As the end of summer draws near, Catholic schools in the Fall River Diocese are in full preparation mode for the new academic year. For many, classes begin the week before Labor Day.
“I am looking forward to a wonderful year ahead for the Catholic schools of the diocese,” shared Superintendent of Schools for the Fall River Diocese Dr. Michael S. Griffin. “Our schools have consistently demonstrated excellence both in academic performance as well as in the development of our students’ faith and values, often expressed in service to others. We are excited about the next level of growth that will occur in two high schools that are now working with fully developed middle school divisions.”
In Taunton, the unification of Coyle and Cassidy High School and Taunton Catholic Middle School will provide students with a seamless and integrated academic curriculum for grades 6-12 with expanded opportunities in the fine arts and athletics. In addition, middle school students who qualify will have the opportunity to take courses at the high school level. Over the summer the facility has undergone extensive renovations, providing for the creation of a Middle School Division with its own entrance and designated drop-off area. Administrators have been meeting weekly to plan and implement each aspect of the consolidation including handbook and curriculum revisions as well as the logistics of the day to day operation of the school.
In Hyannis, the united Pope John Paul II High School and St. Francis Xavier Preparatory School will begin its second year marked by increased opportunities in academics, athletics and arts. The school is implementing a unified schedule which will enable St. Francis Xavier Prep students to take courses at Pope John Paul II High School. Additionally, the new schedule allows for the sharing of special assemblies, opportunities, and initiatives across grades 5-12 as appropriate. International students will join the high school student body for the first time this year. Four students from China have enrolled and will stay with school families.
Students returning to St. Mary-Sacred Heart School in North Attleboro will notice that their school has grown, literally. Four modular classrooms were delivered and assembled over the summer to serve a growing enrollment and provide additional space for middle school students.
Other notable changes include the addition of a pre-school at St. Mary School, Mansfield; the expansion of the St. John the Evangelist School, Attleboro, kindergarten program to two classes; and the introduction of a pre-kindergarten program for three-year-olds at Our Lady of Lourdes School, Taunton, and separate age three and age four programs at All Saints Catholic School in New Bedford.
In administration, four schools will welcome new principals: Sean Kane, Bishop Feehan High, Attleboro; Faith Piazza, St. Joseph’s, Fairhaven; Kathleen Simpson, St. Mary’s, Mansfield; and Kathleen St. Laurent, Coyle and Cassidy High, Taunton.
All diocesan school faculties will participate in a development program based on Father Robert Barron’s Catholicism series, gathering to watch and discuss the episodes often with input from guest speakers. Dr. Griffin explained that teachers will enhance their own knowledge of the Catholic faith and be better prepared to share that faith and to discuss aspects of faith and moral issues with their students.
There are 22 Catholic schools in the Fall River Diocesan system: five high schools, two of which include middle school divisions, and 17 elementary schools.