Cathedral School, Superior, has earned its accreditation through a new process, the first Catholic school in the diocese to do so.
The school is in compliance with Wisconsin Religious and Independent Schools Accreditation educational standards, the organization announced in January.
“We applaud the accomplishments of the Cathedral School community and its commitment to ongoing school improvement and high standards of excellence,” said Beatrice Weiland, WRISA’s executive director.
To earn accreditation, schools must complete a comprehensive yearlong self-study and examine every aspect of their educational program. The following year, a team of educators conducts an onsite visit.
The school develops a long-range plan for improvement based on goals and recommendations.
After reviewing these reports, the WRISA board of directors determines the accreditation status of the school.
Accredited schools then enter a seven-year cycle. During that time, they submit annual reports detailing their progress in meeting their goals.
In the sixth year, schools conduct a new self-study. This is followed by another site visit and the submittal of a new long-range plan.
“Every school in the Diocese of Superior is accredited through RISA,” explained Cathedral School Principal Jerry Carr.
However, Cathedral School went through a new, more rigorous process formulated by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee to earn its accreditation.
The new accreditation better aligns the school with the Strategic Management and Development Program, Carr explained.
The 15 diocesan Catholic schools received a four-year, $80,000 SMDP grant in late 2015 to boost their marketing, branding, enrollment and more.
Carr said other diocesan schools are likely to seek accreditation through the process in the future.
Catholic high school
The Diocese of Duluth is in the process of planning a bricks-and-mortar Catholic high school in Duluth, and Cathedral School is simultaneously studying the feasibility of launching a virtual/distance education Catholic high school in Superior.
Our Lady of the Lake, Ashland, revived Catholic high school education in the diocese in 2015 through a partnership with Regis High School, Eau Claire, but the effort only lasted one school year.
However, all the schools benefited from OLL’s undertaking, and St. Francis Solanus, Reserve, utilized the distance/virtual model with Regis for two of its students this school year.
“We learned a lot from that experience,” Carr said.
The principal plans to meet with parents to see whether there is immediate interest in high school-level Catholic education. The Duluth school could take longer to establish, he said.
Editor’s note: The wording in this article was modified Feb. 23.