Yesterday's D&C ran a story focusing on a new Catholic middle school to be located in the City of Rochester whose mission will be the education of underprivileged children. Nativity Preparatory Academy, a joint effort of the Jesuits of the New York Province and the Sisters of Saint Joseph, will be co-ed but will teach girls and boys in separate classrooms.
A spokesperson said that a committee has looked at several Catholic school buildings in the city and expects to select a site soon. After-school programs will be offered in 2008-09 and fifth- and sixth-graders will be admitted in September 2009. A seventh grade will be added in 2010 and an eighth grade in 2011.
Tuition is expected to be in the range of $300 to $400 per year and no child will be turned away because his or her family cannot pay.
A couple of weeks ago, while this story was still pretty much in the rumor stage, a parent with children at a Catholic school about to be closed sent me an email that read, in part,
The Jesuits are picking up where the diocese left off. ... The diocese would not see this venture as competition because these are the students the diocese doesn't want. Ours, who can afford full tuition, are the ones they don't want to have to compete to keep.
I choose to look at the positives:
1. They are educating a group that would be left out under the current "plan".
2. They will be helping a city parish survive.
3. Any school that opens independently of the diocesan system and succeeds will set a precedent.
To which I can only say, Amen.