June 27, 2014 - State of Catholic Education in The Archdiocese of Boston is Strong*
Braintree, MA (June 27, 2014) –The Archdiocese of Boston is pleased to report that all of our Catholic schools successfully completed the current academic year and will continue their educational mission next year. This achievement, reversing a multi-year trend of Catholic schools closing due to operational shortfalls, is the product of focused efforts on the part of the Archdiocese’s Catholic Schools Office, the Catholic Schools Foundation and the Campaign for Catholic Schools to stabilize and strengthen the schools’ finances and enrollment. Also, academic performance at Catholic schools continues to improve, providing students and their families the opportunity to reach higher as they pursue college and university education and leadership roles in our society. Statistics documentation the improved academic achievement can be found in the “ ” report released by the Catholic Schools Office.
In the Archdiocese of Boston, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley has made it a priority to transform Catholic schools, to prepare students for the expectations and opportunities of the 21st century. “Catholic education changes lives for the better,” said Cardinal Seán. “Our students lead by example, achieving academic success through hard work, contributing to strong communities, and living the Gospel values of care, concern, gratitude and respect for others. Our teachers, benefactors, and families are all partners in this endeavor to help the students realize their God-given potential. It is a privilege and a blessing for us to be able to serve the students and their families.”
The Archdiocese represents the second-largest educational system in the Commonwealth, educating over 40,000 students in 119 schools during the 2013-2014 academic year. These schools serve students from all 144 cities and towns in the Archdiocese and reflect the makeup of the local communities, particularly the racial and ethnic diversity of our cities.
Mary Moran, Temporary Administrator for Catholic Schools, said, “The state of our Catholic schools is strong in the Archdiocese: Enrollment has begun to stabilize, there is a strategic plan in place to address long-term needs, and our students are excelling academically. Most importantly, we are preparing young men and women to be contributing members of society through a faith-based education and nurturing environment. We are educating the leaders of tomorrow.”
Bishop Peter J. Uglietto, S.T.D., Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Boston, said, “As a product of our Catholic schools and as a parish priest who enjoyed the opportunity to work with students and families for many years, I am proud and pleased by the accomplishments of our schools and people, especially our students. Catholic education is vitally important to the overall quality of life in our communities and provides a path for success for our students in an enriching and faith filled environment. Much needs to be fulfilled going forward, but we are on a sound and well-planned path to preserve and enhance Catholic education for years to come.”
Catholic school students in the Archdiocese of Boston outperform their national peers
Excellent academic results are one of the true returns on an investment in Catholic education, as students learn the skills needed to succeed in an expanding global economy within a nurturing, faith-filled environment. Elementary school students score well above the national average at every grade level on standardized tests of reading, math, science, and social studies. Archdiocese secondary schools rank among the best in the nation, offering a full complement of Advanced Placement courses, faith-based service opportunities, and art, cultural, and athletic programs. These secondary students outperform their state and national public school peers on the SAT and in college attendance, as 96% of secondary school graduates matriculate to college, including 94% to a four-year college.
“The facts on student performance are proof positive that an investment in Catholic education is an investment in the future,” said Moran. “Despite recent challenges, the Church’s commitment to Catholic education is unabated. We are transforming our Catholic schools to meet the changing needs of communities and students. In places like Brockton, Dorchester, Lawrence, and Quincy, we are achieving these goals by becoming the 21st century model for Catholic schools across the United States.”
Much of this success is due to the nearly 4,000 dedicated teachers and principals in Boston Catholic schools. It is a major priority of the Archdiocese to continue to recruit and retain high-quality teachers and schools leader who are as diverse as the students they serve.
Early education is an area of growth for Catholic education
Massachusetts families are increasingly choosing Catholic schools for early education, with early education enrollment increasing 26% since 2004. Fifteen new early education programs have opened since 2010, with another five scheduled to open for the 2014-2015 school year.
“Quality early education programs are essential in forming a solid faith, social, and academic base for students. Retaining these students for the long term stabilizes enrollment and allows our schools to build on already outstanding curriculum and programs across all grade levels,” said Chris Flieger, Associate Superintendent for Academics and Mission. “We believe that once a family has made the decision to commit to Catholic education in the early grades it is our responsibility to ensure that these schools provide the quality education that all families deserve in order to keep their children in our schools through secondary graduation."
Partners are helping to transform Catholic schools
Since 2005, with the support of Cardinal Seán, a diverse coalition of Archdiocesan religious and lay leaders have come together to provide assistance in academic, strategic, and financial planning. These partners include the Campaign for Catholic Schools, the Catholic Schools Foundation, and the Lynch Foundation. In addition, local colleges and universities have played a major role in planning and strategic support, including Catholic colleges such as Boston College, Emmanuel College, and Stonehill College, and public institutions such as Harvard University, Lesley University, and Northeastern University.
These institutions are working with the Archdiocese and local community leaders to transform Catholic schools into thriving learning communities where all students receive a faith-based education. An example of this is the Campaign for Catholic Schools work creating new regional academies, which are now a model for Catholic education across this country. This academy formation work is part of the Campaign for Catholic Schools’ larger mission to revitalize inner-city schools in areas such as Brockton, Dorchester, and Mattapan, for which the Campaign has raised over $74 million dollars since 2007.
Partners also help provide students with financial support. In Catholic schools, the true cost of education is higher than the amount families are charged for tuition, and this reduced tuition is made possible thanks to direct contributions from parishes, donors, board members, and Catholic foundations. As just one example of this generosity, during the 2013-2014 academic year nearly $8 million was made available to students by the Catholic Schools Foundation, making it possible for many families to receive the benefits of a Catholic education who would have otherwise not had the opportunity. Beyond scholarship aid, the Catholic Schools Foundation also assists schools to develop strategies and programs around technology, admissions, development, and school collaborations and partnerships, helping to ensure that Catholic schools will be vibrant centers of excellence for years to come.
Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston provide families with early education options, quality elementary and secondary schools, and overall college and career readiness. Any conversation about education in Boston and the Commonwealth must include Catholic schools. These schools have played an important role in this community for the previous century and will continue to do so well into the future.
About the Archdiocese of Boston: The Diocese of Boston was founded on April 8, 1808 and was elevated to Archdiocese in 1875. Currently serving the needs of 1.8 million Catholics, the Archdiocese of Boston is an ethnically diverse and spiritually enriching faith community consisting of 289 parishes, across 144 communities, educating approximately 42,000 students in its Catholic schools and 156,000 in religious education classes each year, ministering to the needs of 200,000 individuals through its pastoral and social service outreach. Mass is celebrated in nearly twenty different languages each week. For more information, please visit www.BostonCatholic.org .