On A Mission

Enhancing Excellence.
Increasing Enrollment.


We CARE DEEPLY ABOUT Catholic Schools 

The Catholic Schools Center of Excellence ("CSCOE" — pronounced "SIS-co") is an Edina-based, nonprofit organization with a simple, two-part mission: to enhance excellence and increase enrollment in Minnesota's preschool-8th grade Catholic schools. 

Before CSCOE was founded, Catholic schools were closing a rapid pace, and the conversation was one of decline. We wanted to help change that narrative to one of hope, possibility, and growth.

In 2014, a group of lay people conducted an in-depth school survey and personally visited every preschool-8th grade Catholic school in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis (CSCOE’s original geographic area) to understand the challenges that schools were facing and our opportunities to support them.

With initial funding from the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation, CSCOE was established in 2015. After 7 years of initial success in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, in 2022 we expanded our geographic area to include every diocese in Minnesota. Our services are 100% opt-in, and we are proud that every preschool-8th grade school in Minnesota has chosen to take advantage of our offerings.


Innovation lies at the heart of CSCOE's entrepreneurial mission. We are committed to cultivating excellence by crafting superior solutions and connecting Catholic schools with world-class partners and resources. At the same time, we mobilize local experts within Minnesota's own Catholic school community to share their wisdom with schools across the state. We listen to principals and teachers, employing a bottom-up approach to ensure their voices shape our strategies and initiatives in our three main areas of focus: excellence, enrollment, and preschool excellence.


Our approach is bottom-up. We listen to principals and teachers and implement the best ideas that will have the greatest impact. Thus, we design and fund solutions that increase excellence throughout the Catholic school system as a whole, while respecting the uniqueness of each school. In this way, CSCOE helps each school fulfill its mission, exceed standards, and more fully embody the core characteristics that define Catholic schools.


While Catholic schools share a set of defining characteristics, each school is unique. CSCOE aims to help Catholic school professionals identify, articulate, and showcase these features, while highlighting positive outcomes. CSCOE addresses schools' marketing and enrollment needs by providing  professional development, ongoing education, a network of industry experts and peers, and implementable resources.

Preschool Excellence

Preschools play a vital role in fostering the growth of Catholic schools by generating revenue and creating a pathway for enrollment from early childhood to 8th grade. CSCOE has been instrumental in establishing and expanding early childhood and preschool programs. By offering business strategies, marketing support, and professional development, CSCOE actively contributes to the growth and success of these programs.

By The Numbers


We support over 150 preschool-8th grade Catholic schools throughout the entire state of Minnesota.


98.2% of students in CSOCE's Believe & Read program improved their reading speed and accuracy during the 2022-23 school year.


Since its launch in 2020, CSCOE's Peace of Mind health and wellness program has provided more than 15,000 hours of counseling to participating schools.

Success Stories

“CSCOE has helped us to put so many programs into place – reading programs and exceptional learner programs and the STEM fair. We have gotten laptops and iPads one-to-one, so no student is falling through the cracks in our Catholic schools. There is a resource for every single one of them.”

Jill Ryan

Teacher | St. Jude of the Lake Catholic School, Mahtomedi

“[CSCOE’s] impact has stretched . . . just in our ability to dream, knowing that there is this team of people that will drop everything to help me problem solve or to help me know how to be the best at what I am trying to do.”

Anne Gattman

Principal | St. Jerome School, Maplewood


Latest CSCOE updates and news coverage.

CSCOE Latest

Announcing Our New CSCOE President: Michael Rainer

We have exciting leadership news at CSCOE! We are delighted to announce that after a comprehensive search and rigorous selection process, the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence Board of Directors has appointed Michael Rainer as the new President of CSCOE.

In The News


Learn more about our signature CSCOE events. There’s always something happening!

Summit of Excellence

CSCOE’s biannual fall conference brings together preschool-8th grade Catholic school leaders, staff, pastors, and business administrators for a full day of prayer, community, and professional development.

Big Bang Catholic STEM Fair

The Big Bang Catholic STEM Fair, which is presented by CSCOE in partnership with the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, is an opportunity for 3rd-8th grade Catholic school students in Minnesota to showcase...


The CSCOE Bash is our annual fundraising event — an entertaining and impactful evening benefitting all preschool-8th grade Catholic schools in Minnesota.

Mass of the Holy Spirit

The Mass of the Holy Spirit gathers 4th-8th grade Catholic school students, principals, and teachers from Catholic grade schools throughout the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis to celebrate Holy Mass and the joy of...

Impact in Focus

Learn more about CSCOE and a few of our hallmark initiatives!