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Catholic schools are growing!

Bishop Walkowiak at St. Paul the ApostleCatholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids are experiencing growth, defying the national trend of declining Catholic school enrollment.
 
This year’s Preschool-12th grade enrollment of 6,454 marks the first gain since the 2000-2001 school year. The 29 Catholic schools in the diocese welcomed 103 more students this fall compared to last year. Kindergarten-12th grade enrollment also grew by one student, breaking an 18-year decline.
 
“Bishop Walkowiak’s strong leadership and support of Catholic schools has helped many Catholic families in West Michigan realize that Catholic schools are an affordable option that promises both a closer relationship to Jesus and a pathway to college,” said David Faber, superintendent for Catholic schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids. “This is an exciting time for our Catholic schools, and we look forward to sharing the Catholic school difference with these families.”
 
The growth in Catholic schools across the diocese can be attributed to the beginning of the Bishop’s Catholic Schools Initiative; a three-year plan with three parts that aims to welcome all Catholic families into Catholic schools. Part of the initiative was the announcement in November 2014 that diocesan scholarship dollars would be quadrupled to one million dollars annually for the 2015-16 school year through the 2017-18 school year. This quadrupling of scholarship dollars included the Welcome Scholarship; where first-time families were offered up to $1,000 to experience the Catholic school difference and enroll their child in a Catholic school in the diocese. The Welcome Scholarship will be available for more first-time families during the 2016-17 school year.