catholic schools week
Thirty-six percent of private school students were enrolled in Catholic schools as of fall 2015.

Education is a personal decision for every family. Families have many education options to choose from, and that includes private institutions. 

When considering private education, families may consider Catholic schools. Thirty-six percent of private school students were enrolled in Catholic schools as of fall 2015, according to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES).

The first Catholic parochial school opened in Philadelphia in 1783 and was called St. Mary’s School. Interest in Catholic education soon started to grow, especially during the late 19th century, when the United States welcomed an influx of Catholic immigrants. By 1920, 6,551 Catholic elementary schools enrolled 1.8 million students taught by 42,000 teachers, according to Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE). Enrollment reached an all-time high of 4.5 million students by the mid-1960s.

Catholic schools still present a viable education option for students in the 21st century. Each year during National Catholic Schools Week, which is the last week of January, the country celebrates Catholic education. It’s also a time when many Catholic institutions host open houses and sponsor recruitment campaigns for the upcoming school year. CSW is now entering its 48th year, and 2022 events will include special masses, assemblies and other activities for students, families and parishioners, according to the National Catholic Educational Association. With CSW on the horizon, consider these points of interest about Catholic education.

  • The National Catholic Educational Association says academic excellence is a hallmark of Catholic education, but it is directed in a way to foster the growth of the whole person’s mind, body and spirit.

  • Service is fundamental to Catholic education and is a core teaching of the Catholic faith. Students enrolled in a Catholic school can expect to participate in service projects.

  • Many people are drawn to Catholic schools because of the smaller, more intimate campuses and class sizes. NCEA indicates the average student/teacher ratio in Catholic schools is 13:1.

  • Statistics for the 2018-2019 school year indicated there were 6,289 Catholic schools operating across the country. 

  • Catholic schools enjoy diverse populations and have a history of welcoming and supporting lower-income students. The NCEA says the Hispanic/Latino population accounted for 20.7 percent of Catholic school populations in 2017.

  • While many of the students enrolled in Catholic parochial schools are practicing Catholics, it is not necessary to be Catholic, or even Christian, to attend. 

Catholic schools require a significant financial commitment. Niche, the school comparison and rating company, and the NCEA indicate the average cost of Catholic elementary schools in the U.S. is $4,400 per year, while Catholic high schools cost around $9,840 annually. However, many families feel the cost is well worth it because of the education students receive at Catholic schools.

-Metro Creative Connection

Related Story: Tomorrow’s Hope Foundation Supports Catholic School Students on Long Island

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