator.

Randy Hodge is the high school principal at St. Patrick School.


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