CATHOLIC SCHOOLS IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA CELEBRATE IN-PERSON GRADUATIONS FOR CLASSES OF 2020 AND 2021
– Catholic Schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles to resume on-campus instruction for 2021-2022 academic year –
More than 5,700 high school students across the tri-county Archdiocese of Los Angeles, spanning Los Angeles, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties, are celebrating graduations in-person after a challenging pandemic year. Following safety precautions such as limited guests, mask requirements, and social distancing, the class of 2021 is sharing ceremonies with the class of 2020, while some high schools are having a special ceremony to celebrate the achievements of those students that missed a graduation ceremony due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“On behalf of Archbishop Gomez and the Department of Catholic Schools, I want to offer a sincere thank you and congratulations to the Class of 2021, and to all our students, families, teachers, principals, staff, and pastors who have defined the true essence of our ministry – love,” said Paul Escala, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles in a video message. “This is a bittersweet moment as we end this difficult school year, celebrating the culmination of academic and formative learning, but also honoring those who we have lost and who have suffered during the pandemic.”
Archdiocesan schools transitioned to distance learning on March 17, 2020, as schools throughout the state were urged to close in response to the threat of COVID-19. Teachers, staff and leaders of the elementary and high schools of the Archdiocese responded rapidly to ensure that students they serve never stopped learning. Forty Archdiocesan schools have served more than three million meals to children no matter which school they attend since the pandemic began, serving about 18,000 meals per day to children in low-income areas.
“Catholic schools were pioneers during the pandemic, opening ahead of other schools and showing the world how our ministry can create a safe in-person learning environment for children,” said Mr. Escala.
The Department of Catholic Schools is highly encouraged by the comments of state and local public health officials on a return to full in-person instruction in the fall 2021 and is planning for a full restoration of in-person, daily instruction in the coming school year.
Despite the many challenges, Catholic Schools continued to demonstrate academic performance growth both elementary and high schools. The schools of the Archdiocese administer the nationally normed, Common Core standards-aligned Renaissance STAR assessment for grades K-9th; early literacy for grades K-1st and reading and math for grades 2nd through 9th. For the 2020-2021school year fall and winter testing windows, 92 percent of students participated in the assessment. The following is a breakdown of the scores based on grade level and subject.
- Grade K (early literacy): 74.9% of students met/exceeded benchmark (4.1% increase)
- Grade 1 (early literacy: 69.9% of students met/exceeded benchmark (7.7% increase)
- Grades 2nd-8th (math): 62.8% of students met/exceeded benchmark (4.4% increase)
- 62.5% of students grew at a typical or high rate from fall 2020 to winter 2021 when compared nationally to academic peers.
- Grades 2nd-8th (reading): 55.8% of students met/exceeded benchmark (2.4% increase) 64.5% of students grew at a typical or high rate from fall 2020 to winter 2021 when compared nationally to academic peers.
- Grade 9 (math): 34.3% of students met/exceed benchmark (4.4% increase)
- Grade 9 (reading): 35.1% of students met/exceed benchmark (5.1% increase)
- Over 60% of high school students assessed grew academically at a typical or high rate in Math and Reading from Fall 2020 to Winter 2021 when compared nationally with their peers across the same platform.
*Note: benchmark is 55 (K-8) to 65 percentiles (9th grade), respectively, among national peers.
For more information about Archdiocesan Catholic schools please visit, https://lacatholicschools.org/.
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