Catholic Schools: Communities of Faith, Knowledge, and Service
The purpose of Catholic school education is to prepare students for life beyond graduation – for college, service to the community, and heaven.
Catholic schools are communities of faith, knowledge and service. Our Catholic school teachers are dedicated to helping students develop the unique talents and gifts given to them by God. For example, using the benefits of technology, the Robotics team from St. Stanislaus Elementary School in Fall River won the regional VEX IQ Challenge and will be traveling to Louisville, KY to participate in the VEX Robotics World Championship in April. In the area of music, 60 choir students from Pope Saint John Paul II High School and Saint Francis Xavier Prep were recently invited to sing in the Vatican in front of Pope Francis. Historically, our high school athletic teams have competed and won numerous state championships and titles in various sports. No matter the area of interest, our students are encouraged to develop and share their passions. As a result, our students discover the value of discipline, not just in academics, but in living a well ordered life. They come to know that they have been created with a particular mission this world needs them to fulfill.
Our measure of success goes well beyond the walls of our schools. Our five high schools have excellent guidance counselors who work one-on-one with students during the college search process to help them find the path that is best for them. Their job is made easy by the fact that while the national average on the SAT is 1484 and the Massachusetts average is 1553, our five high schools average 1610. In 2015-16 we had over 485 students take AP tests and 74% received college credit by passing with a 3 or better. The state pass rate for 2015-16 was 66%. Our college prep curriculum is effective as all five high schools boast a 100% college acceptance rate with 90% of the graduates of 2016 going on to 4-year universities and receiving over $30 million in scholarships and grants.
Learning doesn’t stop with our students – our teachers are lifelong learners as well. Over 50% of our teachers have Masters or Ph.Ds. with a dozen more currently working to complete their Masters. One hundred teachers are currently participating in a Sheltered English Language Learner class that the Catholic Education Center (CEC) worked directly with Bridgewater State University to create. This class is particularly relevant in a time where over a dozen languages are being spoken or taught in our schools. The CEC and Bridgewater State are currently working on creating a new class on Special Education to be offered to our teachers next year to help them better serve the growing population of students with diverse needs in their classrooms.
Pope Francis has called for Catholic education to be accessible to everyone, and the Diocese of Fall River is working to answer that call. For the 2016-17 school year, the Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE) gave out over $800,000 in financial aid to over 30% of the 3400 elementary school students in the Diocese. Elementary schools and local parishes offer their students financial aid in addition to what is given by FACE. Our five high schools gave out over $2.8 million in financial aid to over 32% of their 2800 students. All of our schools work individually with families to help make the dream of Catholic education a reality – don’t let money be a reason to not invest in your student’s education.
As we look to the future, Catholic schools play a crucial role in developing students who will transform society for the better. Our graduates know the value of hard work, the importance of community, and are grounded in faith that sustains them through life’s joys and hardships. We welcome you to learn more about enrolling in or supporting Catholic education by visiting CatholicSchoolsAlliance.org.