The library at St. Thomas More School near 48th and Grover recently underwent a transformation to become a media center. The focus in the room is now on STEM learning.
Principal Gary Davis says the school is thriving. "As a school we haven't seen enrollment like this in close to 25 years."
St. Thomas More is one of five schools that make up the Omaha Catholic School Consortium. Two of the five schools are at capacity. Three are nearing capacity. In the first five years since the consortium was implemented, enrollment at the five schools has gone up 28%. As part of the switch to the consortium model, three other elementary schools were closed. Davis says education has become more collaborative among the remaining five schools. "It removed competition that we had in terms of who had the lowest tuition and a lot more teamwork approach, certainly the principals working together about things."
Officials say, however, the restructuring is not the only reason for an increase.
Davis says there has been a commitment to reaching families and students at a younger age through programs like preschool and transitional kindergarten. Those programs are synced with the elementary school curriculum to make the transition easier for young learners.
The Archdiocese has taken steps to reach Latino students as well. Beatriz Arellanez is the coordinator of Latino Student Enrollment for the Archdiocese. She and her family came to the United States from Mexico years ago for her husband's job. She says, unlike in Mexico, there are options for financial aid to make private school affordable. She shares that message with families who may be unfamiliar with the educational opportunities in U.S.
Schools are also launching dual language programs which we featured on a recent In the Classroom report.
If you are a Spanish speaker, you can find out more about the Archdiocese, here.