St. Clare School

A Reflection about Catholic Schools Week and Our Future

What is National Catholic Schools Week?

Since 1974, National Catholic Schools Week is the annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. It starts the last Sunday in January and runs all week, which in 2022 is January 30 – February 5. The theme for National Catholic Schools Week 2022-2025 is “Catholic Schools: Faith. Excellence. Service.” Schools typically observe the annual celebration week with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, parishioners and community members. Through these events, schools focus on the value Catholic education provides to young people and its contributions to our church, our communities and our nation.

We Pray, Study, and Serve for Our Faith, Family, & Future!

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Discerning a Long-Term Strategic Plan for St. Clare School

January 27, 2023

Dear Members of St. Clare Parish and School Community,

In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus said: “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (NAB. Mt. 19:14). When Jesus said this, the disciples were upset and confused, because in that time, to learn from a trusted rabbi or teacher was a privilege known only to a very few in society. However, from the very beginning, Jesus was insistent that children should have every opportunity to learn about the truth, faith, and goodness of the Kingdom of God.

So how did Catholic Education grow out of a directive from Jesus into the foundational movement and opportunity we have today? Well, to summarize a little bit of history, Catholic Education was creatively pursued by our first Catholic Bishop in the United States, John Carroll in the 1700s. Through his energy, theological guidance, and immense dedication, Catholic Education not only survived political tensions of the time period, but grew to thrive throughout Baltimore, Maryland and eventually beyond. By the time of his death, in 1815, there were multiple colleges, seminaries, and training opportunities for women as well. His efforts laid the foundation for what Catholic Education is today (USCCA, preface 11-12).

By 1848, Wisconsin became a state and saw the efforts of Dutch missionaries near the Little Chute and today, the Outagamie county region. By 1871, the mission work in Little Chute also expanded to the Hollandtown and Wrightstown areas. In just over 50 years, the Catholic mission and establishment of parish communities was rapidly expanding from the east-coast throughout the midwest.

Historically, and still today, St. Clare Parish and its predecessor parishes have always nurtured Catholic Education through its school. Throughout our history, what has always been most special and clear is that we have cared deeply about the Catholic faith, our families, and our children. Catholic Education is a desired feature for this area, and this is evident through our committed families and community participation.

Throughout history the establishment of Parish churches usually included the creation of a school. Catholic Education is at the very heart and soul of the mission of the faith. St. Clare School takes to heart the mission to provide opportunities for a well-rounded education in matters of academics but also the physical, spiritual, and emotional well-being of each child.We do this by striving to be a caring, compassionate, and dedicated school that focuses on the entire family. We seek to build community and nurture discipleship in order to grow the faith and truth about Jesus.

With that being said, it is time to take exciting and creative steps to evaluate the long-term future of St. Clare School and Parish. Our school is lively and in many ways, growing. The Parish and School are stable and we are able to now confidently begin to plan for the future. Metaphorically speaking, we have a plant (our school) which is outgrowing its pot, and we want to tend to this happy situation. In large part, this initiative is responding to our need and desire to continue the growth and expansion we’re currently witnessing at St. Clare School. Additionally, this initiative is responding to the rapid expansion of various residential, local businesses and corporate projects throughout our region.

With a committed team of leadership at both the Parish and School, it is time to define a proactive strategic plan that will take into account our current needs, and look forward to the long-term anticipated needs of our community. Our children deserve the best opportunities in a faith-filled, safe, challenging, and supportive environment. To do this, we need a strategic plan that evaluates the structural, financial, curricular, and overall operational standing of our school.

At the request of the pastor, Fr. Brian, a team has been assembled to consider this strategic planning. The team includes the Diocesan Offices of Catholic Schools and Parish Mission Planning, a team of educators, including Principal, Katie Stanczak, board members, Parish Trustees, and financial leaders. Together, they are collaborating with Parish and School Leadership (Councils and School Advisory Board) to determine various options and possibilities. To discern these options takes a great deal of time, energy, and prayer, but together we are working to understand our options and strategies that will energize Catholic education and the faith in our community for generations to come.

Our Goals:

  1. Develop a 5-10 year strategic plan for the Parish and School.

  2. Conduct a comprehensive community study about needs, interests, and support.

  3. Evaluate the financial needs related to facilities and operational costs.

  4. Continue to keep Catholic Education an essential part of our local community and expand access to more families.

More detailed information forthcoming.


Fr. Brian Wideman, Pastor

Katie Stanczak, Principal

A Note About Registration and Enrollment

Dear St. Clare Families,

I want to thank you for your interest in choosing St. Clare Catholic School as a faith-filled learning hub for your family. Admittedly, the decision can be a big financial factor and commitment for families. I also realize that the Parish and School's decision to modify the tuition model can cause additional questions or need for conversation. Please know that Fr. Brian and I are open to any and all of your questions, feedback, or concerns.

I would also encourage you to elect the tuition model that best fits your conscience and family need or dynamic. While questions and conversations about finances can be stressful, at any time of year, please know that this process is designed to be reflective NOT judgmental. Please be honest and know that we are here to support you as much as possible.


Katie Stanczak