NYC Admissions Guide 2015-2016: Catholic Schools

Editor’s note: This story is part of our larger 2015-2016 NYC Admissions Guide, which you can read here.

  • For our story on the Universal Pre-K admissions process, click here.
  • For our story on the Kindergarten admissions process in public schools, click here.
  • For our story on Gifted & Talented program admissions, click here.
  • For our story on charter school admissions, click here
  • For our story on private nursery school admissions, click here.
  • For our story on independent school admissions for Kindergarten and up, click here.

Should You Consider a Catholic School for Your Child?

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York have a success story 200 years long, and today, students are prepared to meet the challenges of the 21st century in 218 schools educating almost 70,000 students. Catholic schools have an often-copied, but never duplicated model that focuses on educating the whole child—mind, heart, and spirit—promoting life-long values that serve students and families. Throughout the diverse neighborhoods that make up the New York metropolitan area, Catholic schools continue to be a sought-after option among families of all faiths and all demographics because of the academic outcomes, values-centered approach, and the safe, nurturing environment that helps children thrive.

Courtesy of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York
Courtesy of Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York

Catholic schools have long been an integral part of the New York City education landscape, with a proven and multi-generational legacy of helping to lift children out of poverty. This legacy and the success of urban Catholic schools stem not only from a tradition of academic excellence, but is also upheld by the emphasis on developing self-worth, moral character, a love of learning, and a sense of civic responsibility. New investments are being made in Catholic schools as a result of Pathways to Excellence—a multi-year strategic plan—and new leadership initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to keeping all regional schools excellent, accessible, and affordable for students in Manhattan, the Bronx, Staten Island, and seven counties north of the city.

Interested families can also find excellent educations underpinned by Catholic values at private schools like Marymount and Sacred Heart. However, the Pathways to Excellence initiative is for Catholic schools whose education is under the Archdiocese of New York.

Catholic Schools Open Doors to Opportunity

In Catholic schools, a love of learning starts in pre-K and continues through the years, with 99 percent of Catholic high school seniors graduating, and 98 percent of those graduates going on to post-secondary education. Catholic schools have served families rich and poor throughout their history, and have a long and proud legacy as a gateway to new opportunities for diverse populations and new immigrants. Graduates have included leaders in industry, a member of the Supreme Court, and countless other civil servants and business leaders who have made their mark in their local communities and beyond. To respond to the demand from hard-working families that desire a Catholic education for their children, new scholarships have been created to keep Catholic schools affordable for more families, including scholarships for children transitioning from a public school and for Hispanic-Latino students. Parents interested in finding out about financial assistance should contact the principal at the school they are interested in.

How to Research Catholic Schools—Information Made Easy with 24/7 Access

Catholic elementary school enrollment is ongoing through the summer months. A newly redesigned website, buildboldfutures.org, provides parents with a more responsive, online resource for “all things” related to Catholic schools, including an interactive school locator map that allows parents to search for a school by zip code, and functionality for researching and requesting information. Parents can call the bilingual hotline at 646-794-2885, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, where operators are ready and able to help parents find the right school for their child, and to connect them with school representatives who can schedule a tour or assist with the application process. To ensure a consistently positive experience and access for all families, Catholic schools have also implemented universal open houses, called Touring Tuesdays, throughout the year to accommodate the schedules of working parents. All elementary schools will open their doors from 9-11 am on January 12, February 2, February 23, March 8, and April 12, or by appointment. Advance reservations are required and can be made at buildboldfutures.org, or by calling the bilingual hotline (see above). School representatives follow up with parents who inquire online or by phone within 72 hours.

Catholic Schools Provide an Early Start toward Success 

Studies show that pre-Kindergarten plays an important role in a child’s future academic achievement. The Archdiocese is a leading private early childhood educator in the metropolitan area, with more than 7,500 students currently enrolled in pre-K programs, including free universal pre-K for 4-year-olds, and affordable pre-K3 and pre-K4 options. Skilled early education teachers and a high-quality pre-K curriculum inspire young children and provide a foundation for success in the early childhood classroom and beyond.

Parents Interested in Catholic Schools are Looking for More Than Excellent Academics

More than simply preparing students for higher education, Catholic schools help mold young men and women of character—compassionate future leaders and responsible citizens ready and willing to serve others—by providing them with the intellectual and moral foundations to build bold futures for themselves and their communities. Catholic identity is the outstanding feature that distinguishes schools of the Archdiocese from their public and private counterparts. The Catholic faith and the values it upholds permeate every aspect of school life. Catholic schools are diverse and welcome children of all faiths, while they cultivate, celebrate and sustain a strong and distinctively Catholic identity. Parents who choose Catholic schools appreciate that the teachers and administrators are grounded in the faith, and will confidently teach and model its ideals.

With a tenacious commitment to educating young people in the faith, today’s New York Catholic schools have retained their academic preeminence in a period of significant change. Despite facing challenges such as declining enrollment and dwindling financial resources, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of New York are working to strengthen and improve Catholic elementary education through a process of regionalization, as part of the Pathways to Excellence strategic plan. Regionalization involves the coming together of most parish elementary schools into geographic regions, combined with expanded leadership roles in school governance for the laity and religious, and the reinvestment of resources back into Catholic education. By incorporating the resources and best practices of the Archdiocese with the interests of local schools, regionalization re-configured the structure and strengthened the Archdiocese’s ability to fulfill its education mission for a new generation.

Fran Davies is the Associate Superintendent for Communications and Marketing for Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of New York. To learn more about Catholic school admissions and to use their searchable directory, visit buildboldfutures.org.