…Thus, the institutional identity of the Catholic school must, from its very core, be unabashedly Catholic. The ecclesial dimension is not a mere adjunct, but is a proper and specific attribute, a distinctive characteristic which penetrates and informs every "program, policy or commitment" of the institution, a fundamental part of its very identity and the focus of its mission. The Catholic School on the Threshold of the Third Millennium
Catholic school enrollment peaked in the early 1960’s with 5.2 million students in 13,000 schools and declined thereafter. By 1990 there were approximately 2.5 million students in 8,710 schools and the overall trend for the following 15 years was a steady decline in the number of both schools and students. Between 2005 and 2015, 1,648 Catholic schools were closed or consolidated (21.1%) with 430 of the closed schools being elementary schools (23.3%), while only 336 new Catholic schools were opened. During that same period, overall enrollment fell by 481,016 students (19.9%).
The vast majority of school closings and consolidations are based on the harsh reality that the ever-increasing cost of the legacy school model has driven tuition beyond the means of many Catholic families resulting in a death-spiral of falling admissions spreading fixed costs over a constantly reducing school population. For many failing elementary schools the conventional wisdom is that the school cannot continue to operate with less than 200 students, an assumption that is rebutted by the Parish.Academy school model.
"Education cannot be neutral. It is either positive or negative; either it enriches or it impoverishes; either it enables a person to grow or it lessens, even corrupts him. The mission of schools is to develop a sense of truth, of what is good and beautiful. And this occurs through a rich path made up of many ingredients. This is why there are so many subjects — because development is the results of different elements that act together and stimulate intelligence, knowledge, the emotions, the body, and so on." Pope Francis, May 10, 2014
"…young people of the third millennium must be a source of energy and leadership in our Church and our nation. And, therefore, we must provide young people with an academically rigorous and doctrinally sound program of education" (Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary School is in the Third Millennium, 2005).
Parish.Academy is committed to reversing the trend of Catholic school closings and consolidations by offering an authentically Catholic, high quality, personalized education at an affordable cost. This is achieved by reinventing the 21st Century school experience, eliminating unnecessary costs and deploying proven research-based blended learning curriculum and affordable one-to-one technology to leverage accomplished role-model Catholic teachers who are assisted by specially trained blended learning facilitators.
There are approximately 17,500 parishes in the U.S. with facilities that represent a long-term investment by the faithful of an estimated $20-30 Billion and an annual overhead approaching $2 Billion. A key component of the Parish.Academy model is the exercise by the Parish of good stewardship by utilizing facilities that lay unused for much of the week. The financial model underlying a Parish.Academy is flexible and allows for the donation of facilities, the recovery of marginal operating costs or a facilities charge that contributes significantly to the overall overhead of the Parish.
In 2014, the mean Catholic elementary school tuition was $3,880 against an actual cost of $5,847 and the mean Catholic secondary tuition was $9,622 against an actual cost of $11,790. With the Parish.Academy model, a parish-based school utilizing existing classroom resources can provide an elementary or secondary school education at a cost as low as $1,500 for a hybrid model or $2,950 to $3,850 per annum for a full time school with as few as 40 students.
In a growing number of States, students attending Parish.Academy schools are able to benefit from "Vouchers", "Tuition Tax Credits" and "Education Savings Accounts" and given the cost-effective operating model, such funding means will typically cover 100% of the costs of attending a Parish.Academy.
"You must not teach just content, but the values and customs of life. A computer can teach content. Instead there are three things that you must transmit: how to love, how to understand which values and customs create harmony in society. For that we need good teachers!!"
Pope Francis, Vatican Radio, March 14, 2104
- If your parish does not offer a Catholic school
- If you are considering closing a Catholic school
- If tuition at your school is more than your families can afford
- If your school requires unsustainable financial subsidies
- If there are waiting lists for schools in your diocese
- If your school does not offer curriculum personalized to each student
You should explore the benefits of opening a Parish.Academy!