Archdiocese of Milwaukee policy requires that all personnel in Catholic elementary and high schools have a background check as a basis for employment. Those applying for positions in Catholic schools and parishes are informed that an offer of employment and contract will be made only after completion of a criminal background check. As part of the Archdiocesan wide “Protecting God’s Children” program, all parishes and schools must verify compliance with this policy.
Teachers in Catholic schools are not required to be Catholic in order to teach in a Catholic school. However, all teachers must meet the basic requirement for holding appropriate Religious Education certification. Coursework and related staff development work in religious education is a component of the professional development plan for all teachers and principals.
In 1972 the Catholic bishops of Wisconsin required that teachers in elementary schools and high schools have appropriate educational licenses to teach in Catholic schools. The required teacher licensing documentation is monitored through an on-going school accreditation process at the archdiocesan level and a statewide private school accreditation process through the Wisconsin Religious and Independent School Accrediting Association.
Since 1965 students in Catholic elementary schools have taken the Iowa Test of Basic Skills and the Cognitive Abilities Assessment (ITBS). All students in grades 3, 5, and 7 take these standardized assessments every year. Schools also have the option of administering the ITBS to students in grades 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8. The Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE) is also required for students in grades 4 and 8. The Wisconsin 3rd Grade Reading Assessment is an optional assessment. Administration of the grade 10 WKCE is an option determined by each of the 13 Archdiocesan high schools.
Catholic school educators employed or volunteering in the Catholic school system must obtain BASIC Religious Education Certification within four (4) years of accepting the teaching or administrative position. Educators who are required to have ADVANCED religious education certification must obtain the INTERMEDIATE level within four (4) years of BASIC certification and must obtain the ADVANCED level within four (4) years of the INTERMEDIATE certification. Catholic school educators attain certification through Sustaining the Mission or other comprehensive programs approved by the Office for Schools. Certification can be maintained or renewed at the same level through on-going participation in Sustaining the Mission.
The Archdiocese of Milwaukee began the district-wide adoption of standards-based curriculum, aligned with benchmarks established in the Wisconsin Model Academic Standards and national content area standards in the late 1990’s.
Elementary schools in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee have developed standards-based curriculum in the core content areas in grades K-8. Schools use these documents as the basis for what is taught at all grade levels. Specific exit expectations have been identified for each grade level, and are aligned with the archdiocesan standards-based report card. Standards are also aligned with the state of Wisconsin Academic Standards and the Wisconsin Knowledge and Concepts Exam (WKCE).
We advise families who are seeking financial aid for school tuition to apply directly to the school/parish in which their child is enrolled or interested in attending. Schools/parishes will review the financial needs of families on an individual basis using criteria setup by the Archdiocese.
The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction does not have direct oversight or supervision of Catholic schools. However, there are a number of indirect areas of review that Catholic schools report to DPI. Some examples of these areas would be annual attendance data, safety issues, student transportation, government title programs, and the many issues related to the Milwaukee Parental Choice program.
Catholic elementary schools that are affiliated with a parish are administered as a department of the parish. All parishes are reviewed periodically by the archdiocesan Office of Parish Finance for compliance with financial policies and internal control requirements; this review always includes the operations of the school. Consolidated or collaborative schools are also reviewed periodically, usually in conjunction with the review of one of the sponsoring parishes. The five high schools that are under the management of the Archbishop are included in the annual independent audit of the archdiocese.