January 31, 2019  |  By:   |  Press Releases  |  

This week, more than 74,000 students, from transitional kindergarten (TK) to 12th grade, in 266 schools across the tri-county Archdiocese (Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties) are celebrating National Catholic Schools Week. Established more than 100 years ago, Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles 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. The first Catholic schools in the United States were innovative responses to the growing diversity of a new country.

Today, the Archdiocese is announcing the launch of a new STEM Network to equip and empower students to overcome barriers and embrace new opportunities in their education. The new school-wide approach to STEM focuses on real-world problem solving through a Catholic social justice lens and features parent engagement, university and community partnerships, and flexible indoor and outdoor learning spaces and environments. The program will begin in the 2019-2020 school year at Los Angeles-based elementary schools (K-8th grades): St. Turibius, Holy Spirit-St. Mary Magdalen and Divine Saviour.

“This is a great new development for our Catholic schools,” said Archbishop José H. Gomez. “The STEM network continues our long-standing commitment to providing students with the highest quality education in an atmosphere that integrates learning with their Catholic faith.”

St. John Paul II STEM Academy at Bellarmine-Jefferson is nearly six months away from opening its doors. The new high school academy was designed through the response of families and community members as an innovative model guided by a vision to provide the best of Catholic education with cutting edge technology and teaching practices. With its inaugural class in August 2019, the Academy seeks to form forward-thinking innovators, ready for the real world and committed to serving the common good. The Academy will feature two intensive pathways, a unique academic schedule, and intentional support programs.

“Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles continue to innovate in order to ensure students in our schools are ably prepared for the 21st century world,” said Dr. Kevin Baxter, Senior Director and Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Archdiocese. “While we continue to be impressed and excited about their academic and intellectual achievements, we are most proud of the development of each child’s unique gifts as they are formed in the faith. Education must always touch the heart and soul, as well as the mind, and Catholic schools provide a balanced education to ensure that students don’t just have great careers but lead great lives as well.”

Archbishop Gomez visited St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy in South Gate on Monday to kick-off Catholic Schools Week by celebrating a school-wide Mass in the gymnasium. Before Mass began, St. Pius X-St. Matthias Academy senior Guadalupe Garcia shared her story about transitioning to Catholic school in the fourth grade. 

“You have granted us the opportunities to recognize our significance and seize opportunities to grow as people of faith, and to live and embrace the spirit of what a Catholic education can do for those of us who are seeking our true purpose and striving for the tremendous things God has created us for,” said Garcia. “As we celebrate Catholic Schools Week, I’ve come to realize that I am who I am today because of Catholic schools that have taught me to learn, serve, lead and succeed.”

Catholic schools in the Archdiocese are communities of faith in which the Christian message — with its fellowship, worship, and life of service — is integrated into a comprehensive experience for students, their parents and the members of the school staff. The system began in 1903 with 19 parochial schools, five academies, and a total enrollment of 2,895. Currently, nearly 80,000 students, from TK to 12th grade, are enrolled at 266 schools across the tri-county Archdiocese (Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara) – making it the largest Catholic school system in the country.

For more information about Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, visit CatholicEd.com.

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