NEW YORK, NY (October 5, 2010) – Dr. Timothy J. McNiff, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York, is pleased to announce the publication of Pathways to Excellence, the first strategic plan for the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of New York. Bold and forward-focused, the plan seeks to ensure an academically excellent, fully enrolled school system grounded in the Catholic faith, both now and in the future. 

Building on the long history of Catholic school success, Pathways to Excellence outlines a three-year strategy to re-envision the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of New York, which is responsible for one of the largest private school systems in the nation. 

“The time had come for us to take a fresh look at our schools, to re-imagine them for the future. This plan seeks not only to preserve, but also to advance the mission of Catholic education in New York, and to keep our schools accessible and affordable,” explained Dr. McNiff. “In crafting our vision for the future, we called upon pastors, principals, teachers, and families, as well as leaders in both business and education. Pathways to Excellence is the result of tremendous collaboration and an exhaustive process of research, careful analysis and assessment.”  

While the plan charts a three-year course, many of the recommendations contained in Pathways to Excellence have already been implemented. By way of illustration, a new assessment protocol has been developed to analyze student data and inform decisions about curriculum and classroom instruction. Enhanced professional development for principals and teachers has also been instituted to support instruction and optimize student learning. Another major initiative already underway is the Catholic School Advantage Campaign, which was developed in partnership with the University of Notre Dame to increase Catholic schools’ outreach and service to New York’s Latino communities.

Pathways to Excellence also outlines strategies to address challenges that are common to many parochial schools around the nation. One key challenge is declining enrollment, which undermines a school’s financial stability and often necessitates unsustainable levels of financial subsidies from both the archdiocese and its parish.

In response to these realities, a School Reconfiguration Committee composed of pastors, principals, and archdiocesan representatives, is currently evaluating challenges and opportunities at every school in the archdiocese, and working closely with local school leadership. Based upon its analysis, the Committee will make carefully considered recommendations regarding reductions in financial subsidies, which may result in the merger or closure of some schools. As detailed in Pathways to Excellence, these difficult decisions will lead to stronger, more sustainable Catholic schools for generations to come. 

“Pathways to Excellence shines a light on the success of Catholic education in New York and prepares our schools for a sustainable and vibrant future. We are committed to ensuring every child has access to an excellent, faith-filled education that will enable them to succeed well beyond the classroom,” says Dr. McNiff.

To download a copy of Pathways to Excellence, please go to 

The Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York has oversight of 276 Catholic elementary and high schools in ten counties, namely Manhattan, Staten Island, Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Rockland, Sullivan and Ulster counties. For more information about our schools, please see: