St. Patrick Catholic School

122 West Street, Portland, MI   (517) 647-7551

Reflections by Randy Hodge

Working Together to Build Our Community

Posted on March 16, 2017 at 1:25 PM

I often get asked “what is the biggest challenge you face as an administrator?” That is a really tough question to answer because there are always different challenges and tasks throughout the school year, some that are constantly reoccurring and some that may come your way for the first time. However, in my experiences over the past nine years, I would say the biggest challenge is trying to get everyone to see the big picture of what is best for the majority of our students and why specific decisions are made.

While a parent, coach, or teacher may approach me with a problem specific to the grade, sport, or classroom they are closely connected to, an administrator must look at the big picture and keep all stakeholders in mind. These groups include the student body, faculty and school staff, coaching staff, parents and grandparents, school support groups and parishioners.

Of course, it makes perfect sense that these individuals advocate for their children, their program, their classroom or their group since they are the ones directly responsible for that individual or program. However, this is where the biggest challenge lies.

Along with Father Larry King and our school board, our administrative team must look at the resources available and try to make everything work for the betterment of the majority of these stakeholders. Our decisions are based on the following factors:

• the budgeted amount of money available

• the availability of other capital resources such as computers, other technology and even the amount of desks and chairs

• the number of staff

• the amount of time in a work day

• facilities which include classroom space and availability

St. Patrick isn’t different than any other school district in our area and we have limited resources in the aforementioned areas. So, the question we must ask when making a decision is “How do we responsibly use these resources for the betterment of all?” Especially when the number of students at each grade level and the amount student athletes that go out for a given sport each year are always changing.

There are five benchmarks that distinguish a Catholic school: A Catholic school should be inspired by a supernatural vision, founded on Christian anthropology, animated by communion and community, imbued with a Catholic worldview throughout its curriculum, and sustained by gospel witness. (The Holy See’s Teaching on Catholic Schools) It is in this third benchmark that we are called to look beyond our individual needs and problems to see how we can work together. All of us are required to work together for the school’s common good. This is what makes our Catholic school unique, parents have a chance to be directly involved in their child’s education and we promote a school that feels like a second family.

I ask you to help us work toward this goal of building our community and when questioning strategic decisions try to look beyond your own world view. We welcome your questions, suggestions and appreciate when you come to us with ideas of how to solve a problem.


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