Wednesday morning, Tulare’s St. Aloysius School, a Catholic school offering faith-based education to students in grades junior kindergarten through eight, hosted local community leaders on campus in honor of Catholic Schools Week, a national celebration of Catholic education and an opportunity to recognize the importance, the value, and the contributions Catholic schools make to the community and the world.
St. Aloysius School staff, parents and students were joined by Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, Tulare Police Officer Lonzo Anderson, Former Mayor of Tulare and current Councilman Dennis Mederos, and Tulare County Supervisor Pete Vander Poel, for a roundtable discussion to explore the benefits Catholic schools provide to the students who attend them and the communities in which they operate, and what more they could do to further add value.
“Studies have shown that Catholic schools tend to produce graduates who are more civically engaged, more tolerant of diverse viewpoints, and more committed to service as adults,” said Holly Zamora, Principal of St. Aloysius School. “We believe there is a need in society, and a great desire among parents – whether Catholic or not – to have their children receive an education that focuses not just on intellect, but on the student as a whole person. We’ve seen first-hand the benefits that result from this approach.”
When looking at national high school graduation rates, Catholic schools have a rate of 98.9 percent, compared to 86 percent for public schools. Moreover, the percentage of high school graduates who attend a four-year college is 85.2 percent for Catholic schools and 44 percent for public schools.
“We guide students of all faiths to become thoughtful and caring young adults through a rigorous and virtue-driven curriculum, the development of active leadership skills, and an emphasis on personal integrity, ” said Jessica Martin, Kindergarten Teacher at St. Aloysius School.
“When I think about what makes schools like St. Aloysius successful,” said Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux, “I believe it comes down to three main things: Having God in the classroom, smaller class sizes, and the teachers being able to spend less time on discipline issues and more time teaching students.”
In addition to the roundtable discussion, St. Aloysius celebrated Catholic Schools Week with two community service projects – collecting canned dog and cat food, and used towels and blankets for the Tulare Animal Shelter; and writing inspirational cards for Salt + Light Works to include in the meals they distribute to homeless members of the community. Students and teachers also participated in school-wide games and contests, and themed-dress days.
St. Aloysius School boasts a ten-to-one student-to-teacher ratio; students who consistently score well on standardized tests; 100 percent matriculation to high school, and students who are well-prepared to excel when they get there. Its students have access to a robust offering of athletic, foreign language, art, music, and community service focused activities; a technology-rich learning environment, with individual Chromebooks assigned to every student in grades 1 through 8, and Chromebook workstations for its junior kindergarten and kindergarteners. The campus is also home to a 6,000-square-foot student-led garden which serves as an outdoor classroom; as well as a cafeteria with a commercial grade kitchen and an on-staff chef who prepares healthy, balanced meals on-site for its students daily.
“We are currently enrolling students in all grades,” said Zamora. “We have some of the most affordable tuition rates for private schools in the Central Valley, as well as the availability of financial aid packages. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about our school community to contact us, schedule a tour, and ask any questions you may have of our students, teachers and parents.”
For more information or to enroll: visit www.sastulare.com, or call the school at (559) 686-6250.