New All Saints Academy Catholic school to unite three north St. Louis County parishes

The Archdiocese of St. Louis will replace parish-run Catholic schools at three north St. Louis County locations with a unified partnership school called All Saints Academy in its effort to centralize schools amid declining enrollment, parish funds and baptisms. All Saints Academy will have campuses serving preschool through eighth grade at each of three parishes, which are St. Ferdinand, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne and St. Norbert. The archdiocese’s Catholic Education Office will run the school. “It’s not like the school is closing and you’re going to have an empty building,” said Maureen DePriest, associate superintendent for elementary school administration. “Those entities close and they get incorporated into a brand new corporate structure.” This is the second regional school the archdiocese has created. The first, South City Catholic Academy, opened last fall and consolidated the parish schools of Our Lady of Sorrows and St. Joan of Arc at the St. Joan of Arc location. DePriest said the archdiocese chose to consolidate these three schools because they are in roughly the same geographic area, they serve similar families and their pastors were willing to work together. All three have seen enrollment declines between 41 percent and 55 percent since 2006. “In this day and age of declining enrollment and struggles with finances, we worked with the pastors and communities of these three places and we made the decision that if we collaborate and come together as one, we would strengthen ourselves and we would be able to improve and enhance programming and the faith formation of the kids,” DePriest said. No teachers will be cut or reduced with the formation of All Saints Academy, DePriest said. School leaders plan to add a foreign language program, electives, technology and staff, including learning consultants, counselors, teaching aides and a coordinator of religious education. The school will open next school Continue Reading

Catholic school set to open in northern New Hampshire

LANCASTER, N.H. (AP) - The region of northern New Hampshire is poised to again have a Catholic elementary school after years without one.Mount Royal Academy North, an independent private elementary school, is slated to open in Lancaster in September 2018. The Caledonian-Record reports an informational meeting about the school is scheduled for Jan. 9, as enrollment for the school is set to open.Jill Colby, director of Mt. Royal Academy North, said Thursday that the goal is to begin as a kindergarten through fourth grade school. Surveys have indicated that is the biggest need in the region.Colby says the hope is to expand to succeeding grades in years ahead.MRA North is finalizing a lease with All Saints Parish for the school to be located on church property.  Continue Reading

Heartless nun fired Bronx Catholic school teacher because she lost use of her arm from breast cancer, lawsuit claims

A mean-spirited nun in charge of a Bronx Catholic school fired a beloved teacher because she lost full use of her arm from breast cancer, a new lawsuit alleges. Wanda Pacheco, 53, was a computer teacher at The Saint Peter and Paul School, located at 838 Brook Ave. in the Bronx, from September 1996 until June 2015. Pacheco herself is an alumna of the Morrisania elementary school, she said. Pacheco was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and successfully treated with surgery and radiation therapy, but largely lost the ability to move her right arm according to the suit, which was filed Tuesday. Sister Michelle McKeon, who had been Pacheco's fifth grade teacher decades prior and was the school's principal, knew about Pacheco's disability — but nevertheless reassigned her to teach gym in May 2015, the Manhattan federal lawsuit alleges. Though Pacheco, who said she loves teaching and wants to return to the field, explained that she physically couldn't teach gym because of her breast cancer surgery, McKeon retorted "That is the job. Take it or leave it. Pacheco was ultimately fired, according to her lawyer, Paul Liggieri of the Derek Smith Law Group. "It was heartbreaking," Pacheco told the Daily News, speaking of her firing and last interactions with McKeon. "I cried a lot because I thought we had a friendship that was beyond work." Reached by phone, McKeon, 71, denied Pacheco's claims. "They're untrue and I feel very sorry for her, and that's all I'm really going to say," she told The News. Continue Reading

Saint Bernard School

In the fall of 2014, Saint Bernard Schoolcelebrated its 50th Anniversary. As we look back over the past 50 years, students have been educated, teachers have taught, parents have participated and educational trends have come and gone. The one constant at Saint Bernard School is that “We teach with love.” That is our mission; that is what sets us apart from other schools. We seek to educate the whole child in a warm, loving family environment. We seek to develop our students spiritually, intellectually, emotionally and physically. We encourage our students to develop a Catholic, Christian personality that is reflected by respect for self and others as exemplified by Jesus in the Gospels. Through our educational program, we seek to develop citizens of the 21st century. We seek to develop students capable of becoming productive citizens of the world, capable of contributing to the well-being of all mankind. In conjunction with our families, our students learn to be accountable and responsible in a warm, loving environment. Family involvement is encouraged and greatly appreciated. Not just the child but the entire family becomes part of the Saint Bernard Family. In addition to our core academic subjects of religion, ELA, math, social studies and science, we offer instruction in Spanish, art, music, physical education and technology on all grade levels. In addition, each child visits the library, science lab and computer lab once per week for instruction. A writing program has been developed for students in grades 1–4. Students in grades 5–7 are eligible for a humanities course. Eighth graders have the opportunity to graduate with two Regents courses completed: Math 9 and earth science. We offer over 30 clubs to enrich and encourage each child’s potential. Each child is treated as an individual and all types of learners and learning styles are addressed. Our standardized test scores attest to the success of our program. For information on Continue Reading

