Choosing a school for your little scholar is always a time-consuming, challenging process. The global pandemic surely hasn’t made this process any easier for us New York parents as we navigate the oh-so-many options for school and try to figure out what school even looks like these days — blended, in-person, virtual, etc. To save you time (and stress!), we’ve got the scoop on Catholic Schools in New York City and Westchester. If you’re considering a Catholic School for your kiddo, read on to learn about how these schools are getting creative with lesson plans, maintaining community, taking safety precautions, and so much more.
First things first, you should know that The Archdiocese of New York invested over $18 million to ensure schools could open on time and without incident for the 2020-21 school year. School principals worked with the Catholic Schools Reopening Advisory Council to draft an opening plan that would get your little ones back onto a regular schedule. What we love about their plan is how accommodating and flexible it is for different family situations.
For example, St. Anselm Elementary School is “offering the option of five full days in-person, hybrid and/or full remote to meet the needs of each family and the implementation of a Social-Emotional Program through a guidance counselor from Catapult Learning.” Catholic Schools like St. Anselm Elementary recognize that a cookie-cutter approach simply won’t work, because each family is different. That’s why, you can choose your child’s learning format depending on what you feel comfortable with and what works best for your family.
While not every family is comfortable with in-person learning, we love that it is an option. Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens have provided five days a week, in-person learning since the beginning of the school year. “Every member of our school community has truly dedicated themselves to keeping our schools as safe as possible in the wake of this coronavirus pandemic, and the results prove these efforts have worked,” says Dr. Thomas Chadzutko, Superintendent of Catholic Schools.
Yet with the pandemic still carrying a lot of uncertainty, some Catholic Schools are currently teaching fully remote. Cardinal Spellman High School explains: “We started in September with a hybrid schedule…In recent weeks we have switched to full remote with the rising cases in the state of New York. It is our hope to be back to hybrid learning on February 1st.” More than ever, we want to know as NYC parents that schools are ready to adapt quickly, and that is just what Cardinal Spellman High School did. While the goal for NYC Catholic Schools is to offer five full days of classroom instruction whenever possible, they are also fully prepared to move to a virtual platform to maintain the health and safety of their students, faculty, and staff.
Speaking of health and safety, you may be wondering how NYC Catholic Schools are taking precautions and making sure that your little one returns home happy and healthy. Maria Regina High School says: “All students are required to complete a daily Health Screening through the app SchoolPass…Students and staff entering the building have their temperature checked before signing in and moving to their classes for the day…Lunches are pre-ordered and individually bagged. We have increased our maintenance staff to deeply disinfect our school building each night after students and staff have left for the day”.
While the classroom certainly looks different this year with social distancing, temperature checks, and Zoom club meetings, the most important takeaway is that Catholic Schools are here to support you and your family along the way. We love how Cardinal Spellman High School started #SpellmanStrong on social media to lift spirits and maintain community online. Supporting families financially is also a priority. St. Catharine Academy says: “The fact that SCA provides an iPad to every student as part of tuition created a level playing field for all students whether they were in school or remote. We created The Pandemic Fund last spring to assist families struggling with tuition payments…We have also provided food gift certificates for families in need with support from the Sisters of Mercy.”
Catholic Schools also support your kiddos by maintaining normalcy when possible. St. Raymond Academy for Girls explains: “The Academy is keeping with traditions such as hosting virtual spirit week and Christmas activities.” St. Joseph’s School was also able to move one of their beloved traditions online: “In a regular school year, we have family coffee houses in our auditorium hosted by our talented music teacher, Bridget Hogan…Virtual coffee houses began in March and have been going strong ever since.” Catholic Schools are truly going above and beyond to not only establish normalcy but continue to grow and develop. Kerry Schmid, Dean of Student Life and Athletic Director at St. Catharine Academy says, “While many schools have suspended their service program and requirements, we have done more than ever before. All of our service opportunities have been done remotely and have provided students with an opportunity to serve others in a safe manner.”
We all know that support also means communication. So if you choose an NYC Catholic School, how will you stay informed with what’s going on? “Our families stay connected to the school community via a number of channels,” says St. Raymond Elementary School, “We post updates of important information for parents both on our school website and on our Facebook page. In addition, our principal Eugene Scanlon emails updates to all parents and also sends home hard copies of announcements…Mr. Scanlon also publishes his Monthly Messages newsletter, which goes to parents and is also posted on our website.” We appreciate how St. Raymond Elementary School provides not just one, not just two, but multiple outlets for communication.
St. Brendan School adds that “teachers are in contact with the families daily; we continue to maintain open lines of communication and supply updates on a weekly basis and as needed.” It’s always great to get to know your little one’s teachers, but it has become more important than ever! St. Brendan School, alongside other NYC Catholic Schools, emphasizes “direct outreach from the teachers” so that you can stay up-to-date with your child’s progress and the school’s guidelines. And let’s not forget the power of social media to connect us — NYC Catholic Schools have made clever use of social media channels to get info out quickly. Maria Regina High School says: “Our social media sites have been growing increasingly active, so parents and extended family members get a glimpse of what a typical MRHS experience has been like.”
