A restructuring of Catholic Education in the Adams County area has been announced following a 2 year study that was begun in May of 2014. It is the result of the work of over 100 representatives from the parishes and schools involved who worked diligently with a priority of continuing to maintain the integrated, holistic well-being of Catholic education in the Adams Deanery for the parishes and schools.
The result is that a new school will be formed out of 3 current schools and it will be named Saint Teresa of Calcutta Catholic School, after one of the newest saints in the Catholic Church. The schools involved are Annunciation BVM, McSherrystown; Immaculate Conception BVM, New Oxford and Sacred Heart of Jesus, Conewago. Saint Joseph School, Hanover and St. Francis Xavier School, Gettysburg will continue to operate as parish based schools.
The Study on Catholic Education in the Adams Deanery began in May 2014 to address the evolving changes in demographics and the challenges they presented. The goal being that the parishes and schools would work together to be able to continue meeting the needs of their collective students and families.
Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of the Diocese of Harrisburg has approved this plan of action that was derived from the efforts of the local committee and in discussion with the Secretariat for Education of the Diocese.
Bishop Gainer commented, “The deanery study has laid the foundations for the work before us as we seek together to strengthen Catholic education for current and future generations, most especially in an area where there is such a long and proud tradition of Catholic Schools.”
A key element in the announced plan is a structural change from parish based schools to an inter-parochial model. Currently each parish is responsible for the total operation of its school. Under the inter-parochial school program, the responsibility of the operation of a school is placed into the hands of several parishes. The inter-parochial school would be attended by students from all of the area parishes. This approach enables the parishes to use the appropriate resources to offer a sound educational program that fits the available student population. This model has been successful in several other areas of the diocese.
The following changes will be implemented for the 2017-18 school year:
- Annunciation BVM, Immaculate Conception BVM, and Sacred Heart of Jesus schools will merge together under the unified name “Saint Teresa of Calcutta Catholic School” for grades K through 8.
- Two campuses will be used: Annunciation BVM and Sacred Heart of Jesus. Immaculate Conception BVM’s facility will not be used.
- Grades K through 3 will exist as “Saint Teresa of Calcutta, Conewago” at Sacred Heart of Jesus’s former campus. Grades 4 through 8 will exist as “Saint Teresa of Calcutta, McSherrystown” at Annunciation BVM’s campus.
- The Leadership Team will be: Executive Pastor – Rev. Charles L. Persing; Executive Principal (grades 4-8) Mrs. Patricia Foltz; and Principal (grades K-3) Mrs. Donna Hoffman.
This timeline will allow time for the three schools and parishes to prepare for the transition. The process of the merger will be coordinated by the staff of the Education Office of the Diocese.
The Committee will be working diligently over the next several months with the Diocese to establish an administrative and financial structure, board of directors, and fundraising initiatives. Parent and student input will be welcomed on the uniform, mascot, and additional aspects of the new school identity. A timeline is as follows:
- Immediately: Form a transition team of three pastors, three principals and two members from each parish school (Annunciation BVM, Sacred Heart of Jesus and Immaculate Conception BVM) of the new school entity
- November: New Constitution and By-Laws, Mission and Beliefs Statement, and Marketing Plan all established
- Prior to Catholic Schools Week (January): Establish tuition rates
- Formation of Parent Ambassador Committee to establish:
- School colors and mascot
- Uniforms sub-committee
- Activities sub-committee
- Moving sub-committee
- New Home School sub-committee