When the schools and churches in the Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha Deanery of the Diocese of Toledo joined efforts to form the Kateri Catholic School System, the long-term vision was to have all of its students, preschool through high school, on one campus.
The school system’s board of directors recently voted to move the Kateri Catholic Academy Elementary School to existing space at the Oregon Campus beginning with the 2010-2011 academic year.
The preschool and kindergarten will be located in the former convent, which is a separate building on the campus that is being renovated to also include office space. The main building is being separated into three distinct areas for the elementary, middle and high schools.
Currently, the elementary school, which serves students in preschool through grade five, operates two campuses, one at St. Jerome in Walbridge and the other at St. Thomas Aquinas in Toledo. The Oregon Campus already houses Kateri Catholic Academy Middle School and Cardinal Stritch High School.
“The current numbers of students in our elementary grades are not high enough to support the operation of two campuses. As a result, the cost to maintain two aging school buildings isn’t offset by the number of elementary students at each campus,” said Joe Herman, chairman of the Kateri Catholic School System Board of Directors. “While we are bringing our youngest students from two campuses to the Oregon Campus, it is our goal that we will continue to have two classes per grade if enrollment numbers remain the same.”
By centralizing all students at a single location, the school system will operate in an even more cost effective manner with a number of resources being shared among all 600 students. The cafeteria, for example, will provide hot lunches for students over the course of three lunch periods. Other resources that will be shared include computer technology and art and music supplies.
“Bringing all students together at one location makes sense obviously from a financial perspective, but the move also will provide opportunities for older students to interact with younger students through tutoring and class buddy programs to name a few,” said Gerald Schoen, principal of Kateri Catholic Academy Elementary School.
Another change recently announced is the inclusion of grade five into the middle school, which already is housed at the Oregon Campus. This change is not only part of the school system’s single-campus strategy but also supports research indicating that young adolescents benefit from schools devoted exclusively to their education and welfare.
“Forming the Kateri Catholic School System has proved to be successful from a number of perspectives,” said Fr. David Reinhart, president of the Kateri Catholic School System. “While change is difficult, we took the necessary and proactive steps to ensure a lasting commitment to quality Catholic education for our students from preschool through high school. Now, other Catholic schools in the area are looking to the Kateri Catholic School System as a model for the future of Catholic education.”
According to Herman, “The advantages of a school system are not only a shared philosophy on academic excellence and faith formation but also a seamless transition from the elementary school to middle school to high school.”
The deadline to register students in grades preschool through grade eight at Kateri Catholic Academy and apply for financial assistance is April 16.
Visit www.katerischools.org or call 419-693-0465.