Parent Update #1 Initial Update 23 Sep 2020

23 September 2020

Dear Parents,

On Monday, 14th September many of you attended the first general meeting (GM) of the Home School Association (‘HSA’) for the 2020-2021 school year.  During the meeting, the HSA presented an overview of its financial position, its strategic objectives and achievements and promotion for further assistance and volunteers from the parents of the children of St. Ignatius Catholic School (the ‘Parents’).  Members of the School Advisory Committee (‘SAC’) (previously the School Advisory Board) updated the Parents on the dissolution of the School Advisory Board and the creation of the new SAC by the Administrator of the St. Ignatius Catholic Church (‘Administrator of the Parish’) of the Cayman Islands (‘Parish’) and the resignation of the Head of School.

Evidenced by an attendance of more than 200 Parents who attended the GM, coupled with St. Ignatius Catholic School (our ‘School’) teachers attending to observe and obtain information on the current status of the School, there is a clear signal that the Parents of our School are tangibly disturbed and anxious at the lack of stability, robustness, transparency and accountability on the current governance structure of our School.  In particular, and most significantly, the unacceptable impact this has, and may continue to have, on the education standards of our children, especially considering the tumultuous disturbances that have already occurred this year so far.

As a consequence of the discussion that took place, the Parents requested and agreed that the HSA convene a sub-committee to formally communicate with the Archdiocese of Detroit (‘Archdiocese’). Accepting this mandate from the Parents, this sub-committee has been formed as the HSA Parents’ Governance and Transparency Sub-Committee (the ‘Sub-Committee’) with it being composed of Parents who volunteered to assist.  As a sub-committee of the HSA, this sub-committee operates independently of the SAC. The Sub-Committee composition is as follows:

Julie-Ann Allard
Chantal Byrd
Jennifer Collins
Tony De Quintal
Paul Kennedy
Declan Magennis
Kendell Pierre
Jennifer Reilly
Mark Wilder
Richelle Woodcock

We have listed the names of the volunteers who have formed this Sub-Committee.  Not only are we providing the names for the sake of transparency but also to help the flow of communication between Parents and the Sub-Committee.  We ask all Parents to express your concerns to the committee members you may know or contact us directly: Parents@stignatiusparents.org.

We recognise many parents may have feelings of worry, anger, fear, and regret at the undesirable and unsatisfactory situation. As fellow Parents we share your concerns. We have also heard your concerns and, as representatives, custodians and guardians of your voice, we commit to transparently, honestly and diligently representing your views to the Archdiocese, the Parish, Administrator of the Parish, or any other stakeholder of our School or authority we may communicate and interact with, and to work hard to protect the interests of our children and our School’s teachers whilst working within the guidelines of the HSA.

We are convinced that from this anxiety has arisen a stronger, and more positive resolve to find a mutually amenable solution  for the Archdiocese, the Parish, Parents, and the teachers of our School; one that meets the Cayman Islands’ legal and regulatory obligations; the rules and guidelines stipulated by the Archdiocese; and enhances and protects the standard of education of our children and School.  This determination will give the stakeholders of St. Ignatius a harmonized voice and drives the Sub-Committee to ensure it is heard.

Our School has been a part of this community for almost half a century. Students are now walking the same halls as their parents before them. We hope that the perpetuation of this legacy will be safeguarded, giving your children’s children the same opportunity.

The Sub-Committee understands that, subsequent to the HSA meeting held 14th September, some of you may wish to raise your concerns, views, suggestions directly to our School, the Administrator of the Parish, Parish, or Archdiocese. Open and constructive dialogue is a benefit to all stakeholders and we encourage you to individually raise your concerns, but ask that you contribute to our communal voice by signing the letter to the Archdiocese which we shall be presenting to you imminently. Please find the petition here.

Our School is a wonderfully diverse but unified community. This shared faith and determination is evident in our children where a community spirit of cooperation will guide us all and prevail. We, the Parents of St. Ignatius Catholic School are a community amongst ourselves.  Please, help us represent you and speak with us. We are certain that the mission objectives of the Archdiocese and attaining an outstanding education for our children are not mutually exclusive, but they both should receive high priority from all those vested in our School.

Our teachers are a fundamental part of our School and we ask Parents to send words of encouragement to the teachers. The teachers need the Parents’ support now more than ever and it is important that we seek to retain them whilst we work through this unsettling time.

As one of our objectives is fostering transparency, we will be providing regular updates through a newly created website. We remind you to sign the petition available by visiting https://stignatiusparents.org/parent-petition/. We firmly and wholeheartedly believe a unified and strong voice is our best chance of having the Archdiocese listen to us.  The more signatures, the louder the message!  We are aiming to provide a draft letter from the Parents to the Archdiocese explaining our concerns and proposals to find stability and consistency in the governance framework of our School to the Parents imminently.

Yours in Faith,
The HSA Parents’ Governance and Transparency Sub-Committee

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