Big East commissioner Mike Aresco says conference will continue without seven Catholic schools, wants to add a 12th team by 2015

Mike Aresco, commissioner of the fracturing Big East, said on Monday that the football-playing members are looking to keep the conference name and possibly add another school to give it 12 teams in 2015. In December the seven Catholic schools, all which do not play FBS football, announced their intention to break away and form their own conference. At the time administrators from those schools - St. John's, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, Marquette and DePaul - expressed an interest in retaining the Big East brand. "Our goal is to keep the name," Aresco said after speaking at the Middlesex Chamber of Commerce in Connecticut. "It's built up a great deal of brand equity despite some of the setbacks. It's a great brand with a great name and has a great history." The Big East agreement calls for departing schools to remain 27 months or pay a $10 million buyout to the conference. The seven Catholic schools are in negotiations to leave during 2014. They plan to add 3-5 more schools - Xavier, Dayton, Butler, Saint Louis, VCU and Creighton all have been mentioned - and to strike a television deal. The Big East is expected to have 11 football teams when Navy joins for the 2015 season. Both Boise State and San Diego State were going to join, but instead decided to remain in the Mountain West Conference. A 12th team would open the door to divisional play and what could be a lucrative conference title game. Aresco told reporters he does plan to expand the conference's national footprint. The Big East's television deal with ESPN is ending and Aresco said the progress on a new deal for the conference might involve multiple networks. "We're getting closer. We don't know when it will exactly conclude, but we're getting closer," he said. Aresco also said the SEC/Big East Challenge - a 12-game slate pitting teams from the two conferences - will not continue. -With News Wires Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

Big East name may live on in new conference featuring Catholic schools from old conference and possibly Butler and Xavier

St. John's and the other six Catholic schools that declared their intention to leave the Big East might be playing in their new conference next season. And they might have the Big East name. Sources confirmed to the Daily News that the separation agreement between the seven schools — St. John’s, Seton Hall, Georgetown, Villanova, Providence, Marquette and DePaul — and the conference is nearing completion. One source said the deal could be done by Friday, after representatives of the football-playing schools meet. Another said the conference’s new television agreement with Fox could be announced next week. Both said there still were hurdles to clear before the deal is done, but saw it as likely. The seven departing schools would be leaving money on the table. The conference as it exists now has funds from exit fees paid by other schools as well as NCAA Tournament shares from men’s basketball, and some or all of that money would go to the remaining schools. Of the so-called “Catholic Seven,” there are five founding Big East members that are factioning; Connecticut is the only founding member in the group not leaving. It is not clear if the exit fees will be waived for St. John’s and the other six. It was initially expected that the seven Catholic schools would remain for all of next season — or possibly even for two seasons, to avoid paying a $10 million exit fee — but Fox needs programming for its new all-sports channels. And so things were expedited. ESPN reported that Butler and Xavier already have agreed to leave the Atlantic 10 and join the seven schools, and they could end up paying their old conference $2 million each in exit fees. The seven Catholic schools also want to add Dayton, Creighton and Saint Louis. All are in the A-10, and how soon they could join is yet to be determined. Currently, St. John’s and the other nonfootball schools in the Big East receive approximately $1.6 million each as Continue Reading

What success looks like for one Central Jersey Catholic school

BERNARDSVILLE - For a century, the School of St. Elizabeth has pursued a lofty goal with concrete, down-to-earth practicality, as well as divine inspiration: Impact the world positively by nurturing children with Christian values. Naturally, a school named for the patron saint of Hungary and associated with the Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish is pursuing this goal in a "Catholic academic tradition of excellence."On Tuesday, Sept. 6, the School of St. Elizabeth kicked off its 100th school year with a 15-year record enrollment. More than 227 students from Pre-K3 through eighth grade are enrolled this year. It's a far cry from the 149 who were enrolled when the current principal, William Venezia, took over nine years ago. Back then, the school had to decide whether to keep going or close. Venezia said they lost $212,000 that school year. He credited the pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Rev. John Fell, for making a strong commitment to keep the school going. And the Diocese of Metuchen came up with a formula to financially support Catholic schools that remain open in its territory."Some churches closed their schools and rented their buildings out. The diocese taxes that rental income by 75 percent and uses that money to support the schools that remain open. So that's a big commitment," Venezia said.In the past decade, more than a dozen schools in the Diocese of Metuchen, which includes Hunterdon, Middlesex, Somerset and Warren counties, have been closed or merged because of declining enrollment and increasing costs.This reflects a nationwide trend. According to the National Catholic Education Association, parochial school enrollment has steadily declined since peaking in the 1960s with more than 5.2 million students attending 13,000 schools. By 1990, just 2.5 million students were being educated in 8,719 Catholic schools. In the last decade, more than 1,600 Catholic schools closed or consolidated, and the number of students declined by Continue Reading

