Every five years, Network schools engage with the Sacred Heart Commission on Goals (SHCOG) to ensure that schools integrate Sacred Heart Goals and Criteria throughout their school’s culture. Led by a Steering Committee, this year, Stone Ridge begins the three-year process, which can be broken into two main activities that are supplemented by a series of reports and responses: the Self-Study and the Visit. The SHCOG process is perhaps best understood as a conversation and a reflective process between school constituents and the Commission. This process aims to keep schools accountable and to help build better ways for “our School to live out its mission in its fullest and completeness,” says Director of Formation to Mission Ms. Kathryn Heetderks.
The first year is dedicated to developing a comprehensive Self-Study. The SHCOG manual anchors the Self-Study in “the belief that a community of educators can renew itself by means of a reflective self-evaluation that yields fresh insights and recommitment” (pg 6). Through reflective activities, constituents offer feedback and contribute to developing the Self-Study narrative. The narrative reviews how new members of the community are oriented and how current members abide by the Goals and Criteria and historical data of the School since the previous SHCOG review. Once documented, the Self-Study is then reviewed, and three commendations and recommendations are shared recognizing past accomplishments and future work needed to strengthen Stone Ridge’s work to living the Sacred Heart mission and vision.
In October, faculty and staff gathered in the Mathews Dining Hall to review the Criteria of Goals II, III, and V. In groups, the community discussed three strengths and identified an area of growth among the criteria for each goal Criteria. These conversations will continue throughout the year and include feedback from board members, alumnae, and students.
Next year, the Self-Study and its recommendations will be shared with a Visiting Team who will spend several days on campus listening to the voices of all constituents of the community. Using the Self-Study and the visiting days as a guide, the Visiting Team will create a report that will be shared with the whole community at the end of their visit as well as to the Commission. Finally, in the third and last year, Stone Ridge will create an Action Plan that will be shared with the Commission, detailing what the School wants to accomplish and how and when those actions will be completed.
The SHCOG process reminds us that the Goals and Criteria are aspirational, intentional, and timeless and that each community member has an essential role in the School’s successes and works as a collective to fulfill this special mission.