For the first time in 48 years Catholic grammar schools in Chicago and surrounding suburbs grew in population, by more than 1,300 students.
“It’s gratifying to see all the hard work in improving Catholic schools recognized in increased enrollment,” Cardinal Francis George said in a statement.
After so many years of declining enrollment, the Chicago Archdiocese hopes this marks a new trend that will continue to see growth.
“For nearly 50 years there has been a story of declining student enrollment in our Catholic schools, and my hope in achieving this milestone of growth is to continue rewriting the script for our Catholic school families and our Church,” Sr. M. Paul McCaughey, superintendent of Archdiocese of Chicago Catholic Schools, said.
The schools note attendance rates at about 96 percent, and a high school graduation rate of about 98 percent. Standardized test scores in 3rd, 5th and 7th grades out-performed the national percentile in every testing category, school officials said, and the average composite ACT score was 23.1, which was 2.5 points above the state of Illinois average.
“Bringing faith, focus and achievement to more families is the result of a commitment to excellence, engagement and energy,” McCaughey said.