Responding to concerns, bishops express hopes for ‘strong future’ of Alleman H.S.
ROCK ISLAND — In recent weeks, parents and supporters of Alleman High School have raised concerns — especially on social media — about the school’s direction and staffing. A primary concern has been whether Viatorian Father Daniel Mirabelli, the longtime driving force in development for the Rock Island school, would be staying.
In a letter to the school community dated July 3, Bishop Daniel R. Jenky, CSC, and Coadjutor Bishop Louis Tylka shared their hope “for the strong future of Alleman High School,” and assured them that Father Mirabelli wasn’t going anywhere.
“We are especially pleased that Father Mirabelli will continue to serve in the important role of AHS Director of Development,” the letter says. “His presence and experience will be invaluable to the stability and longstanding tradition that have kept Alleman High School at the educational forefront in the Quad Cities area.”
Father Mirabelli has been at Alleman High School for all but five of his 61 years of priestly ministry. He has taught religion, history and English and has served as bookstore manager, ticket manager and business manager, as well as director of development.
School officials have said it is his roles as spiritual adviser, mentor and friend to students and their families that have been most important, however.
Bishop Jenky and Bishop Tylka said they could not comment on other personnel issues since those are confidential and it is common practice for all organizations, including schools, not to do so.
“ENGAGE IN THE PROCESS”
Other concerns, such as declining enrollment, the role of parents, and teacher certification, were not addressed in the letter, but there will be an opportunity to do that, the bishops said.
“There are many challenges that we face in providing excellent Catholic education in today’s world,” they wrote. “To build upon the foundation of those who have already given so much to our mission, the Diocese of Peoria has engaged Partners in Mission a Boston-based consulting firm, that will work with the Office of Catholic Schools to coordinate the process of strategic planning in our diocesan high schools.”
The strategic planning process will allow the school communities to provide the “valuable feedback” needed to develop goals and objectives for the future sustainability of the schools, according to Bishop Jenky and Bishop Tylka.
As with all the other diocesan high schools, Alleman is forming a steering committee that will focus on data in eight domains: academics, advancement, Catholic identity, enrollment, facilities, finance, governance, and student life. The bishops said Partners in Mission will work with these steering committees to write a strategic plan, with implementation set to begin in the 2022-2023 school year.
“We appeal to you today to engage in this process,” Bishop Jenky and Bishop Tylka said. “There is much work to be done.”
They concluded by thanking members of the Alleman community for their support.
“Your commitment to the school and its mission of providing strong, Catholic education to our students is a testament to our working together for the Lord,” the bishops said.