January 25, 2024  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

—Newly implemented Solidarity Schools Initiative successfully helps students reach grade-level expectations within months of launch—

Archdiocesan Catholic elementary and high schools across the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, spanning Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties, will celebrate National Catholic Schools Week from January 28 – February 3, with special Masses presided by Archbishop José H. Gomez and the regional auxiliary bishops, open houses, and activities for students, families, parishioners, and community members. Now entering its 50th anniversary year, Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. Established in 1851, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles are the largest provider of faith-based education in the nation with 252 schools serving more than 67,000 students in grades PK through 12.

“I am particularly excited about celebrating Catholic Schools Week this year because our schools and students are demonstrating resilience and perseverance,” said Paul Escala, Senior Director and Superintendent of Catholic Schools. “While many area school systems are experiencing chronic enrollment decline, our enrollment has stabilized this year after two years of 4.6% growth since June 2020, the largest jump in decades. What’s more, we launched a new network of schools, Solidarity Schools, which includes elementary schools serving the highest need students in the Archdiocese. This network is focused on reading and math literacy achievement and in its initial launch this year has already demonstrated astonishing growth. I’m very proud of our community of schools and am grateful to all who support it.”

The 2023-2024 school year began with the launch of the Solidarity Schools Initiative, a new school network that embraces a collective approach, in which 18 elementary schools adopt common curricula, intervention programs, and professional development to transform instructional systems and cultivate a culture of literacy in schools facing persistent academic challenges. This work is accomplished with intensive support from the Academic Excellence team at the Department of Catholic Schools (DCS) and is a comprehensive effort addressing the educational needs of the most vulnerable students, both economically and socially, in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

The Solidarity Schools Initiative has demonstrated impact after just one trimester of implementation. Based on standardized assessments from the Success for All Foundation and Renaissance Star, the percentage of students at or above grade level in Reading has increased by 8 points from 30% to 38%. This growth means that 108 students, initially academically behind, have reached grade-level expectations within 3 to 4 months. This early success highlights the initiative’s effectiveness in swiftly achieving positive academic outcomes through the collaborative efforts of DCS, principals, and teachers.

Catholic Schools Week activities in the Archdiocese will commence on Monday, January 29 at 9:30 a.m. with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop José H. Gomez at St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy in Downey. Mass will be followed by a brunch reception with a display of students’ artwork and musical performance.

Catholic Schools Week events will also include:  

  • Tuesday, January 30, Crespi Carmelite High School (Encino) will host a Power Soccer game (Pep Rally at 11:45 a.m. and Power Soccer 12:00 p.m. until 12:30 p.m.) starting Senior, Alex Llauro and his United States Power Soccer Association championship team all of which have Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy – will be playing Crespi’s able-bodied coaches and staff in borrowed wheelchairs. Llauro’s family started the Walking Strong Foundation that was endorsed and supported by Kobe Bryant. Bishop Albert Bahhuth, Auxiliary Bishop for the San Fernando Region, will be in attendance to bless players, staff, and students.
  • Wednesday, January 31, Salesian High School (Los Angeles) will celebrate the Feast of St. John Bosco with a Mass from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. followed by a celebration where 55 alumni from the class of 1974 will be honored and receive a golden diploma.
  • Thursday, February 1, St. Francis De Sales Elementary School (Sherman Oaks) will celebrate a “Day of Giving Back,” where each grade will spend the day doing hands-on volunteer work for various charities including those that serve children with disabilities, refugee children, the elderly, military members, first responders and animal shelters. 
  • Friday, February 2, Holy Angels Elementary School (Arcadia) will hold a Race for A Cure event from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. with the dedication of a tree to Ms. Jennifer Bouvet, faculty member who they lost to cancer last year.
  • Friday, February 2 – St. Anthony Catholic School (Oxnard) will host a “Global Day of Play” a non-instructional day for students to enjoy time with classmates playing various sports/activities. School families will also enjoy a “Trolls Band Together” Movie Night at 7 p.m.

The Archdiocese’s regional auxiliary bishops will also celebrate Mass at the following Catholic schools:

Bishop Marc V. Trudeau, San Pedro Pastoral Region – St. Athanasius School (Long Beach) on Tuesday, January 30 at 8 a.m. Bishop Slawomir S. Szkredka, Santa Barbara Pastoral Region – Bishop García Diego High School (Santa Barbara) on Tuesday, January 30 at 10 a.m. Bishop Matthew G. Elshoff, O.F.M. Cap., Our Lady of the Angels Pastoral Region – St. Mark Elementary School (Venice) on Wednesday, January 31 at 8:30 a.m. Bishop Albert M. Bahhuth, San Fernando Pastoral Region – St. Charles Borromeo School (North Hollywood) on Wednesday, January 31 at 9 a.m. Bishop Brian A. Nunes, San Gabriel Pastoral Region – San Gabriel Mission Elementary School (San Gabriel) on Friday, February 2 at 10:00 a.m.

Catholic education is made possible through the generosity of donors. This year, the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) granted more than 15,000 tuition awards in excess of $22,000,000 to more than 13,000 students attending over 200 schools throughout the Archdiocese. In addition, 4,441 of those awards have been issued through the New Enrollment Initiative (NEI), which is funded by an anonymous donor. NEI has made a profound impact by making a Catholic education possible for more students. Since its inception in 1987, CEF has provided more than 230,000 tuition awards in excess of $264,000,000. The mission of CEF is to provide tuition assistance to the most financially deserving students attending Catholic elementary and high schools in the Archdiocese.

To learn more on Catholic education in the Archdiocese, visit LA Catholic Schools – Los Angeles, CA and follow and For information about 2024 Catholic Schools Week (January 28 – February 3) visit Join the conversation, use the hashtag #CSW2024.