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As Catholic Schools Week awaits, local survey reflects blessings of our schools, families in Diocese of Wilmington — Louis De Angelo

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Students in Catholic schools receive report cards each trimester in elementary school and quarterly in high school. The information provides a snapshot of progress achieved as well as areas requiring additional attention. While the report card is not the sole measure of a student’s academic growth, it is an indicator of where one is and where one wishes to go.

In the 2020-2021 school year, the Board of Catholic Schools gathered information to issue a report card on the status of the 19 parish and diocesan schools in the Diocese of Wilmington.

This data is helpful in reporting successes and charting growth for the future. It also allows the Diocese of Wilmington to compare its results to Catholic schools across the nation.

There were approximately 6,316 students enrolled in parish and diocesan schools last year. Responses to the survey were received from 1,416 adults. (Some responses were by family; others by individual parents in the family.) That’s a return rate of 22%, which is a respectful rate of return for an anonymous survey. Here’s what we learned.

  1. My child benefits from attending a Catholic school.75% of the respondents strongly agreed and another 23% of the respondents agreed with this statement. Such a high percentage of agreement is manifested in the support families provide – presence as volunteers and at events, financial assistance through tuition and fundraising events, and marketing the good news about Catholic schools.
  2. How satisfied are you with the following metrics at your children’s school?Safety – 79% extremely satisfied + 9% satisfied = 88%
    Character-Building – 69% extremely satisfied + 15% satisfied = 84%
    Academics – 63% extremely satisfied + 20% satisfied = 83%
    Discipline – 68% extremely satisfied + 14% satisfied = 82%
    Faith Formation – 70% extremely satisfied + 11% satisfied = 81%These results among the highest five metrics of satisfaction in the survey mirror national data about Catholic schools. If we disaggregated the data to reflect the number of years a student attends a Catholic school, we would probably parallel the national trend wherein the longer a student remains in Catholic school, faith formation moves to the top of the list as the primary reason a family chooses Catholic school.Other areas examined included diversity/equity/inclusion (75% satisfaction rate), social and emotional well-being (78% satisfaction rate), communications (81% satisfaction rate) and (administration and teaching staff (82% administration and 83% teaching staff satisfaction rates). The survey also looked at technology, co- and extra-curricular activities, athletics, and resources.
  3. Louis De Angelo
    Louis De Angelo

    Does the value of the Catholic education justify the expense of the tuition?89% of the respondents answered “Yes”; 11% responded “No.” The result points to the commitment parents and guardians are willing to make on behalf of quality Catholic education for their children. Many families are required to sacrifice financially for their children to attend Catholic school, but they realize a Catholic education is a lifetime gift for their children.

  4. What is the most/least important reason(s) for choosing Catholic education for your child(ren)?Academics (47%) and faith formation (22%) are the leading contenders in the responses among eight possibilities as to why parents and guardians choose Catholic school education. The answers attributed to the least important reasons are legacy (62%) and location (20%). So the choice for Catholic school education is made based upon the national theme for Catholic Schools: Faith – Excellence – Service. It depends less upon whether or not the parent(s) attended Catholic school or the Catholic school is nearby. Families choose Catholic school education intentionally because Catholic schools make a difference in the current and future life of each child.This week we celebrate Catholic Schools Week across the United States. We are both grateful and proud that quality Catholic education continues so strongly throughout the Diocese of Wilmington.