Stories of hope for urban Catholic schools are not hard to find. Consider St. Anthony, a parish elementary school in the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. Currently the largest Catholic elementary school in the nation, St. Anthony is filled to capacity with more than 1,000 Latino children in grades Pre-K to 9. Like the now-closed Easton Catholic, St. Anthony is located in an economically disadvantaged urban center that has seen a demographic shift from European to Latin American residents over the past decades. But as Easton Catholic closed its doors, St. Anthony has been scrambling to open new ones. Indeed, the school has grown so quickly over the past decade that the parish has had to rent out office space for classrooms, has added a second campus, and has just opened a new Catholic high school. St. Anthony’s reflects several of the best practices identified by the task force, but the two most important factors contributing to St. Anthony’s success are financial and organizational. First, families benefit from the nation’s oldest voucher program, which allows low-income parents the opportunity to choose a Catholic education for their children even if they would not ordinarily be able to afford private schooling. Second, St. Anthony holds students to high expectations for academic achievement and implements a no-excuses school culture that produces real results in their daily class work, language proficiency, and on national tests of reading and mathematics. As promotional materials claim, St. Anthony School is indeed a “beacon of hope.”Hat tip to Fr. Bill Kurz, S.J.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
My parish's grade and high school has recently gained a lot of media attention because of a Notre Dame report on Latino education. Here is the relevant passage: