Pacelli enrollment increasing

Published 7:01 am Sunday, September 18, 2016

By Laura Mareel

Pacelli Catholic Schools Principal

The dog days of summer have gradually waned and been replaced with the hint of fall as our days grow shorter and our evenings become crisp with the gentle breezes of autumn.

Laura Mareel

Laura Mareel

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Pacelli Catholic Schools also show signs of the change in season as the halls are once again filled with the excited voices of students as they return for another year of Classical Catholic Education.

Several years ago, the Austin Catholic School system was consolidated into one school campus now centrally located in the former St. Augustine Elementary School and Pacelli High School. This campus, now called Pacelli Catholic Schools, houses all Catholic school programming for grades PreK – 12.

Since its consolidation, Pacelli Catholic Schools has seen continued growth in enrollment as well as a reflection of the community’s changing demographics in its student body. 2016-2017 enrollment stands at 341 students. This is up from 330 students at the end of the 2015-2016 school year. The distribution of students is as follows: PreK-76 students; K-5-135 students; Middle School — 60 students; High School — 64 students; International — six students. An additional section of all-day, every-day kindergarten was added in 2014-2015 and a section of 1st grade has been added for 2016-2017 due to increased enrollment. Twenty-three full time and two part time teachers serve our students. 46.3 percent of our students qualify for the free and reduced lunch program and 45.5 percent of our students are of non-white ethnicity, with over 13 different languages spoken in the homes of our students.

The mission of Pacelli Catholic Schools is to “establish in our children a lifelong foundation grounded in Christ’s love, faith in God, service to community, and academic achievement.” Our vision is to “consistently graduate students who will excel in their vocations and become leaders in service to God and to their community.”

In light of our vision and mission, the Pacelli’s Vision Task Force was formed to define our unique approach to individualize education for our students in an effort to equip students with the tools necessary for success after high school, complimented with a strong Catholic identity. Through the work of the Pacelli’s Vision Task Force it was determined a classical Catholic education was the future vision for Pacelli Catholic Schools.

While Pacelli Catholic Schools is about to begin its second year of the transition to a Classical Catholic Education, our initial efforts have been quite successful improving the overall satisfaction of parents and students, modeling and encouraging critical thinking and increasing student engagement. Some elements of classical Catholic education that you will find at Pacelli this year are: Latin I and Latin II taught at middle and high school levels; beginning Latin instruction in all 1st through 5th grade classrooms; initial implementation of the Diocesan curriculum that is being written in collaboration with Notre Dame’s ACE Collaborative for grades K – 12; Logic, Shakespeare, Classic vs. Contemporary Literatures, Faith and Understanding, AP Chemistry, and Psychology are a few of our specialized high school courses; in-house PSEO through Riverland Community College, Humanities, Freshman English, and Freshman History; K-5 Singapore Math and PreK-2 Super Kids literacy curriculum tools to better prepare children at the elementary level for the higher level thinking skills they will need as they progress through the grades.

We look forward to another enriching, academically challenging, and faith-filled year for our students. If you are interested in learning more about Pacelli Catholic Schools visit our website at, email or call 507-437-3278.