FALL RIVER — For the week of January 29 through February 4, 2023, Catholic schools across the country will celebrate Catholic Schools Week, as has been the tradition since 1974.

The past couple of years have been extremely challenging for all educational systems, but never before has the uniqueness of Catholic education been actively sought out by new families.  According to the most recent annual report from the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA), national enrollment in Catholic K–12 schools increased by nearly 4 percent for the 2021-2022 school year, the biggest enrollment increase the NCEA has ever observed.

Despite the challenges of the past couple of years, Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fall River have much to celebrate.  Moreover, the Catholic Schools Office is dedicating this year’s Catholic Schools Week to celebrating the principals who have led each Catholic school through these unprecedented times.  Accordingly, this year’s Diocesan theme for Catholic Schools Week is Rediscover Your Catholic School Principal, encouraging all families to recognize the leadership and commitment these women and men have given to the 19 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Fall River.  For Catholic Schools Week, each school is launching a video narrated by its principal that highlights the unique qualities of that school as well as the beauty of Catholic education.

“Catholic Schools Week is a wonderful way for families to learn more about Catholic education and its unsurpassable value to our country for more than 200 years,” said Daniel S. Roy, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Fall River. “Our Catholic school leaders, educators, and staff members embrace a mission that endures with a new relevance in our time. I welcome all families to view the principal videos as a way to get to know our leaders, encounter our schools, and share our excitement for the excellent work that they do.”

According to Anne Dailey, principal of St. Pius X School in Yarmouth, “Our children have just lived through a very difficult two years.  Not only have they faced the pandemic, they face a society where there is a lot of tumult which creates a situation where you need serenity.  Our students need a place where they are going to be guided by their faith as well as a safe place where they will be taught values and a Catholic school setting can provide that.”

Affordability is usually a major concern for new families as they engage in learning more about the Catholic schools in the Diocese. Christina Duggan, Vice President of Operations for the Catholic Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts, explained, “Each of our elementary schools encourages families to apply to the Foundation to Advance Catholic Education (FACE) which helps reduce the cost of tuition by providing scholarships. For this school year, more than 1000 students have received a needs-based award, which in many cases has reduced tuition by more than 30% and for many schools, this can result in a monthly tuition payment of $300 or less. Awards are determined by a family’s financial circumstances at the time of application. FACE scholarships help reduce the tuition cost and, in the end, families realize that a Catholic education is well worth the investment. Families are encouraged to apply by the deadline of March 24, 2023 for the best chance of receiving an award as funds are limited.”

Another concern expressed by interested families is the availability of special education services for their children.  The Diocese of Fall River has made great strides in supporting all types of learners by partnering with the S.E.A.L. Foundation, which oversees or supports the certified special education professionals across the diocese.  Over 90 percent of Catholic schools in the Diocese provide some sort of accommodations for students who learn differently.

While Catholic schools across the country have weathered many challenges over the past few decades, there is no doubt that Catholic schools are still valued and necessary in today’s educational landscape. Whether a family’s interest in Catholic education is due to the rigorous academics, or for the formation of the whole child, Catholic schools continue to provide students and families with a faith-filled community that lives the teachings of Jesus Christ every day.

For more information about the Catholic Schools Alliance or to view principal videos, please go to www.catholicschoolsalliance.org/catholic-schools-week-2023.

About the Catholic Schools Alliance

The Catholic Schools Alliance comprises administrators, teachers, staff, parents and clergy joined in partnership to educate the children of the Diocese of Fall River in Catholic faith and values. Our schools have a demanding educational culture that helps students from across the academic spectrum reach their God-given potential. With an emphasis on service and respect for the dignity of every person, we prepare students to meet the challenges of today’s diverse world and become meaningful contributors to society.

For more information, please contact Sandi M. Duxbury, V.P. of Marketing and Enrollment, Catholic Schools Alliance, Diocese of Fall River, at sduxbury@catholicsa.org

The Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Most Reverend Edgar M. da Cunha, S.D.V., D.D.
The Bishop of Fall River