New York City School Anticipates Expansion

Maria Hayes Around the Province

NEW YORK — St. Stephen of Hungary School on East 82nd Street was once designated for closure by the archdiocese. In 2009, the school raised just $2,000 during its annual fund campaign.

Then principal Katherine Peck and the St. Stephen’s community began rebranding and marketing its programs, which attracted positive attention and more students, and in 2012, St. Stephen’s received $120,000 in pledges during its campaign.

This fall, a second kindergarten classroom will be added in an effort to maintain class sizes of 25 or less. The award-winning school — which serves pre-kindergarten through 8th grade students — is growing quickly, and to support the expanding community, school administrators have released a multi-year strategic plan for the future. Available online, the plan details ways the school will invest in its future through increased marketing, expanding, updating and renovating its facilities, and maintaining its enrollment to placement strategies.

“Through the strategic plan, we hope to offer this broad base of support to St. Stephen of Hungary School as a whole,” wrote Angelo Gambatese, OFM, pastor of St. Stephen Parish, and Peck, who joined the staff in 2009, in a joint letter that accompanied the strategic plan. “We have evaluated our advantages and developed goals and objectives that will continually strengthen these central tenets of our community. We have also reflected on areas for improvement and set forth plans to enhance our school, driving us forward in the years to come. We want our school to have endless possibilities.”

As the school’s student population increases, so does the need for space. Over the next three to five years, the school’s administration will undergo a master planning process to “create a facilities plan that will enable the physical space of St. Stephen School to reflect the ongoing vision and mission of the school.” The 12- to 60-month facilities plan is aimed at helping the school community to best utilize existing and potential space.

The school will also focus on enhancing development outreach and communications to help raise funds for achieving these goals. The school is using both traditional and new media, developing the school’s core message and cohesive branding through a full range of marketing materials — from print and online publications to social media, brochures, invitations and merchandising — and by refreshing St. Stephen’s website.

The school will also create a development department as part of the school’s administrative team, providing staff with training and ensuring St. Stephen’s will have the resources it needs to maintain donor relationships.

A leadership board will also be created to “support the administration and school community in a collaborative effort focused on enhancing the mission and strategic vision of St. Stephen School through advisory, advocacy and active fundraising.”

The strategic plan is designed “to be revisited periodically and to be a living, breathing document that reflects the uniqueness and culture of the St. Stephen community, in which each stakeholder is treated as an individual with unique needs and interests.”

 Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.