Niagara Gazette — Despite recent news of closings and falling enrollment, Catholic educators said there was much to celebrate as Catholic Schools Week rolled around this year.
Moving past the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo’s decision to close 10 area elementary schools, education leaders say they are working to strengthen the state of Catholic education and the benefits it has for its students.
Even for those that aren’t Catholic.
Niagara Catholic senior Lauren Preti says that despite being an Atheist, a Catholic education is a great fit for her. Having received a private education in California, she says she wanted to continue with it after her family moved to Western New York a few years ago.
“Niagara Catholic felt like a family style school,” she said. “There’s only a little over 200 kids at the school. I can talk to everyone, they know me and I know them. It’s like a family.”
She added that she feels more comfortable in a private school setting, saying less fights and instances of bullying are among the reasons why she values the education she is getting.
It’s the reason Catholic education leaders working to overhaul and better the state of Catholic education.
“I think we did the responsible thing by doing a careful study and making decisions based on the findings,” said Sister Carol Cimino, the superintendent of Catholic Schools. “If we build bigger and better schools then Catholic education would have a stronger presence.”
Cimino explained the population of Western New York has seen decreases in the recent past and there just aren’t enough to fill schools. By closing schools and combining students, Cimino says the diocese is hoping to use its already limited resources more effectively.
In response, diocesan schools are enhancing programming to become more responsive to educational needs. Next year, they will implement the STEAM program, which stands for science, technology, engineering, art and math. This program is aimed at fortifying a well-rounded education, focusing even more on core curriculum guided by Catholic moral standards.