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Pacelli announces building unification starting 2018-19

Pacelli Catholic Schools will merge all grades into the Pacelli High School building in the 2018-2019 school year in what leaders are calling a building unification plan.

The Board of Trustees offered its approval on March 24. All academic learning in preschool to 12th grade will be held in the high school building. The elementary building’s cafeteria, however, will continue to be used by all grades.

“Our building unification will continue to foster our close-knit family atmosphere and provide more opportunities for student-to-student mentorships,” said Laura Marreel, Pacelli Middle School-High School principal.

Officials say building unification provides many advantages, including more flexibility in academic planning, and more opportunities for department collaboration, and cohesion.

In addition to the rigorous Advanced Placement class schedule presently offered through Pacelli, online AP courses with Lourdes and Loyola Catholic High Schools, and PACC (Program for Advanced College Credit) classes through St. Mary’s University will be available in the upcoming school year.

Elementary students will also have regular access to science lab experiences.

“This unification changes the focus of resources from building maintenance to educational advancement,” according to a press release.

“Placing students into one building can eliminate achievement loss during the transitional years,” said Marsha Stenzel, Diocese of Winona Superintendent of Catholic Schools. “Interaction between age groups, and the positive influence of older students on younger students, strengthens the school as a community — a community of faith. This is an opportunity for our young people to see and understand the role of faith in each other’s daily life from kindergarten through grade 12.”

Pacelli elementary students will be making the move across the street to the high school starting in the 2018-19 school year. Herald file photo

Pacelli also announced limiting the number of class sections. Once a class is filled a waiting list will be established.

Jean McDermott, president and elementary principal said, “We believe limiting our class sizes and deliberately choosing to be small allows us to provide low student to teacher ratios, a rigorous Catholic curriculum, and preparedness for college. In addition it allows ample opportunities for every student to participate in athletics, science, fine arts, leadership and service opportunities.

“By choosing to be small we are able to provide a comprehensive experience for our students,” she said. “This is an exciting time for us to come together as a school community.”

Enrollment for the 2018-19 school year is now open.