The Healey Education Foundation awarded Boston College’s Roche Center for Catholic Education a $2.5 million grant, along with resources to establish a preK-12 Catholic school board training program. The grant will be dispersed over five years, providing the center roughly $500,000 per year.
“We were really excited and enthused to be able to expand our leadership formation offerings in partnership with [the Healey Education Foundation] because it will allow for there to be a deeper, more meaningful opportunity to impact Catholic schools,” said Melodie Wyttenbach, executive director of the Roche Center.
The Roche Center for Catholic Education was established by the BC Board of Trustees in 2007. The center aims to strengthen and support Catholic schools by offering professional development and other leadership opportunities, according to Wyttenbach.
The Healey Education Foundation works to increase sustainability in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 Catholic schools by awarding grants and establishing school boards, according to Megan Famular, vice president of the Healey Foundation.
Famular said the foundation had looked into working with a higher education institution that serves schools and students across the country, and it discovered BC’s Roche Center had a similar mission.
“The Roche Center certainly has a great tradition and history of forming school leaders,” Famular said. “And so this felt like a really logical step to take some of what our foundation had been doing and some of what the Roche Center had been doing and kind of merging and marrying those two things together.”
According to Wyttenbach, the Roche Center will launch an Executive Leadership Academy at BC this fall, where principals and leaders of Catholic preK-12 schools can gather to discuss the development of the Catholic education system.
“It will be a year-long program where we offer executive coaching one-on-one, we offer small professional learning communities, conversations around topics like management of boards, things like development for Catholic schools, so there’ll be a host of different topics that they engage in every month,” Wyttenbach said.
The Roche Center will also utilize the grant to launch a Catholic School Board Institute, Wyttenbach said.
“The target audience for [the institute] is more individuals who are board members, and also school leaders who are looking to form board members, so that they can understand their functions or responsibilities and understand kind of how to think strategically as board members serving Catholic schools,” Wyttenbach said.
Famular said another goal of the Healey Education Foundation is to provide online learning modules and virtual coaching opportunities for school principals and leaders.
“There will be these online courses people are logging into, where they’re getting a lot of training materials, documents, resources,”Famular said. “They’ll be watching videos of how to build each of the committees of a board or how to improve each of the committees of the board. But then they’ll also be doing these live classes and these coaching sessions where they’re able to talk through some of the things that they’re experiencing in their individual school.”
The Roche Center hopes to continue strengthening Catholic schools by training school leaders and board members with the Healey Education Foundation’s support, Wyttenbach said.
“We’ve been very fortunate in being able to reach more schools, reach more leaders, and our hope is that we can continue to do the same with this grant and in the future, such that our Catholic schools are stronger, that they feel well supported, and that they are transforming the lives of the students and families that they’re blessed to serve,” Wyttenbach said.