Philadelphia archdiocese creates new Catholic high school system

Philadelphia, Pa., Aug 21, 2012 / 09:17 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Philadelphia unveiled a new school system this morning that will be run by an independent Catholic foundation and will serve the archdiocese's high schools and special education programs.

“Today's agreement between the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the Faith in the Future Foundation is unlike any agreement that a diocese has achieved with its lay leadership,” Archbishop Charles J. Chaput said at an Aug. 21 press conference.

“The willingness of lay leaders with a love for Catholic education to step forward is encouraging. The commitment made by the Foundation—a commitment to professional excellence in management, guided by a strong and faithful Catholic identity—will serve our high schools and schools of special education well,” he added.

Archbishop Chaput announced that the archdiocese will pair up with the Faith in the Future Foundation as part of a renewal of the archdiocesan schools, which have been struggling in recent years.

Under the new arrangement, the Faith in the Future Foundation, headed by former Chairman and CEO of CIGNA Corporation Edward Hanway, will oversee daily management responsibilities of 17 Catholic high schools and four special education schools.

In this way, the archdiocese will be able to better utilize the expertise of members of the laity, such as Hanway, in promoting growth in Catholic schools, specifically in the areas of marketing and improving admissions.

The foundation has been working closely with the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, but today's announcement marks the official beginning of the partnership.

Now, the archdiocesan office of education will fall under the direction of Hanway and his organization, which will work to improve admissions, development and marketing of the Philadelphia Catholic schools.

The foundation was created in February 2012 after recommendations were made for the closure of several schools in the area, following a report from the Blue Ribbon Commission on Catholic Education.

Although the report suggested the closure of many schools, Archbishop Chaput allowed four high schools to remain open, as long as changes were made in regards to the relationship with the schools and the broader community.

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