Schools open doors for discovery week

Students at St. Margaret Mary School, above, took part in a lesson after school got underway this fall. (Record Photo by Kayla Bennett)

Next week, Catholic schools across the country will observe Discover Catholic Schools Week. They’ll offer open houses, tours and activities highlighting their students and faculty.

The Nov. 13 to 19 celebration is meant to provide families with an opportunity to learn more about Catholic schools — from the academics and extracurriculars offered to the cost and mission of the schools.

“We believe that we are forming young people for their future, not just the next grade level,” said Superintendent Dr. Mary Beth Bowling in an invitation to explore Catholic schools (see page A4). “We invite you to visit and experience the welcoming community of Catholic schools.”

The Archdiocese of Louisville schools take a “holistic” approach to education, she said.

“When a child walks into the school, they are a human being with gifts and talents. It’s up to us as a Catholic community to foster those gifts and talents in a loving, supportive way with guidance.”

Bowling said Catholic schools are “functioning at what I consider high levels after two years of interrupted learning.”

That’s borne out by an October report from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, “The Nation’s Report Card.” Data showed that Catholic school students have recovered to pre-pandemic levels across demographics in fourth- and eighth-grade reading and in fourth-grade math. Eighth-grade math lagged behind by 5 points. Catholic school numbers are about 15 points ahead of the comparable figures reported by public schools.

But the interruptions caused by the pandemic have also prompted the Office of Catholic Schools to take a critical look at its programs.

“Our work post-pandemic has been to renew and re-energize,” said Bowling. “After two years of interrupted learning, we have some work to do.”

The Office of Catholic Schools and the grade schools in the archdiocese will be assessing their efforts in four areas, Bowling said: mission and Catholic identity, governance and leadership, academic excellence and operational vitality. She explained that operational vitality relates, in part, to enrollment and the efforts of the Catholic Education Foundation to make Catholic schools financially accessible.

“The balance is critical between those four domains,” she said. “We’re asking our schools to do some reflection, take a look at their programs” through those four lenses.

A full listing of Catholic schools in the archdiocese and open houses reported to the archdiocese are listed in the Discover Catholic Schools special section on pages A4 to A7.

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