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Third consecutive year of enrollment growth in Diocese of Grand Rapids Catholic schools

September 21, 2017
Smiling Catholic school students in the Diocese of Grand Rapids.

For a third consecutive year, enrollment has grown among Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids. Across the 25 elementary schools and five high schools in the diocese, preschool-12th grade enrollment for 2017-18 is 6,605, an increase of 55 students over last school year.

In addition, this year the diocese has awarded more than $550,000 in need-based Bishop’s Scholarships to approximately 1,300 students, and more than $280,000 in Welcome Scholarships to 431 new students.

“I am grateful to God for the outstanding efforts of our students, families, faculty, staff, principals, pastors and supporters as we have joined together to grow the mission and ministry of Catholic schools,” said Superintendent David Faber. “I am especially grateful for the leadership and vision of Bishop David Walkowiak, who made this effort possible through the Bishop’s Catholic Schools Initiative. His leadership paves the way for welcoming more families to experience the Catholic school difference - schools where Christ illuminates learning and life.”

The Bishop’s Catholic Schools Initiative was implemented in the 2015-16 school year as an attempt to reverse 15 straight years of enrollment decline. It had an immediate impact, with enrollment gains in each of the Initiative’s three years, 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18. In addition, the Initiative has improved affordability through increased scholarships, grown professional capacity to reach out to new families, and fostered the development of the recently announced strategic plan, “Catholic Schools: Bridging Faith and Future.”

During the Bishop’s Catholic Schools Initiative, enrollment has grown by 254 students or 4%. Projections three years ago indicated preschool-12th grade enrollment of 6,071 this school year. Actual enrollment beat projections by 534 students.

“Catholic Schools: Bridging Faith and Future” will shape the direction of Catholic schools over the next five years and continue the work started with the Bishop’s Catholic Schools Initiative. The plan focuses on four strategic areas: Catholic Culture and Mission, Programmatic Excellence, Affordability and Accessibility, and Stewardship and Sustainability.

Visit CatholicSchools4U.org for more information about “Catholic Schools: Bridging Faith and Future” and Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids.

Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids are an alliance of 30 vibrant learning communities (25 elementary and five high schools) serving more than 6,600 preschool through 12th grade students within a seven-county area of West Michigan. Our schools inspire young people to grow in Catholic faith and grace, achieve more in school and life, develop creativity and character, and feel welcomed and cherished for their unique gifts. We partner with parents to awaken the whole child to a world of light and life—that grows better and brighter when children reach their potential.