Sunday, July 8, 2007

St Michael Catholic School Part 1

This posting is offered to all those who are interested in the value of Catholic education, or curious about it, or concerned about its future. Part 1 will include general reasons to support our local Catholic School, and some recent success in the growth of the current K-6 enrollment. In Part 2 I will discuss the potential of expanding the School to K-8.

St. Michael Catholic School has a rich history, having once offered a free K-12 education to all students (and with nuns teaching no less!). But having had the nuns removed and the school cut down to K-6, and with tuition from parents now needed to balance the budget, a logical question might be: will STM Catholic School survive??

The answer: YES!

The caveat: WITH SUPPORT AND FAITH!

As this blogger has learned over the last few years, the health and growth of a parish-based school is a complex mixture of the condition of the parish, the Catholicity of the parishioners, and the kind of education the children are likely to get. Fortunately, or more properly by the Grace of God, we have been blessed with a very strong Catholic center here in St. Michael, with hard work and strong support from both long term parishioners and faithful and visionary priests. The parish is healthy and growing. So, what of our School?

First and foremost, there simply has to be enough interest from Catholic parents in our parish, which is itself a result of the product offered by the School. And there is no doubt that the product is absolutely wonderful: an accredited school; a professional & committed Catholic staff; faith-based learning environment; weekly Mass; and a curriculum that at least matches if not exceeds the public school. Our kids transition to the public school and do very well, and have the benefit of long-lasting friendships forged from having shared their Catholic school years in a close-knit & respectful environment.

And, the numbers show that the interest here in a Catholic education continues to be strong. Not only were we finally able to open up the enrollment of the School to include a third Kindergarten class and accept all of the "waiting list" students for the 2007-08, but at this time the School is only two students short of three full 24-student K classes. This "bulge" in enrollment will extend for the next several years by creating three classes in 1st grade, then 2nd, 3rd, etc. Total enrollment for K-6 is up to 336 for 07-08! And who knows when we'll reach the "tipping point" for a FOURTH Kindergarten class? What about space and staffing? These are exciting but challenging prospects, which brings me to the caveat above...

We need support and faith for our School. I believe in the support, as demonstrated by the fantastic volunteers and their recent fund raising success, and by our Pastor who has published a plan to add 7th and 8th grades (the subject of Part 2). We also need prayer in the growth of the School, as a means of properly educating more of our children, to humbly and respectfully glorify God in everything they do in life. This is an aspect of education that is simply not offered in public schools.

So, if you're interested in a great Catholic primary education, call the School and schedule a tour. If you're already a supporter, please pray for its success as a human implement with which to teach our children how to be successful but humble & faithful creatures of God.


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