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All Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools Ready to Open This Fall New Preschool Programs, Additional Grade Levels, a New Middle School and an Initiative Mark Changes

All 256 Catholic elementary and high schools in Cook and Lake counties will open for the 2010-2011 school year that will bring additions, expansions and innovative programming to a number of schools. The announcement was made today by Sr. M. Paul McCaughey, OP, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Chicago.

“All schools reopening is only a part of the good news for families,” noted Sr. McCaughey. “School leaders are helping us define the ultimate goal of more students in great Catholic schools. Faith, academic excellence and enrollment intersect beyond school buildings”

New Preschool Programs

All 211 Catholic elementary schools currently offer Kindergarten programs and 94 percent offer Preschool programs. The 2010-2011 school year marks the opening of four new preschools in the Archdiocese. This fall, Santa Maria del Popolo School in Mundelein, St. Ann School in Lansing, St. Gilbert School in Grayslake, and St. Mary of the Annunciation School in Fremont Center will open their doors to three and four-year- old children. Patricia Strang, Santa Maria del Popolo’s Principal, says, “The opening of our Preschool this year is a dream come true. It is a faith-based academic program for young learners.” The addition of these four preschools increases the Archdiocesan total to 199.

St. Nicholas Ukrainian Cathedral School, St. Angela School, St. Benedict School, and St. Stanislaus Kostka School plan to expand their preschool programs and add additional classrooms.

New Middle School

Frassati Catholic Academy in Wauconda will open its doors for the first time this fall. The school is sponsored by three local parishes: Santa Maria del Popolo in Mundelein, St. Mary of the Annunciation in Fremont Center and Transfiguration in Wauconda. Frassati Academy will house sixth, seventh and eighth grade classes and will be particularly focused on math, science and technology studies, along with providing a vibrant religious education. The name Frassati was chosen to align the school with the Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, a modern model for Catholic youth.

New Construction

Immaculate Conception School (North Park) opened in 2002 with its inaugural preschool class. A new grade was added annually, and in the 2010-2011 school year, Immaculate Conception will have a full roster of grades. The Preschool to 8th grade will have 330 students filling its classrooms. Construction is currently taking place near St. Joseph Church at the former site of Byrd School, which will house upper grade students.

In 2004, Old St. Mary’s School in the South Loop opened its doors to its first preschool class of 18 children. For the 2010-2011 school year, Old St. Mary’s will serve over 200 students in Preschool through fifth grade. Additional grades are being added each year until the school is a complete elementary school. Ground was broken last spring on an extensive new addition on South Michigan Avenue.

St. Josaphat School on Southport near Fullerton, is currently remodeling and modernizing the classic, century-old school building and constructing an additional wing due to its growing enrollment. By 2011- 2012, St. Jospahat plans to add four additional homeroom classrooms, new music and art rooms and an updated library and media center.

St. Matthias/Transfiguration on North Claremonthas experienced a rapid growth at the Preschool level. There are currently four preschool classrooms and the school is exploring options for expansion during the 2010-2011 school year.

Archdiocese of Chicago Launches New Initiative

The Archdiocese of Chicago Board of Catholic Schools recently launched an initiative to strengthen the vitality of select Catholic schools. There are 15 schools in the project, ten of which have projected enrollments of 200 or more students.

Schools in the “board initiative” will no longer function under the authority of the parish, but will operate under the leadership of the superintendent and assistant superintendents. In addition, the Office of Catholic Schools will provide more support and resources to the schools. Parishes will continue to support the schools as a vital ministry and pastors will remain focused on the spiritual formation of the school community. Michael Johnson, Principal at St. Christopher School in Midlothian, says of the initiative, “We are excited about the new possibilities and opportunities that being a board initiative school brings. Under this new model of leadership, we are looking forward to continuing to grow as a school.”

One-third of Catholic schools in the Archdiocese saw enrollment growth last year and school officials are projecting that number to increase this Fall. The new preschool programs, additional grade levels and innovative programming will continue to strengthen schools and create new opportunities for growth.

For more information or to locate a Catholic elementary or high school in Cook or Lake counties visit

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