“Operational vitality” refers to what it takes financially to operate an academically excellent school—including paying salaries, maintaining and renovating facilities, providing technology, and keeping the lights on. Without operational vitality, a school cannot be sustained over time even if it has strong Catholic identity, a challenging curriculum, and dedicated teachers and parents.
Unfortunately, the challenges inherent to some of the schools we serve such as community trauma, scarcity of funds, and high staff turnover, pose an especially difficult obstacle to STEM development. The chronic instability that these challenges create can virtually eliminate the time and resources necessary for teacher professional development and the resourcing of STEM materials. We believe the most effective sustainable strategy for combatting this chronic instability is a stable, organized environment with effective leadership, supports for students’ social emotional needs, and an engaged parent/family community, fostering STEM development despite the stressors around it.
In order for school communities to thrive, schools must have superb teachers and academic leaders with the necessary expertise and resources. Schools can best serve the community if they marshal and manage their resources effectively and sustainably.
To do so, school leaders must make accurate and timely financial decisions based on data. Principals must be able to analyze and monitor financial information, use appropriate tools, assemble and present relevant information for decision making, and target and complete next steps required for good stewardship of resources. Our Financial Literacy for School Leaders Program provides principals with the contextual training necessary to understand accounting principles, develop the consequent skills, and apply them to the finances of their school.