FALL RIVER, MA – The subject of education continues to be front and center in the media as the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted and changed all aspects of life. Although all schools are offering in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year, many families continue to choose to send their children to a Catholic school for many reasons. Celebrating Catholic Schools Week provides a platform for Catholic schools to communicate their uniqueness and encourage new families to experience the “Catholic School Difference” firsthand.
For many students attending one of 15 Catholic elementary schools or four Catholic high schools in the Diocese of Fall River, this year may be their first exposure to the unique qualities of Catholic education that cannot be found in any secular educational experience. . According to the diocese, enrollment in Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Fall River is up nearly 3 percent from last school year; and most Catholic elementary schools have a waiting list.
The diocese says Celebrating Catholic Schools Week focuses on the many aspects of Catholic education that families have enjoyed for decades: a strong and balanced curriculum that integrates faith, culture, and life; the value of serving others; as well as preparing students to be productive citizens and future leaders. Each day features a different theme to highlight the many facets of a Catholic education. The themes of the week 2022 are:
Celebrate your parish
Celebrate your community
Celebrating the students of Catholic schools
Celebrate your nation
Celebrate faculty, staff and volunteers
“Celebrating Catholic School Week is a wonderful opportunity for all families to learn more about Catholic education and why it has been a valuable educational asset for decades,” said Daniel S. Roy, Superintendent of Catholic Schools. of the Diocese of Fall River. “We cannot express enough how dedicated and faith-filled our team of Catholic school leaders, educators and staff have been throughout these difficult years. The pandemic has interrupted many aspects of education, but our schools are still seizing the opportunity to ensure that students remain at the center of our efforts.
According to Kellie Kickham, principal of St. John the Evangelist School in Attleboro, “The theme of ‘Celebrating Catholic Schools Week’ is perfect for this time. We continue to have an increase in applications and enrollments from many families whose priority is to provide an education with academic rigor as well as formation in faith, morality and a sense of true community. For families who signed up, they are amazed at the overall Catholic school experience and express that they never realized there was such a difference in the values students receive from an education. Catholic.
Affordability is the top concern for many new families as they embark on learning more about Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fall River. “The cost of tuition is a big concern for many families,” says Christina Duggan, vice president of operations for the Catholic Foundation of Southeast Massachusetts. “Each of our elementary schools encourages families to apply to the Foundation for the Advancement of Catholic Education (FACE) which helps reduce tuition costs by providing scholarships. For this school year, approximately 900 students received a need-based scholarship, which in many cases reduced tuition fees by 30-50%; and for many schools, this can result in monthly tuition fees of $300 or less. Scholarships are determined by the financial situation of the family at the time of application. FACE scholarships help reduce tuition costs and make a Catholic school education more accessible, and ultimately families realize that a Catholic education is well worth the investment. Families are encouraged to apply early for the best chance of receiving an award as funds are limited.
Other concerns expressed by interested families relate to special education services for their child. The Diocese of Fall River has made great improvements in special education by partnering with the SEAL Foundation, which oversees special education professionals at each partner school. In addition to very high quality special education services, the smaller class sizes of Catholic schools lend themselves to a more personalized education focused on the specific needs of each student. More than 90% of Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fall River offer accommodations for students who learn differently.
While Catholic schools across the country have overcome many challenges over the past few decades with increasing enrollment, there is no doubt that Catholic schools are still valued in today’s educational landscape.