Two Brooklyn Catholic schools to merge; parents concerned about building

Two Windsor Terrace Catholic elementary schools are closing their doors and re-opening as one next year as part of a major restructuring plan, the Daily News has learned. Holy Name of Jesus on Prospect Park West and The Immaculate Heart of Mary on Fort Hamilton Parkway will close at the end of the school year and re-open with a board of directors made up of religious and non-religious staff, officials said. The move is part of the Brooklyn Diocese’s money-saving plan to turn all Catholic elementary schools in Brooklyn and Queens into academies by 2017. “It’s sort of like a marriage - two families coming together,” said Holy Name of Jesus principal Joan Caccamo. Caccamo said she and Immaculate Heart of Mary principal Maureen Rooney broke the news to parents and faculty at meetings on their schools last Friday. The new school - to be called Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy - will operate out of the building on Prospect Park West, with more than 400 students in e pre-k through eighth grade. The diocese has turned to the academy model to alleviate the financial burden on parishes of running schools, diocese officials said. Academies use a volunteer board of directors to oversee school finances and coordinate fundraising and marketing. Saint Savior and Saint Francis Xavier in Park Slope will also turn into academies next year, but will not be merged, officials said. So far, 17 Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens have been converted into academies, officials said. The remaining 80 schools will become academies over the next five years, diocese officials said. “As the diocese of Brooklyn continues the mission to provide excellence in Catholic education, we are excited to work with our parents and professionals who seek to give back,” said Brooklyn Diocese spokeswoman Stefanie Gutierrez. Parents at the Immaculate Heart of Mary school said they were optimistic yet concerned about the move Continue Reading

Archdiocese of New York tells 31 Catholic schools they face closure, have until January to appeal

The Archdiocese of New York put 31 schools on notice Tuesday that they are on the chopping block. The Catholic schools, which are designated "at risk" of losing hundreds of thousands of dollars in church subsidies, include 15 in the city. The archdiocese came up with the list by analyzing factors such as dwindling enrollment, future demographic shifts and test scores. "The work of this committee has made it possible for us to begin to make difficult but necessary decisions that will enable our school system to thrive and grow," said Archbishop Timothy Dolan. The 31 schools serve 4,561 elementary and high school students and rely on more than $12 million a year in subsidies. Pastors of the parishes where the schools are located have until the end of the year to meet with archdiocesan officials and argue they should be taken off the list. Dolan will make the final decision in January but no action will be taken until June. "I'm devastated. I had no idea," said stunned parent Naomi Bollettieri, whose son, Matthew, is a fourth-grader at one of the schools, Sacred Heart of Jesus School on W. 52nd St. in Hell's Kitchen. "I can't understand why we're on the chopping block," Bollettieri said. "It's a good school, a family school. Where are we going to go now?" One of the oldest schools in the city, St. Joseph of the Holy Family in Harlem, established in 1860, is also on the list. St. Pius V Girls High School in the Bronx was the only high school in the archdiocese that appeared on the list. Losing the subsidy would present a huge hurdle to staying open. But "it will ultimately be the pastor's decision whether or not it will remain open or closed without the subsidy," said archdiocesan spokesman Joseph Zwilling. Timothy McNiff, superintendent of archdiocesan schools, said declining enrollment and rising tuition were the key factors in identifying at-risk schools. "We need to allocate our resources where they can do the most good, and support Continue Reading

FAITH IN THE CITY Visiting our communities of belief. QUEENS OF ALL SAINTS

Address and neighborhood: 300 Vanderbilt Ave., Fort Greene-Clinton Hill. Religious affiliation: Catholic Years in present location: The cornerstone to the French Gothic church building was erected in 1911. The parish was founded in 1879. Spiritual leader: Msgr. Andrew Vaccari, administrator since March. Scheduled service: Sunday Mass: 10:15 a.m.; Saturday Mass: 5 p.m.; Weekday Mass: 8:30 a.m., in the lower chapel. What makes the congregation special: "We have quite a family atmosphere in our multicultural congregation," said Vaccari. Largest service: On Easter about 700 people attend. Biggest wish-list item: "We are in need of new air conditioning and new kneelers," said Vaccari. Biggest issue: "To increase the congregation in what is a changing neighborhood and society as a whole," Vaccari said. Most memorable wedding or other service: "On Holy Saturday, we hold the Easter Vigil Ceremony of Light and then later on is the baptism of new adult members," said Vaccari. Longest-attending parishioner: Georgiana Turner, 106 years old. Best singers: Adult vocal choir and adult and bell choir, under music director Teresa Bryant. Highest-profile visitor: Francis Cardinal George, archbishop of Chicago, and Nicholas DiMarzio, bishop of Brooklyn. Most popular after-service gathering spot: "Roughly once per month we gather in the lower church for coffee, food and fellowship," Vaccari said. Favored dress: "A fair number of people get very well-dressed and generally the congregation comes to church in their Sunday best." nOther services and programs offered: Queen of All Saints Catholic School K-8 with 260 students; food pantry 9 a.m. to noon Monday through Thursday; Thanksgiving clothing drive; Christmas Elves program, which collects toys for children; visits to the elderly and shut-ins and The Saint Vincent DePaul Society for helping the needy. Size and character of congregation. "We have around 400 households that are diverse in Continue Reading