Office for Schools

Diocese of San Diego ~ August 2016


Dear Catholic School Educators,

Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year! This year’s theme will celebrate and embrace Working Together for a Better Way Forward. It is our hope and our expectation that we continue to build a collaborative culture of “working together for a better way forward” with you and our parents for the good of our Catholic school students.

To kick off the new school year, this week the Office for Schools is hosting three consecutive days of faith and professional development for our Catholic school teachers and principals. This morning’s group of 100 teachers and principals began their instructional leadership training for curriculum mapping—the diocesan-wide initiative vetted by our Catholic school principals. There is a natural connection between this year’s theme and the curriculum mapping initiative. It’s no coincidence, but rather, providence.

Stay with me on this next piece… If there was a spirituality of curriculum mapping, it may very well begin with a focus on drawing systemic connections and creating more intentional inter-relationality. In our morning reflection prior to the training session, we were reminded of the work of St. Thomas Aquinas, the “Universal Teacher.” During the Scholastic period of the 13th-century, Aquinas’ systematic theological masterpiece Summa Theologica proposed five “proofs” for the existence of God. One proof was the teleological argument for God’s existence, or the argument “by design.” It comes from an essential observation of nature. Instead of the universe being subject to chaos and disorder, there is a grand design in place whereby everything in nature has its proper place and serves its proper function toward some end. The universe, therefore, is contingent upon a Great Designer or Divine Intelligence, because design and purpose is an outcome of intelligence, not chance.

What does that have to do with curriculum mapping? To achieve overall coherence of standards and instructional alignment requires a grasp of the system within which these elements operate. It requires intelligent planning with the end in mind. It requires the deliberate design of parts to the whole. It requires building effective connections. It requires collegial conversation and a culture of collaboration. It requires working together for a better way forward. In the end, we are made in the image of God, the Great Designer.

God bless you for a successful year of designed learning and inspired leadership in the classroom. Remember that we are here to support your good work in this important ministry to our church and our world.

In Mission,

John & the OFS Team

Did You Know...

  • We have kicked off our Diocesan-wide Professional Development Plan? See the agendas for this week's meetings - Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday
  • Over 30 Catholic school principals and teacher leaders attended USD's Leadership Summit in July?
  • We had 18 elementary, middle, and high school teachers take part in our First Annual Summer Book Study - Making Thinking Visible? We collaborated face-to-face and online. Our new Facebook Professional Learning Group (see information below) will focus on the strategies presented in the book.

UPDATED Articles/Resources to check out in our Google Drive:

Celebrating Our Catholic Schools

TWEET of the Month!

We select one Tweet each month that celebrates the happenings in San Diego Catholic education.
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Other Important News

Welcome, New President & Principals!

Please take a moment and get to know our new president and principals in the Diocese of San Diego!

2016-2017 Diocesan Learning Support Teacher Meetings

NEW DIOCESAN BTSA PROGRAM ~Seeking Support Providers and Participating Teachers

New Diocesan Teacher Job-Embedded Induction Program (BTSA) - Stipend for Support Providers


WCEA/WASC NOTE: Hard copies of interest forms will not be sent to your schools. Please complete this form in the electronic version below. We have 10 schools going through the accreditation process this school year. No previous experience serving on an accreditation team is required.

Click here to complete an interest form for serving on a 2016-2017 WCEA/WASC team.

Catechetical Certification Update

STAR 2016-17 Information

In the 2106-17 academic school year the elementary schools in the Diocese of San Diego will be continuing its use of Renaissance STAR for reading and mathematics. The STAR assessment is administered to students in Kindergarten through 8th grade in math and reading. STAR is aligned to the California Common Core State Standards that are used by the elementary schools in the Diocese of San Diego. The assessment is nationally normed and highly respected in the education field.

Contained in the folder is the general guide, a new school year setup guide, parent letters for each testing window, a guide on how to create a parent report, and more resources for the maximization of STAR at your school site. This Google Drive folder will be updated periodically.

Google Drive Link

(NEW PD PORTAL!) We have many Professional Learning opportunities - most are free and not during school hours!

Also, join our new professional learning GROUP on Facebook: SD Catholic Schools Professional Learning Network

Diocese of San Diego Partnerships

American Heart Association - Kudos to Participating Schools!

Shared Office for Schools Google Drive

In this Google Drive you will find resources for our educators and principals. Please send your favorite resources to and I will add them to our Drive. Thank you!

Diocesan Prayer

Lord, Jesus,

through the intercession of our patron saints,

San Diego and Our Lady of Refuge,

we beg you for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit

upon all of us called to be your disciples

and members of your Church.

Bless us to be obedient servants,

as you were obedient

in loving response to the Father’s love,

and to love one another

as you have first loved us.

Bless us with happy marriages and holy families,

with bishops, religious, deacons and priests

to image your presence among us,

and with dedicated lay people,

both married and single,

to be signs of your love in the world.

Help us to embrace

the mission you have entrusted to us,

in lives of fidelity, holiness and compassion.

San Diego, pray for us.

Our Lady of Refuge, pray for us.