New team members seek to enhance Education in diocese
Rosie Bartel and Dcn. Ray DuBois both plan to get out to parishes
Final in a Bishop's Appeal Series
By Jeff Kurowski
Compass Assistant Editor
|NEW TO TEAM: Newest members of the staff in the diocesan Department of Education are Dcn. Ray DuBois, promotional services director, and Rosie Bartel, religious education director. The department is funded in part by the annual Bishop's Appeal under way across the diocese. (Rick Evans photo)
Count on seeing Rosie Bartel at your parish this year. The new religious education director for the Diocese of Green Bay looks forward to getting a firsthand look at religious education programs in order to better serve catechetical leaders and catechists.
"I will come by invitation or invite myself," she said. "I plan to visit every parish in the diocese in the next year. I'm going as their advocate. Let's talk about your program. What are your concerns? I also hope to help them see their strengths."
Much like Bartel, Dcn. Ray DuBois, the new promotional services director for the Diocesan Education team, plans on getting out of the office.
"One thing we keep hearing is we never do anything to market our diocesan education programs," he said. "One of the key things with this position is to serve religious education and adult faith formation as well as Catholic day schools. We look at each one as equal arms of the total picture. That's a change in emphasis. I want to get out to the people in those ministries."
Bartel, who led four religious education programs in Manitowoc County in addition to serving as principal at St. Gregory School in St. Nazianz, said developing a religious education curriculum is a top priority.
"As we look at a standard based curriculum there are expectations for each grade level," said Bartel. "These are the things they are expected to know at the end of second grade, sixth grade, tenth grade, for example."
Some parishes offer religious education classes for specific grade levels, while others have implemented intergenerational faith programs. A standard-based curriculum works for all types, said Bartel.
"There will be different delivery systems, but in the end the expectations will be the same for each age group," she said. "We are also talking a lot about technology. We live in a 21st century-based world. Young people are learning in a very different way. We have to look at how to deliver education to young people. The types of tools must be different."
A standard-based curriculum will help catechists by providing more freedom, she added.
"So many times you are handed a book and you think you need to cover this book," she said. "With standard bases, these are things I have to teach, these are the units that deal with
that. You don't have to use the whole book. We do this OK with sacraments but with theology and Christology we tend to go back to trying to cover everything."
Development of the religious education curriculum is expected to be completed in July. Religion certification and accreditation for religious education programs are also among Bartel's responsibilities.
"A lot of catechists are happy to hear that we are looking at some sort of accreditation program," she said. "Several dioceses have accreditation programs. Having religious ed programs reviewed by a team is very helpful. Sometimes someone will question if a program is good or not. If it's an accredited program, you know it's a good program."
Bartel brings a strong background in both religious education and Catholic day school education to the position. Parishes need to be supportive of both, she said.
"Every parish that has a day school must still provide a quality religious education program," she said. "I believe there are different strokes for different folks. The two need to be quality vehicles of Catholic education."
Dcn. DuBois, who previously worked as a corporate manager at J.J. Keller & Associates in Neenah, considers himself lucky to have the opportunities his new position provides.
"I spent so many years on the corporate side," he said. "To be able to take that experience, that education and be able to wrap it into a true ministry, the true ministry of communicating the value of lifelong Catholic education is very exciting."
His first goal is to become familiar with programs throughout the diocese. He looks forward to making connections through parish and school visits.
"A lot of what I'm doing is information gathering," said Dcn. DuBois. "It not only involves identifying what the best practices are in our own diocese by what people elsewhere in the country are doing. We can take those best practices and adapt them in our programs."
One of Dcn. DuBois' priorities is to develop a working draft of a marketing plan for religious education, Catholic day school education and adult faith formation. He also plans in the future to use his electronic media experience to market education through the diocesan Web page.
Marketing is essential to build on the strong history of Catholic education he said.
"Catholic education has been around for a long time and we have a ton of success stories," he said. "There is a who's who of Catholic education. It's not just celebrities or famous
people. It's people who are leaders in their community who quietly make a difference in people's lives each day. It's not just people from Catholic day schools, but religious education programs as well. Those are stories we want to tell."
"It's in everyone's best interest to market Catholic education," he added. "It's no fun talking with a principal at a day school who is looking at reduced enrollment and wondering if all the teachers will have jobs next year. It's not fun talking with a DRE (director of religious education) who is dealing with a significant drop in enrollment past the sacramental years."
Dcn. DuBois, who serves at St. Gabriel the Archangel Parish in Neenah, sees collaboration and cooperation as keys to serving education programs.
"It's all about pairing up the needs with the resources we are going to provide through this office," he said. "One of the key things is to provide some kind of clearinghouse to get the word out of what we have available."
"For so long, when people mentioned the Green Bay Diocese, many people thought it meant specifically the Green Bay area," he added. "What does that mean to us? Through collaboration we are leveling the playing field. In reality, it's always been level, but not by people's perception. It's in everyone's best interest to work together to have the most healthy, most vibrant schools, religious education and adult faith formation programs."