Catholic Schools pro-actively reaching under-served populations - CS Alliance

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Catholic Schools pro-actively reaching under-served populations

In his recent pastoral letter “Rebuilding in Faith and Hope”, Bishop Edgar da Cunha called for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fall River to “pro-actively and successfully reach out to and enroll diverse student populations with special focus on traditionally under-served groups such as Latinos” and to “grow tuition assistance funding to serve students living at or below the poverty level”. Taking up this call, two new initiatives have been launched for schools in Fall River and the greater New Bedford area.

In order to increase their ability to reach and serve Latino students three schools in Fall River and three schools in New Bedford will be participating in the University of Notre Dame’s Latino Enrollment Institute (LEI) in October 2017. The LEI will help school leadership have a deeper understanding of Latino cultures and traditions, intercultural competency, and enlist faculty, staff, and parents to reach out personally to Latino families and invite them to Catholic schools. Since its launch in 2012, 163 schools have participated in the LEI and experienced 23% increase in Latino enrollment.

The participating schools are Holy Name, Holy Trinity, and Bishop Connolly High School from Fall River and Holy Family-Holy Name, St. James-St. John, and Bishop Stang High School from New Bedford. Each of these schools are committed to serving diverse populations and making their schools welcoming and inviting places where students from all cultural backgrounds can learn and succeed.

The second initiative, the Hope and Opportunity Initiative, seeks to directly impact low-income students by providing 100 new low-income K-8 students with scholarships of up to $2000 to attend a Catholic Elementary school in Fall River or the greater New Bedford area for the 2017-18 school year. In addition to the $2000 scholarship, schools and parishes are offering financial aid to help bridge the remaining tuition gap. To date, 40 students have received the Hope and Opportunity Initiative scholarship and will be attending a Catholic elementary school this fall. This Initiative is made possible by a generous donation from the Carney Family Foundation and the diocese expects to offer this opportunity to more students in the future.

“We are enormously grateful to both the University of Notre Dame and the Carney Family Foundation for their commitment to Catholic school education and willingness to partner with our Fall River and New Bedford Catholic schools”, remarked Superintendent Steve Perla. “Their support enables our schools to more effectively serve under-served children and their families and provides access to children whose parents could not otherwise afford a Catholic school education for their children”, continued, Mr. Perla.

For questions regarding the Diocese of Fall River Catholic School’s participation in the LEI or the Hope and Opportunity Initiative please contact Sarah Heaton at or (508)678-2828.



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