Now that you know all about the current state of NYC Catholic Schools, you may still have some more general questions about whether a Catholic School is the right fit for your kiddo. Well, we’ve got you covered with that too.
Here’s the rundown: Catholic values and academic excellence guide NYC Catholic Schools. Students learn in an environment where respect, courtesy, and service to others are always part of the curriculum. Not only do these schools offer Math, Religion, English language Arts, History, and Science, but they have expanded technology in the classroom and STEM programs. The most recent New York State Education Department Examination results show that Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York outperformed New York State and New York City Schools in performance growth over each of the past five years. Immaculate Heart of Mary, for example, has over 90 years of exceptional Pre-K to 8th grade education, and it’s been recognized as a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence.
But New York Catholic Schools are about a lot more than academic results. “When you send your children to Catholic school you are sending them for the community,” explains one parent in a recent Archdiocese of New York survey. Another parent adds: “My children love their school. It is like family to us. They love their teachers. The teachers are the backbone of the school.” Community is a foundation at these schools, and it’s been a top priority to maintain during these challenging times. When asked about how remote learning is going, one parent notes: “Our school has handled distance learning well, and my child still feels connected to his classroom. He’s made growth despite not being in a physical classroom.”
More Catholic Schools
Resurrection Ascension Catholic Academy
85-25 61st Road, Rego Park
Bringing quality Catholic education to children for over 75 years, their students (nursery to grade 8) learn to embrace diversity, while celebrating what unites them – their Catholic faith. We are a 1:1 school with every student having access to their own device. All students receive art, music, library, computer and physical education weekly. Spanish is taught to students in grades 4 through 8. Working parents can take advantage of the before school and after school programs that provide children a safe and nurturing environment in which to complete homework, play and socialize with their classmates. For more information please call or visit their website.
St. Joseph Catholic Academy
28-46 44 Street, Long Island City
St. Joseph Catholic Academy is committed to the development of students of diverse backgrounds and faiths from nursery through 8th grade by providing a well-rounded foundation for future learning and life. In addition to religion class and religious activities, they offer a rigorous academic program, complemented by classes in music, art, library, physical education, Spanish, Mandarin, and yoga/mindfulness. Children are also exposed to co-curricular activities. All instructional areas are equipped with SMARTBoard computer technology, and students have access to a portable notebook lab, and a newly renovated computerized library containing twenty-five upgraded computer PCs. The new STEM lab provides hands-on instruction to all students grades K-8. They also offer the PreK for All program of the NYC Board of Education for 4-year-olds. Now registering for 2021. To schedule a tour please contact Janet Sgritto at email@example.com or by phone at (718) 728-0724.
St. Michael’s Catholic Academy
136-58 41st Ave., Flushing
718-961-0246 (English & Spanish)
347-399-8500 (English & Chinese)
St. Michael’s Catholic Academy is enriched by and reflects the cultural diversity of the parishes of St. John Vianney and St. Michael’s. The total program at St. Michael’s, from preschool through grade 8, is designed to promote each student’s intellectual and spiritual growth grounded in a deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. Programs offered include: STEM, Dual-Language Immersion with Mandarin, Gifted and Talented, Pre-K for All. The Dual-Language Program achieves bilingualism, biliteracy, and academic achievement. Kindergarten through grade 8 students are offered classes in English and Mandarin. In the Gifted and Talented program, students explore exercises that utilize critical thinking skills, inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, and problem solving.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy
111-10 115 Street,South Ozone Park
As one of the most outstanding Catholic academies – with students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade – the faculty and staff of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Academy are diligent in their commitment to the spiritual, academic, physical, social and emotional growth of each child. This can be witnessed in the accomplishments of their students and graduates. The multi-sensory, Next Generation Standards curriculum and cross-curricular instruction ensures that each student’s individual needs are met. Because every student is different, the faculty and staff identify and cater to a variety of different learning styles. Students consistently show outstanding performance in mathematics, language arts and science on statewide testing. All members of the 2019-2020 were accepted into Catholic and specialized public high schools. In many cases students received scholarships. For more information, please call or visit www.olphca.org.
Our Lady of Hope Catholic Academy
61-21 71st St, Middle Village
Our mission is to provide a Catholic education that fosters the spiritual and academic development of each child. The responsibility for academic and spiritual growth is a shared endeavor among students, parents, faculty and administration. Academically, Our Lady of Hope focuses on inspiring a love of learning in its students. The school offers art, music and foreign language classes as well as a variety of academic and social development clubs after school. Aside from a full academic and religious program for kindergarten through eighth grade, the school also has a nursery and prekindergarten program, as well as affordable morning care and after school programs to assist parents with child care. The school enrolls over 600 students and benefits from a diverse national population.