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State of Catholic Education in the Archdiocese of Boston is Strong

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Braintree, MA -- The Archdiocese of Boston announced June 27 that all Catholic schools successfully completed the current academic year and will continue their educational mission next year.

Also, academic performance at Catholic schools continues to improve. Statistics documentation the improved academic achievement can be found in the "State of the Schools" report released by the Catholic Schools Office available at www.bit.ly/Vujsau

"Catholic education changes lives for the better," said Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley. "Our students lead by example, achieving academic success through hard work, contributing to strong communities, and living the Gospel values of care, concern, gratitude and respect for others. Our teachers, benefactors, and families are all partners in this endeavor to help the students realize their God-given potential. It is a privilege and a blessing for us to be able to serve the students and their families."

The Archdiocese represents the second-largest educational system in the Commonwealth, educating over 40,000 students in 119 schools during the 2013-2014 academic year. These schools serve students from all 144 cities and towns in the Archdiocese and reflect the makeup of the local communities, particularly the racial and ethnic diversity of our cities.

Mary Moran, Temporary Administrator for Catholic Schools, said, "The state of our Catholic schools is strong in the Archdiocese: Enrollment has begun to stabilize, there is a strategic plan in place to address long-term needs, and our students are excelling academically. Most importantly, we are preparing young men and women to be contributing members of society through a faith-based education and nurturing environment. We are educating the leaders of tomorrow."

Bishop Peter J. Uglietto, S.T.D., Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Boston, said, "As a product of our Catholic schools and as a parish priest who enjoyed the opportunity to work with students and families for many years, I am proud and pleased by the accomplishments of our schools and people, especially our students. Catholic education is vitally important to the overall quality of life in our communities and provides a path for success for our students in an enriching and faith filled environment. Much needs to be fulfilled going forward, but we are on a sound and well-planned path to preserve and enhance Catholic education for years to come."

Catholic school students in the Archdiocese of Boston outperform their national peers, according to the released report. Elementary school students score above the national average at every grade level on standardized tests of reading, math, science, and social studies.

The report shows that archdiocese secondary schools rank among the best in the nation, offering a full complement of Advanced Placement courses, faith-based service opportunities, and art, cultural, and athletic programs. These secondary students outperform their state and national public school peers on the SAT and in college attendance, as 96 percent of secondary school graduates matriculate to college, including 94 percent to a four-year college.

"The facts on student performance are proof positive that an investment in Catholic education is an investment in the future," said Moran. "Despite recent challenges, the Church's commitment to Catholic education is unabated. We are transforming our Catholic schools to meet the changing needs of communities and students. In places like Brockton, Dorchester, Lawrence, and Quincy, we are achieving these goals by becoming the 21st century model for Catholic schools across the United States."

In another finding highlighted in the report, Massachusetts families are increasingly choosing Catholic schools for early education, with early education enrollment increasing 26 percent since 2004. Fifteen new early education programs have opened since 2010, with another five scheduled to open for the 2014-2015 school year.

"Quality early education programs are essential in forming a solid faith, social, and academic base for students. Retaining these students for the long term stabilizes enrollment and allows our schools to build on already outstanding curriculum and programs across all grade levels," said Chris Flieger, Associate Superintendent for Academics and Mission. "We believe that once a family has made the decision to commit to Catholic education in the early grades it is our responsibility to ensure that these schools provide the quality education that all families deserve in order to keep their children in our schools through secondary graduation."

Since 2005, a diverse coalition of Archdiocesan religious and lay leaders have come together to provide assistance in academic, strategic, and financial planning. These partners include the Campaign for Catholic Schools, the Catholic Schools Foundation, and the Lynch Foundation. In addition, local colleges and universities have played a major role in planning and strategic support, including Catholic colleges such as Boston College, Emmanuel College, and Stonehill College, and public institutions such as Harvard University, Lesley University, and Northeastern University.

These institutions are working with the Archdiocese and local community leaders to transform Catholic schools into thriving learning communities where all students receive a faith-based education.

An example of this is the Campaign for Catholic Schools work creating new regional academies, which are now a model for Catholic education across this country. This academy formation work is part of the Campaign for Catholic Schools' larger mission to revitalize inner-city schools in areas such as Brockton, Dorchester, and Mattapan, for which the Campaign has raised over $74 million dollars since 2007.

Partners also help provide students with financial support. In Catholic schools, the true cost of education is higher than the amount families are charged for tuition, and this reduced tuition is made possible thanks to direct contributions from parishes, donors, board members, and Catholic foundations.

During the 2013-2014 academic year nearly $8 million was made available to students by the Catholic Schools Foundation. Beyond scholarship aid, the Catholic Schools Foundation also assists schools to develop strategies and programs around technology, admissions, development, and school collaborations and partnerships, helping to ensure that Catholic schools will be vibrant centers of excellence for years to come.

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Boston provide families with early education options, quality elementary and secondary schools, and overall college and career readiness.

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