A year after discussion began, three north St. Louis County Catholic schools will be entering into a new partnership model of governance.
All Saints Academy will bring together St. Ferdinand, St. Norbert and St. Rose Philippine Duchesne Schools in Florissant. Each of the schools will continue to offer preschool through eighth grade at their own sites for the 2018-19 school year. The name of the new partnership school was announced Jan. 25, just before the beginning of Catholic Schools Week.
"I enthusiastically support the creation of this partnership school in Florissant," Archbishop Robert J. Carlson wrote in a letter to parishioners and school families. "Just as in our past, Florissant is again leading the way in ensuring that the Catholic Church in St. Louis continues to provide quality faith formation and academic programs for future generations."
Under the model, the schools are operated by the sponsoring parishes and the archdiocese. The move also ensures that educational and religious educational programs are of similar quality in all of the schools, including staffing and programs.
While the school will operate at three sites, the entire entity will be governed by a board of directors, which includes Rick Danzeisen, who was hired in August as director of North County Catholic elementary schools. The board held its first orientation meeting Jan. 17.
Maureen DePriest, associate superintendent for elementary school administration, noted that a year of discussions at town hall meetings held at North County parishes, guidance from Archdiocesan School Oversight Committee, a Parent Oversight Committee, and lessons learned from the new South City Catholic Academy put everything on the right track for the new partnership school to debut next year.
Additionally, DePriest and Danzeisen noted that the Federation of Catholic Schools in North County, which formed in 2010 as a gateway to increasing the viability, affordability and accessibility of quality Catholic education in North County, already has a well-established foundation for collaboration that feeds into the partnership aspect of the new school. The federation now includes all 10 schools in the North County Deanery (see related item) and facilitates collaboration among the schools with resources and reduces competition among schools for funding and enrollment.
As director of North County Catholic elementary schools, Danzeisen, a former principal and teacher for 43 years, will oversee all 10 schools in the deanery, but will be working most closely with the new partnership model school in Florissant. As the main point of contact, he will be working with them on religious and academic curriculum, school personnel, accreditation and school improvement, developing and monitoring budgets with pastors, fundraising and development and facilities.
Next year, the new partnership school will have a full-time nurse, counselor and learning consultant at each site and a coordinator of religious education to work with all three sites. The school also will begin offering Spanish and will get new textbooks for math and religion.
"In North County, there has been a willingness to come to the table and have crucial conversations," DePriest noted. "They've had a very close relationship among the schools because of the work of the federation, led by various pastor/principal teams, along with Cara Koen, the federation development director. The federation has always kept the focus on what will benefit the kids. We're building off of a great foundation and moving forward."
"Hopefully this will boost the knowledge of how important Catholic education is in North County and that this will continue the renaissance there," Danzeisen said.
>> All Saints Academy in Florissant
• St. Ferdinand
• St. Norbert
• St. Rose Philippine Duchesne
>> Federation of Catholic Schools in North County
• Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, Ferguson
• Christ, Light of the Nations, Spanish Lake
• Our Lady of Guadalupe, Ferguson
• Sacred Heart, Florissant
• Holy Spirit, Maryland Heights
• Holy Trinity, St. Ann
• St. Ann, Normandy
• St. Ferdinand, Florissant*
• St. Norbert, Florissant*
• St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Florissant*
* All Saints Academy beginning in 2018-19