(Philadelphia, July 15, 2013)—At a press conference today with Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Archbishop of Philadelphia, and Brian McElwee, Chairman of the Independence Mission Schools (IMS), 14 Catholic elementary schools were officially designated independent of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia allowing them to form the Independence Mission Schools system. IMS is the umbrella organization overseeing these 14 independent private Catholic schools, which provides central staff to drive development and enrollment as well as standardized business practices and management of the school facilities.
“When IMS launched this bold initiative in 2012, we set out to preserve the unique value of Catholic schools – an academically excellent, cost-effective, values-based education—and today we can be confident that we are accomplishing this critical goal,” said Mr. McElwee. “We have seen significant increases in enrollment and scholarship distributions across the system, but our work is not done yet. The long-term success of Independence Mission Schools, and its role in transforming lives and communities in Philadelphia’s most vulnerable neighborhoods, depends on the support of the local business community, civic leaders and individuals willing to donate their time and money. The momentum we have spurred in just the past year must be sustained and we are committed to that end.”
Formed in early 2012 by local business leaders as a result of the Blue Ribbon Commission, IMS is the first organization to take full ownership of a group of Catholic elementary schools. IMS’ founding board of directors seized the opportunity to replicate the successful education model employed at St. Martin de Porres – a model in which a new non-profit was created to allow business leaders to take responsibility for the school and utilize best practices in business to deliver a high-quality, cost effective education. By expanding this model and centralizing leadership, more Catholic schools in vulnerable neighborhoods could not only be saved but better served. Appointed by the board of directors in January 2013, Aldo Cavalli, MSA, is IMS’ first president and brings more than 35 years of experience as an administrator and an executive for education and mental health organizations to this leadership role.
“Lay leadership is critical to saving the schools in these neighborhoods and the IMS founding board members are the driving forces in our mission,” said Mr. Cavalli. “The willingness of the board of directors to sustain and to share this special mission with so many has been remarkable. All of our students, across the 14 schools, can feel the board’s belief in them, which only further strengthens the values-driven academic experience that IMS offers. This model is one that we believe will set the standard for urban Catholic education nationwide and we are proud that Philadelphia is where it begins.”
The Independence Mission Schools include:
For more information about Independence Mission Schools visitwww.independencemissionschools.org.