Montana Catholic Schools Weekly

March 21, 2016

Why Aren't Hispanic Families Enrolling?

A little over a week, the Roche Center at Boston College released a report entitled, “Catholic Schools in an Increasingly Hispanic Church.” The report produces stunning numbers. For example, of the 14.6 million school-age Catholics, 13.69% attend a Catholic school. However, almost 55% of that number are Hispanics (8 million). Only 300 thousand Hispanic Catholics attend Catholic schools (3.75%). Which means that approximately 25% of the non-Hispanic Catholic population attends Catholic schools.


This means that the market for Catholic schools is wide open. Consider 75% of the non-Hispanic Catholic population; consider 97% of the growing Hispanic Catholic population; even consider the non-Catholic population.


But let’s pause for a second. If 97% of a company’s target market is not buying, we need to ask why. It can’t simply be money. What if Catholic schools were tuition-free? Would they be full? I read the article "Resiliency Ruined by Routine" about Howard Johnson's restaurants and I wonder if we aren't carrying out our routines in the face of evidence that we aren't meeting the needs of our market.


A couple of weeks ago I spent some time at a fantastic Catholic school where 95% of the school’s population is Hispanic. However, the pastor estimated that only 5% of his parish’s student population was attending the Catholic school. Why? It wasn’t all about the money, he said. It’s partly about the value the families place on it as well as the welcome they feel (or don’t feel).


I doubt there’s one answer which applies to all schools. But all schools better figure out why in their context Catholic families are not signing up—especially the growing number of Hispanic families.


My Montana readers might be saying, “This doesn’t really apply to us.” Yes, with only a 3% estimated Hispanic population, the size of the group might not be significant for your school. We should set out to make our schools more relevant and understand the messages we convey.


Dr. Tim Uhl, Superintendent

The Week Ahead

Sunday: drive to Billings

Monday: St. Labre HS mid-term visit

Tuesday: Regional principal meeting at Butte Central HS

Wednesday: visit to St. Andrew's; meeting with Bp Thomas; Missoula Adv Council

Thursday: office (Helena)

Friday: office (Helena)


This week: 1,041 driving miles

Last week: 1,272 driving miles

2015-16: 20,784 driving miles; 10,151 air miles

What I'm Reading in 2016

  1. The Heart of Change: Real-Life Stories of How People Change Their Organizations by John P. Kotter (underway)
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (underway)
  3. Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen (finished)
  4. Motion Leadership by Michael Fullan (finished)
  5. The Laws of Simplicity by John Maeda (finished)
  6. It's Your Ship: Management Techniques from the Best Damn Ship in the Navy by Captain D. Michael Abrashoff (finished)
  7. Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip & Greg Heath (finished)
  8. Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeon (finished)
  9. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (finished)
  10. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (finished)
  11. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (finished)
  12. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (finished)

Montana Catholic Schools

Serving 3800+ students in 24 Catholic schools across the Treasure State

For Principals

  1. March regional meetings--March 22nd at Butte Central HS. All meetings will start at 10 am and lunch will be provided by the hosts. Please RSVP to the hosts

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