Sitting geographically atop the Archdiocese of New York, the Dutchess Catholic School Region is on the rise. For the 2014-2015 school year, three of the region’s schools saw an increase in enrollment: Holy Trinity (Poughkeepsie), St. Mary’s School (Wappinger Falls) and St. Peter School (Poughkeepsie).
Part of that success can be attributed to the dedicated volunteer work of Spanish-language parent ambassadors, or “Madrinas,” at those three schools who are helping enrollment through grassroots outreach efforts in the region’s burgeoning Latino communities.
For the first time, two Catholic schools in Dutchess – Regina Coeli (Hyde Park) and St. Peter School (Poughkeepsie) – are offering free Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK), providing a solid academic foundation for 40 children. In addition, more than 75 students are now attending Dutchess regional schools as a result of new regional scholarships.
To ensure Catholic schools remain a top-of-mind option for parents in Dutchess, the region held its first Dutchess County Catholic Schools Fair in January 2015 at the Poughkeepsie Galleria. The event will showcase the region’s Catholic schools, from Pre-Kindergarten through high school, and feature a Touring Tuesday registration station where families can conveniently make reservations for the upcoming Catholic Schools Week Touring Tuesday open house event, scheduled for January 27.
A commitment to supporting parents also prompted the region to implement several new programs, including “Homework Helper” sessions. These workshops, facilitated by the region’s Instructional Specialist, Sara Gonzalez, and aligned with Common Core Learning Standards, provide primary and middle school parents with resources for managing and assisting their children with homework.
This past year, Church leadership paid the region two special visits. In January 2014, Cardinal Dolan celebrated Mass at St. Mary’s in Fishkill, and broadcast his weekly SiriusXM radio show from the school’s gymnasium. In March 2014, Cardinal Egan, Archbishop Emeritus of New York, and Father Brian McWeeney were honored for their commitment to Catholic education. The event, “An Evening of Blessings Gala,” was hosted by Regina Coeli School and held at the Wallace Center in Hyde Park.