Up Front and Personal

Let’s All Talk About Catholic Education

Let’s talk about our incredible history, our relevance today, and the hope it brings for our future. Let’s talk about how Catholic education in Queens and Brooklyn is creating a “Foundation for Life” for the leaders of tomorrow.

The 2023-2024 school year was the best of times and the worst of times.

  • 30,000 students and their families are invested in Catholic education from grades pre-K to 12.
  • Bishop Robert Brennan, with many of our priests, celebrated graduation Masses with all our eighth and 12th graders.
  • Thirteen new principals brought innovation and leadership to our schools.
  • Support for teachers to help students with unique learning needs and inclusive classrooms was expanded.
  • In a time of moral ambiguity, we are seeing a rising demand for Catholic education that reflects our family values.
  • Increased donations have expanded tuition support for families in need.

Our focus is on the ABC’s: Academics, Belief, Character.

Academics: Religion, reading, writing, and arithmetic as well as science, STEM, art, athletics, and music all help create well-rounded critical thinkers.

Belief: Firmly rooted in our Scripture and nourished by the Eucharist, our students are taught the timeless moral values of the Church.

Character: Our students are expected to act differently because of their Catholic imagination that allows them to see grace in all creation.

But with all these wonderful reasons to celebrate Catholic education in our diocese, because of precipitous declines in enrollment and crippling deficits, four Catholic schools closed this year. The best of times, the worst of times.

In the “good old days,” our parents and grandparents didn’t have to worry about keeping schools open. Today is a different story; we need support from everyone.

Catholic school parents: Share the good news of Catholic education with your family and friends. Let them know why you choose Catholic school for your children!

Grandparents and parishioners: Tell a young person about how Catholic school made a difference in your life. Encourage today’s parents to make the right decision for their child.

Pastors, parochial vicars, deacons, sisters and brothers: Continue to make our schools a priority in your ministries. Take time to visit the schools and support the day-to-day life of the schools.

Former teachers and administrators: Consider re-engaging with education through various roles available in our schools.

Parishioners: Consider being part of the school boards. We rely on the lay leadership of our volunteers for their experience in management, legal, marketing, recruiting, buildings, and maintenance. The trustee volunteers give their time and wisdom to manage the direction and operations at the schools.

Donors make this all possible. Donations to Futures in Education give families direct and concrete help toward their tuition. Catholic schools are tuition driven, but tuition accounts for just over half of what it takes to educate the students. It is important to note that most of each budget goes to pay the salaries and benefits of our dedicated principals, faculty, and staff.

Futures in Education raises and awards over $7 million to provide partial tuition assistance to nearly 4,500 students each year. Three out of every 10 elementary school students would not be in our schools if not for this support.

Why not learn more about the “Be an Angel to a Student Program” where:

  • Every donation goes directly to help a family with tuition.
  • A student is matched to each Angel donor.
  • You have a window into their school journey.
  • The gift of a Catholic education radically changes the life of a child.

So, let’s keep talking. Let’s get involved.

Deacon Kevin McCormack is the Catholic Schools Superintendent for the Diocese of Brooklyn.