Mississippi Catholic

B y a shley G lirBas JACKSON – The Diocese of Jackson’s Office of Catholic Education has led our Catholic schools in a two-year journey of system-wide accreditation that cul- minated with the announcement that the Catholic Diocese of Jackson is accredited by Cognia™ formerly known as AdvancEd/Southern Asso- ciation of Colleges and Schools. This means that the Diocese, as a system of schools, is being recognized for its quality and continuous improvement as a result of internal and external analyses. Catherine Cook, the Super- intendent of Education, expressed optimism about how this process allows the schools to witness the di- ocese’s dedication to the pursuit of excellence and receptiveness to in- put from all stakeholders. “Cognia System Accreditation is a rigorous process that focuses the entire school system and its com- munity on the primary goal of pre- paring lifelong learners in engaging environments where all students can flourish. The Catholic Diocese of Jackson is to be commended for demonstrating that it has met high standards, is making progress on key indicators that impact student learning,” affirmed Cog- nia’s CEO and President, Dr. Mark A. Elgart. Stephanie Brown, the Assistant Superintendent for the Office of Education, coordinated the accreditation process and has been guiding the school system on the continuous improvement journey. Brown asserted that there are two ways accreditation can be approached. One way is for the principal, along with a small supporting team, to approach the process independently and “hope for the best.” However, the second approach, which the assistant superintendent acknowledged to be ideal, is for the organization to engage in honest self-evaluation, let all opinions be heard and make surveys and other oppor- tunities for involvement as accessible as possible. The Of- fice of Education has implemented the latter approach, seeking to allow objective data to flow from the schools, so that the diocese can offer fitting support. The Office of Education has used tools provided by Cognia, such as surveys and diagnostic analyses. These include premade assessments, which Brown has found helpful, because she has been able to compare the results to national averages. Cook mentioned that they made sure to include some “open-ended” questions to accom- modate the uniqueness of each school. Brown shared that the schools have also been implementing a class- room observation tool to assess how children are learn- ing and a strategic planning tool for establishing desired outcomes and timelines. The reports help establish pre- cise goals and methods for improvement. Brown noted that the education office has been careful to recognize the diversity of the students, who ultimately form unique schools. Balancing flexibility and structure have been JACKSON – When Bishop John Joseph Chanche ar- rived in the newly formed Diocese of Natchez in May of 1841, there were no Catholic churches, only a couple of missionary priests, and his flock was far flung. He rose to the challenge and laid the foundation for the Diocese of Jackson. The diocese honors his legacy and thanks those who continue to build on his foundation with the Bishop Chanche medal for service. This year, Bishop Joseph Kopacz gave 20 adults and 15 young people their medals on Saturday, Feb. 22, at the Cathedral of St. Peter the Apostle Jackson. The faith- ful from around the diocese traveled to celebrate the 2020 recipients, including several past Bishop Chance medal recipients. After presenting each with a certificate and medal, Bishop Kopacz blessed the group saying, "Bless these in- dividuals today, and confer upon them the gifts of your Spirit that they may remain humble in heart as they serve the household of the church." Brief words on each recipient can be found on page 10 and 11, taken from the Bishop Chanche nomination forms. May this offer a glimpse into the men and women who serve the Church today. Parishoners receive Bishop Chanche Medals for service and dedication to diocese MARCH 6, 2020 mississippicatholic.com Two-year journey for Catholic school ends with system-wide accreditation – Continued on page 6 – Lenten message 7 Pope Francis releases Lent- en message INSIDE THISWEEK Day of Re ection 13 Carmelite Seculars host "Into the Desert" re ection Youth at DCYC 14 Photos from DCYC in Vicksburg JACKSON – New certificates will arrive soon for Catholic schools throughout the diocese to show the Office of Education's system-wide accreditation by Cognia System Accreditation. (Photo by Tereza Ma) JACKSON – Adults and youth receive a round of applause after receiving a Bishop Chanche medal for service. (Photo by Joanna Puddister King)