B. School Organization
The relationship between the Diocese of Orange (the ownership body) and Rosary Academy is strong. The Diocese takes on the comprehensive process of searching for and hiring the school’s top leadership position, the head of school, (Head of School Announcement, Diocesan Evaluation Form), and the Diocese supports our important goals of growing enrollment and strengthening community outreach. While there is room to improve our school organizational structures, the community—led by the Diocese—is supportive and positive about Rosary Academy's future. Although we have faced several challenges in the last ten years with respect to our organization, recent positive steps include the naming of an experienced administrator as head of school in summer 2017; an institutional re-branding and refocused outreach; and the adding or refurbishing campus spaces including the Learning and Enrichment Center.
Rosary Academy is governed by the Diocese of Orange from the office of the superintendent of schools. There is no governing board, but there are several groups within the community that serve the school. The Parent Council supports the school primarily in the areas of event planning, fundraising, and volunteering. The Parent Council is not governing or consultative; it exists for the sharing of information. The Alumnae Association has been re-established as of late summer 2017 after a several-year hiatus. In the past, both a Consultative Board and a Finance Board have been used by school leaders to help guide decision-making, and recently, a Consultative Board was reestablished to assist Rosary Academy in its mission of providing its students with a premiere Catholic education.
Instructional personnel are highly qualified and are required to participate in continuous professional growth (Faculty Degree and Credential Information, Professional Development Conference List). Teachers are committed to their professional development and must complete 75 hours of professional development over a three-year period. So far, nearly every Rosary Academy faculty member has received more training in their subject areas for the 2017-2018 school year. Faculty vacancies are filled as needed through the collaboration of human resources, administration, and department heads. All teachers are evaluated annually by administrators, department chairs (Faculty Evaluation Form and Department Evaluation Form), and the mentor teacher (new teachers -90 Day Evaluation Form). All support staff hired is interviewed and vetted for prior experience in their position; in addition, they undergo background checks to ensure they meet the expectations of the school’s mission and vision (Hiring and Onboarding Checklist).
As of fall semester 2017, the new head of school has added director positions to supervise a.) curriculum and instruction, and b.) teacher mentoring. Recent leadership teams have strengthened teacher and staff training; evaluation and accountability; and consistency of procedures. The November 2017 instructional inservice, held at Rosary Academy allowed teachers to experience the benefits of the Professional Learning Community (PLC) format. Based on the success of the event, Rosary Academy will continue to participate in a modified PLC, which will improve all aspects of academics at Rosary. The Rosary community of alumnae, encore parents, current parents, and friends has been constant and visible in their support of the school’s educational mission. Rosary continues to improve in its religious and educational objectives due to the willingness of all stakeholders to focus on the mission of developing faith-filled, high-achieving Rosary Academy graduates.
The Rosary Academy faculty is composed of educated, highly qualified instructional personnel, all of whom have credentials, certificates, and/or advanced degrees in their fields. In order to create positive and welcoming learning environments, faculty and departments embrace progressive teaching methods in their disciplines. The decision two years ago to require teachers to take on a “full load” of six classes (rather than five) has been challenging, both in terms of classroom quality and teacher retention. However, the additions of the Learning Enrichment Center and the Center for Learning and their staff members before the 2016-17 school year have benefited the entire student body, differentiated learners, and instructional personnel. Faculty evaluation procedures have been refined in recent years, and the teachers have responded positively to the additional input and the strengthening of their professional growth opportunities.
Support staff and on- and off-campus athletic staff are vital in helping students achieve the Rosary Academy mission. Our school leadership has improved professional development opportunities for staff, and training and evaluations have become more effective, in spite of changes to schedule and procedure over the past several years. All staff positions—including coaches—have recently been thoroughly defined and described, and are therefore more effectively performed.
The evolving organizational structure is cited as an exciting opportunity in the Rosary Academy community. We are confident that the new leadership in place will provide the long-term direction necessary to enhance our program offerings and grow our student population.