Annunciation Catholic School in south Minneapolis is a recipient of grants to increase enrollment and enhance technology from the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE). Already, it has put those funds to good use. Thanks to the new initiatives made possible by these grants, there’s now “palpable excitement” in the greater community, according to Principal Jennifer Cassidy.
As a result of a CSCOE grant, Annunciation was able to hire a parent enrollment coordinator, Sheila Steichen. This past year, Steichen worked to “radically change our enrollment process,” resulting in a “huge increase in tours and visits,” said Cassidy.
Two particular strategies that have paid dividends include offering specific grants to incoming transfer students as well as offering current families a grant reward for helping to bring a new family to Annunciation. Transfer grants can especially help families who come from public schools, where there are no tuition costs. The “Share the Spirit” referral grants not only bring in new students, but they also increase community engagement and build investment among current families.
CSCOE grant money enabled Annunciation to upgrade classroom computers and software applications. The new hardware, which includes digital learning devices such as laptops and notebooks, increases the mobility and versatility of teachers’ methods, contributing to more efficient modes of learning. The new equipment also allows for greater differentiation in learning, a must for a school like Annunciation, which is growing more diverse in its student population.
Efficiency is key for teachers at Annunciation now more than ever. Just last year, after much deliberation, the school launched the International Baccalaureate (IB) program. IB programming offers huge benefits to schools, but not without significant investment on the part of teachers and administrators to update lesson plans and change teaching approaches. CSCOE tech grant money has enabled Annunciation teachers to be more efficient as they seek to integrate the IB program into the curriculum.
Cassidy said there is a “renewed pride” at Annunciation, thanks in large part to the increased enrollment and advancements in technology. The school is poised for future success as it prepares for a new school year in the fall.