Office for Schools

Diocese of San Diego – September 2015


Dear Catholic School Friends,

If you follow Pope Francis on Twitter, you would have read his most recent tweet: “I ask you to join me in praying for my trip to Cuba and the United States. I need your prayers.” The Holy Father reminds us continually to pray in order to keep Christ at the center of our lives and work. He is an example to each of us in our role as Catholic educational leaders to embrace the joy of the Gospel in our ministry to students, parents and colleagues.

It is with that same joy that the OFS Team looks forward to working in partnership with you this year to grow the ministry of Catholic education in our diocese. In our most recent general principals’ meeting, OFS explained the restructure of our duties and responsibilities to meet your needs more efficiently, effectively and expeditiously. To review, our office redesign will look as follows:

John Galvan, Director: Enrollment Growth

  • Focus on advancement, access and & affordability / Direct contact for North County & South Bay Clusters and all High Schools

Julie Cantillon, Associate Director: Student Achievement Growth

  • Focus on teacher and instructional development / Direct contact for City Beach & Imperial Valley Clusters

Matthew Cordes, Associate Director: Student Achievement Growth

  • Focus on principal and leadership development / Direct contact for East County & San Diego City Cluster

Steve Stutz has assumed a new position this year as Administrator of FIAT Schools with an office at the Pastoral Center, and in this capacity, he will also operate in a supportive role to OFS. This will be a tremendous help in our desire to build greater internal capacity. Our Administrative Assistant, Aubrey Hodges, will continue in her ongoing role of total organizational support.

Getting our arms around our collective capacity with greater intentionality is the work of “church” by any other name. We work smarter by working together. In looking anew at our structures, assessments and various supports to our schools, the chart below this message was shared and explained at our general principals’ meeting as a way of providing a visual framework for the direction OFS is headed to improve its overall service.

We are thrilled to continue to grow in our partnership with you for the good of our Catholic school children!

Finally, Pope Francis has given us more than just a general request to pray. With the opening of the World Meeting of Families, the Holy Father has given us a specific prayer to use with the families we are called to serve:

God and Father of us all,

in Jesus, your Son and our Savior,

you have made us

your sons and daughters

in the family of the Church.

May your grace and love

help our families

in every part of the world

be united to one another

in fidelity to the Gospel.

May the example of the Holy Family,

with the aid of your Holy Spirit,

guide all families, especially those most troubled,

to be homes of communion and prayer

and to always seek your truth and live in your love.

Through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

pray for us!

The Office for Schools Team encourages you to use this prayer with your school families this year. Prayer is what grounds, motivates, sustains and ultimately unites us. Be encouraged that you remain united in our prayers for the vital classroom and administrative leadership you provide for our Catholic schools.

In Mission,

John & the OFS Team

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Did you know...

  • the results of the STEM Rokenbok study have been published? Please see Dr. John Franey's Executive Summary below.
  • there are SO many FREE professional development opportunities - including Webinars? See below.
  • we are expecting between 8,000-12,000 attendees at this year's NCEA convention? We are the host diocese! It will be held at the San Diego Convention Center (March 29-31).
  • the next EdCamp will be held in Escondido on October 3? This is a FREE "unconference" and we hope to see many of our diocesan educators there!

Professional Development Calendar (Check it out! Many FREE Webinars!)

Articles/Resources to check out in our Google Drive:

Celebrating Our Catholic Schools

2nd Beginning Teacher Meeting

Mrs. Theresa Coyle, Mrs. Jackie Wick, and I enjoyed meeting once again with our beginning teachers. Below you will see photos of the "Carousel" brainstorming activity as well as the "Onion" questioning technique.

Dr. Franey's Executive Summary of STEM in the Diocese of San Diego

We have SO many PD opportunities - most are free and not during school hours!

Other Important News

One Year Anniversary Mass for Bishop Cirilo Flores

International Baccalaureate Program

One of our current Catholic school parents, Erin Lipka, recently taught at a Catholic school in Florida that participated in the International Baccalaureate program. If you would like more information, please contact Erin and see her presentation below:


Join us for NCEA 2016 in San Diego!

OFS Twitter Account

The Office for Schools has created an office twitter account. Our twitter handle is @dioceseSDschools. We created this account for three reasons.

  • The first is to create another way to communicate to our teachers, administrators, and parents.

  • The second reason is to share the amazing things that you are doing in your schools. Others can see our students, classes, and schools doing extraordinary projects, serving, praying and worshiping. We want a way to share these experiences and to promote our schools.

  • Finally, our Diocese was challenged by Brother Robert Bimonte, President of the National Catholic Educational Association, to #WalkWithFrancis in honor of the Pope's visit to the United States. The Walk with Francis Challenge is a call to serve by reaching out and caring for those in need and supporting charitable efforts in our communities and beyond. The Office for Schools is equally challenging each school to take the #WalkWithFrancis pledge and share their journey with us on Twitter. For more information on walking with Francis go to

STAR Assessment NEW Updates

Renaissance STAR Testing Information

New URL:

Now that our switch has officially happened for all schools, every diocesan school will use the following URL to access all of their Renaissance products:

(Please note that your old URL will no longer work to access your products.)

Set Up:

If you need help setting up your Renaissance testing please access the “Steps to complete BEFORE administering STAR” document in the Google Drive. For all other questions, please contact your personal STAR coach.

Professional Development:

Renaissance has created a digital professional development platform called Renaissance U. Renaissance U provides tutorial videos, guides, and other resources that will increase the impact of STAR in your classroom. Finally, each site has a coach provided by the company to give live support over the first year of implementation. This coach will help with implementation, administration, data analysis, and using STAR to drive individualized instruction in your school. This coach is available by phone, e-mail, or video conferences. This coach will be your main support for your schools implementation of STAR.

Diocesan Testing Window:

The three STAR testing windows this year will be November 9th-20th, February 8th-19th, and May 16th-27th. You will have access to administer the tests anytime throughout the year but are required to test during each testing period for math and reading.


WCEA/WASC NOTE: Hard copies of interest forms will NOT be sent to your schools this year. Please complete this form in the electronic version below. Thank you!

Click here to complete an interest form for serving on a 2015-2016 WCEA/WASC team.

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.