CATHOLIC SCHOOLS WEEK | North County school cooperation paying off

Since the Catholic grade schools in North County began working together as a federation in 2010, enrollment has remained steady with approximately 2,000 students in kindergarten through eighth grade. Another 268 preschool students are enrolled.

Five of the eight Catholic elementary schools in the Northeast Deanery of the archdiocese of St. Louis have increased enrollment since the 2010-11 school year. They are Sacred Heart and St. Ferdinand in Florissant, Our Lady of Guadalupe and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta in Ferguson and Christ Light of the Nations in Spanish Lake. The other parish-sponsored elementary schools are St. Angela Merici, St. Norbert and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, all in Florissant. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta had the largest enrollment increase, from 175 to 198.

The eight schools were to kick off Catholic Schools Week with an open house at each school on the afternoon of Sunday, Jan. 25.

"Our schools are communities of faith, service and knowledge, ready to welcome parents who are seeking a rigorous academic program rooted in Gospel values," said Cara Koen, director of advancement for the Federation of Catholic Schools in the Northeast Deanery.

Hundreds of North County families have benefited from the archdiocese's Alive in Christ Scholarship Program, which offers scholarships of $1,000-$2,000 based on financial need to students entering a Catholic elementary school in the archdiocese in kindergarten through fourth grade. For the 2014-15 school year, 526 scholarships have been awarded to students in the eight Northeast Deanery schools, totaling over $850,000.

The scholarships are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, with applications for 2015-16 being accepted beginning Jan. 26. Funding for the scholarships is from an assessment paid into the fund by every parish of the archdiocese. Check with each school for details for how to apply or visit

Teachers from the eight schools participate in professional learning teams, sharing best practices for grade level (kindergarten-fifth grade) and subject area (junior high math, English, social studies, science, art, music, technology and physical education). Principals and pastors from the eight schools and 11 parishes meet quarterly to set goals, with emphasis this year on diversity, fine arts and technology.

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The Federation of Catholic Schools and John Schwob of the Office of Pastoral Planning provided information for this story.

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