Catholic School Superintendent Playbook:  A Resource for New Diocesan Superintendents

Like many system-level leaders, you may be moving from a school environment where you are a decision-maker to a world where you are a coach, planner, connector, cheerleader, teammate, and occasionally an EMT! Or perhaps you are already in the central office, but moving into a new leadership role. Whatever professional path you have taken to the superintendency, you have accepted a role akin to the commissioner of the baseball league; you want to help ALL the teams win!

In an effort to prepare you for this new role, current superintendents and leaders of the Boston College / Catapult Learning superintendent professional learning community have put together this playbook which contains:  1) General discussion topics, 2) Topics by key relationship, and 3) Case studies.

Ministry with Young Hispanic Catholics:  Towards a Recipe for Growth and Success

As the number of young Hispanic Catholics grows in every corner of the country, Catholic structures and organizations have been rather slow adjusting to that presence. Are our current structures and organizations for ministry with young Catholics aware, prepared and willing to adjust to meet the spiritual needs of Hispanic young people? Are Catholics ready to create, when necessary, and support new structures and organizations that have the wisdom and commitment to work with Hispanic youth and young adults?

Dr. Hosffman Ospino of the School of Theology and Ministry and his research support team respond to these questions in this report — Ministry with Young Hispanic Catholic:  Towards a Recipe for Growth and Success. A Summary Report of Initial Findings from the National Study of Catholic Organizations Serving Hispanic Youth.

Cultivating Talent: A Summary Report of Findings from the National Study Examining Pathways to Increase the Presence of Hispanic Teachers and Leaders in Catholic Schools

In response to the present need to ensure equitable access, representation, and educational outcomes for Hispanic students, families, and educators, our research team at Boston College, led by Dr. Hosffman Ospino of the School of Theology and Ministry and Dr. Melodie Wyttenbach of the Roche Center for Catholic Education, conducted a comprehensive study of Hispanic leaders and teachers in Catholic schools in the United States. Cultivating Talent: Hispanic Educators in Catholic Schools details the context, framework, process, findings, and results of this groundbreaking overview of an important sector of the Catholic education workforce.

Catholic Schools in an Increasingly Hispanic Church

The Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education (Roche Center) and the School of Theology and Ministry released the Catholic Schools in an Increasingly Hispanic Church report in February 2016, a summary of findings from the National Survey of Catholic Schools Serving Hispanic Families.  

This groundbreaking report offers important findings and analysis based on the first study ever of Catholic schools serving Hispanic families. At a time in which the Church is becoming increasingly Hispanic, the report calls for Catholic education and ministry leaders to intentionally engage Hispanic families and parishes with Hispanic ministry as partners to strengthen Catholic schools in their mission in the United States today.

Principal Investigators:  
Patricia Weitzel-O'Neill, Ph.D., Former Executive Director of the Roche Center for Catholic Education, Boston College
Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Theology and Ministry, Boston College

The report builds on Dr. Ospino's earlier work in the National Study of Catholic Parishes with Hispanic Ministry.


National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools

Catholic School Standards

The landmark 2012 publication of the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools was the result of a multi-year collaboration between the Barbara and Patrick Roche Center for Catholic Education at Boston College and the Greeley Center for Catholic Education at Loyola University Chicago. Copyright ownership of this document was transferred in 2020 from these centers to the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA). This document articulates a series of standards and benchmarks in four key areas: Mission and Catholic Identity, Governance and Leadership, Academic Excellence, and Operational Vitality. Catholic educators are encouraged to use this as a resource, as it provides a measure of accountability for the excellence and rigor, faith, and nurturance that have been the hallmark of Catholic education. More information on the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools can currently be found at


Jesuit High Schools & the National Study of Youth and Religion Project

Jesuit High Schools and the National Study of Youth and Religion Project builds from past research (i.e., Smith & Denton, 2005) to determine the influence of the culture of religious (and specifically Catholic and Ignatian) formation on the spiritual lives of students at Jesuit high schools, and to identify means for secondary educators to more effectively support students’ spiritual growth and development. The guiding questions for the pilot study are:

  1. Do students in three U.S. Jesuit schools have a similar pattern of spirituality outcomes as the diverse students in the NSYR?
  2. What impact does the experience of attending a Jesuit school (environment) have on students’ religious formation?
  3. What is the relationship among students’ gender, grade level, religious identification, and attendance of a Catholic elementary school and their beliefs and religious experiences in Jesuit high schools? 

Findings demonstrate that time spent in a Jesuit school results in a move away from the sort of moral relativism and belief in God as a cosmic therapist defined by Moralistic Therapeutic Deism (MTD). However, large portions of students from all demographic groups did show medium-to-high affinity with measures of MTD-like thinking, which means that this pervasive worldview impacts even intentionally-formed communities in religious high schools.

Implications of these findings suggest that educators at comparable high schools may want to consider the distinctions within their enrolled populations and ask themselves how differentiated support in religious and spiritual formation may be fruitful. Elements of the educational environment that may unintentionally foster a kind of relativistic thinking in students can be undergirded with additional teaching on how openness to new ideas does not necessarily have to mean that all ideas must be given equal value. Students can be taught to utilize the Ignatian culture prevalent in their schools as a means for discerning the merits of ideas that emerge both from the school and from society at large.