February 2, 2021  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

More than 70,000 students, from preschool to 12th grade, in Catholic schools across the tri-county Archdiocese of Los Angeles, spanning Los Angeles, Ventura and SantaBarbara counties, are celebrating National Catholic Schools Week this week. Established more than 100 years ago, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese provide faith-based education where students receive tools for success in college and in their future careers focused on a commitment to service to their local and global communities. Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese boast innovative programs in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), dual-language immersion and robotics.

“This Catholic Schools Week, I am praying in a special way for our amazing school families and for our principals, teachers, principals, administrators, and benefactors,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez. “By the grace of God, so many have risen to meet the challenge of the pandemic and keep our children learning and growing. Our Catholic schools are truly a treasure, and now more than ever we need to renew our commitment and dedication to Catholic education.”   

Throughout the week, the Archdiocese will release a montage of videos on facebook.com/lacatholics submitted by students thanking their teachers for their exceptional service and support during these unprecedented times. Since the pandemic began Archdiocesan schools transitioned to distance learning, teachers, staff, and leaders of the 232 elementary and high schools in the Archdiocese responded rapidly to ensure that their students they serve never stopped learning.

“The resiliency of our Catholic school communities throughout the COVID-19 pandemic reflects the unique strength of our teachers, principals, pastors, families and students,” said Paul Escala, Senior Director and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese. “During this Catholic Schools Week, we want to express our deep and loyal appreciation to all of our first responders, health care professionals, educators and front-line workers who are leading us through and out of this crisis.”

Currently, daily schedule and structure of distance learning and in-person instruction vary by school location and grade level, but many include religion class with time to share, speak, reflect, and pray, video lessons from teachers, and hybrid classrooms where students learn remotely half of the time and in-person the other half of the time, and some schools have implemented mental health days recognizing the toll of the pandemic on students. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis, 40 Archdiocesan schools in low-income areas have continued their nutrition programs serving more than 2 million meals to children and families in our communities no matter which school they attend.

Since 2016, the C3 IGNITE program has deployed over 25,000 connected iPad devices to more than 155 schools in the Archdiocese through its partnership with Sprint, now a part of T-Mobile and participation from several generous donors. Devices are used to help students and families remain connected during these challenging times. The devices are not only used as a classroom tool by students for their projects, research and homework, but can also be used in homes without internet access, as a mobile hotspot and/or a direct connected device. 

Catholic Schools Week is an annual celebration of Catholic education in the United States. Now entering its 47th anniversary year, CSW has traditionally been held the last week in January. Typically, Schools observe the week with Masses, assemblies and other activities for students, families, parishioners, and community members to celebrate and congratulate. All schools are encouraged to share their activities using #CSW21.

Schools across the Archdiocese have activities planned to celebrate CatholicSchools Week including Masses for students and faculty, reciting special prayers for the nation, while others are honoring essential workers by writing letters and dressing up as doctor, nurses, firefighters, police officers. Some schools will be sharing videos on their social media platforms thanking their teachers, principals, and priests.

Some of the schools that are participating this year include: Resurrection Catholic School (Boyle Heights), St. Joseph Catholic School (La Puente), Dolores Mission Catholic School (Boyle Heights), Our Lady of Lourdes School (San Fernando), St. Philomena Catholic School (Carson), Good Shepherd Catholic School (Beverly Hills), St. Rita Catholic School (Sierra Madre), Holy Name of Mary (San Dimas), St. Augustine Catholic School (Culver City), Our Lady of Guadalupe (Los Angeles), Bishop Montgomery High School (Torrance), St. Jude the Apostle Catholic School (Santa Barbara), St. Catherine of Siena Catholic School (Reseda), among others.

Catholic schools rely on contributions and other support to keep tuition low, so that all students have a benefit. This year, the Catholic Education Foundation (CEF) granted more than 10,100 tuition awards with a $13.1 million budget to students in poverty who attend 220 of the 240 archdiocesan schools. Since CEF was founded in 1987, CEF has raised more than $186 million and awarded more than 170,000 scholarships. Other CEF programs and activities are donor-designated and include the SOS (Save Our Students) Program, Visual Arts Program, Sports Equipment Program, and the Big Yellow Bus Program.

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese are the largest provider of faith-based education in the nation. Statewide, Catholic schools save California more than $2 billion in educational funding each year.

To learn more on Catholic education in the Archdiocese visit lacatholicschools.org and follow instagram.com/catholicedla and facebook.com/catholicedla.

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