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September 3, 2010


Many Back-to-School Events Planned Across Five-County Area

PHILADELPHIA (September 3, 2010) -- More than 72,000 students who attend 167 parish and regional elementary schools, 17 high schools and four schools of special education within the Archdiocese of Philadelphia will head back to their classrooms on Wednesday, September 8, 2010. Numerous back-to-school special events are planned throughout the Archdiocese to usher in the season.

On Wednesday, September 8, 2010 at 7:30 a.m., Mary Rochford, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and The Honorable Michael A. Nutter, Mayor of the City of Philadelphia, will officially kick-off the start of the Archdiocesan school year at Incarnation of Our Lord Parish School, 425 W. Lindley Avenue. Mayor Nutter and Superintendent Rochford will greet both parents and students, and students will offer a prayer for the 2010-2011 school year.

"We have a legacy in education that spans a century, and have provided more than 15 million students with a world-class Catholic education that challenges them academically and develops them spiritually," said Rochford. "As our world has changed and evolved, so has the approach to Catholic education for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. We are infusing more state-of-the-art technology and 21st century learning practices into our curricula, and our students will notice this as they head back to our classrooms this week."

Rochford will also preside over a special ceremony on Thursday, September 9 at 2 p.m. at Bucks County's new regional Catholic school, Holy Family Regional Catholic School, in Levittown, Pa. The school will mark the union of the four parish school student bodies who have joined together to form Holy Family Regional with an elaborate and symbolic puzzle piece cake.

Lastly, the Archdiocese celebrates innovation with the opening of a new, state-of-the-art high school, Pope John Paul II High School at 181 Rittenhouse Road in Upper Providence Township. More than 900 students will enter the doors for the first time on Friday, September 10 at 7:30 a.m, to experience the latest in educational technology. All students at Pope John Paul II will receive his/her own netbook. Many more parish elementary schools, such as Mother of Divine Grace in Port Richmond, will providing netbooks to students in 5th through 8th grades.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Our Mother of Consolation Parish School, 17 E. Chestnut Hill Ave, Philadelphia, will hold an opening prayer convocation for students and their parents at 7:00 p.m. An ice cream social will be held on the front lawn following the convocation.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010
Saint Andrew the Apostle Parish School, 535 Mason Avenue, Drexel Hill, Delaware County, will unveil its new Lab Learner science laboratory and celebrate the completed renovation of the school's Drexel conference room. The room is dedicated to Saint Katharine Drexel and will provide a meeting space for faculty, principals, pastors and adult parishioners. The school will also have back to school night and an open house at 6:30 p.m.

St. Ignatius of Antioch Parish School, 999 Reading Avenue, Yardley, Bucks County, will celebrate the first year of their Pre K 3 classroom for three-year-old students. The pastor, Monsignor Samuel Shoemaker, will bless the classroom at 10:00 a.m. Also, 7th and 8th grade students will have Latin added to their curriculum.

St. David Parish School, 401 N. Easton Road, Willow Grove, Montgomery County, will celebrate its 90th anniversary. The school will hold a brief celebration outside the school at 7:45 a.m.

Thursday, September 9, 2010
Holy Family Regional Parish School, 2477 Trenton Rd, Levittown, Bucks County, will celebrate its inaugural year with a special cake and milk for all students at 2:00 p.m. Four cakes will be presented in the shape of puzzle pieces, each representing the four schools that merged to create Holy Family.

Friday, September 10, 2010
Pope John Paul Catholic High School, 181 Rittenhouse Road, Royersford, Montgomery County, will open for the first day of school at 7:30 a.m. The state-of-the-art school currently has more than 900 students enrolled.

Sunday, September 19, 2010
Pope John Paul Catholic High School, 181 Rittenhouse Road, Royersford, Montgomery County, will hold a blessing ceremony and dedication at 2:00 p.m. Cardinal Justin Rigali will preside.

St. Francis de Sales Parish School, 39 New Road, Aston, Delaware County, installed new smart boards in every classroom. This was made possible through Home and School Association funding and private contributors. All faculty participated in a smart board training workshop this summer.

Archbishop Wood Catholic High School, 655 York Road, Warminster, Bucks County is the first high school in the nation to have the Exploration 21 Lab Learner Science Lab. The school will also open a piano lab where students will have the opportunity to compose music, see it on the computer and print it.

Bishop Shanahan Catholic High School, 220 Woodbine Road, Downingtown, Chester County, celebrates that 22 members of the Class of 2011 have been recognized as National Merit Students. This sets a Bishop Shanahan record for the highest number of students receiving National Merit recognition in one year.

St. Mary Magdalene Parish School, 2400 N. Providence Road, Media, Delaware County, installed a new lab learner science program and has created a peaceful conflict resolution program, which will assist students in making good decisions when faced with a problem.

Our Lady of Fatima, 2915 Street Road, Bensalem, Bucks County, will hold a six-week workshop with Clay Studios in Philadelphia. Students will have the opportunity to work with clay to create pieces of art, and their work will be displayed at Clay Studios.

St. Athanasius-Immaculate Conception School, 7105 Limekiln Pike, Philadelphia, has made a commitment to go virtually paperless for the 2010-2011 school year. All documents will be posted on the school's website and teachers will have individual websites to post homework assignments.

Saint Andrew School, 51 Wrights Road, Newtown, Bucks County, will begin the 2010-2011 school year as the only school in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the only school located in the Council Rock School District to be named a "Top School in Pennsylvania" by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth. The Center for Talented Youth evaluates faculty members and their demonstration of academic leadership in guided learning, as well as on the extent to which its students uphold these academic standards in their work.

Mother of Divine Grace, 2612 East Monmouth Street, Philadelphia, has installed smart boards and projectors in each classroom. The school also received a grant from The Maurice Romy Foundation to provide additional technology to students. The students in the upper grades will be using netbooks this year.

St. Joseph/St. Robert School, 850 Euclid Avenue, Warrington, Bucks County, has installed new smart boards in every classroom and all 8th grade students will be using netbooks in their daily classes.

Holy Child Academy, 475 Shadeland Avenue, Drexel Hill, Delaware County, will be using the teachings of 7 Habits of Highly Successful Teens to teach students the 7 goals of a Holy Child education. This program will run throughout the year to help give students the tools they need to succeed in school and beyond.

Nativity of Our Lord Parish School, 585 West Street Road, Warminster, Bucks County, held an eight-grade leadership symposium to welcome new principal, Roselee Maddaloni. The group provided her with ideas and suggestions on how to improve the school just before she embarks on her new role as principal.

St. Helena Parish School, 6101 N. Fifth Street, Philadelphia, will receive a donation from Acer of 32 netbooks.

Our Lady of Ransom Parish School, 6740 Roosevelt Blvd, Philadelphia, held a two-day science workshop for 80 teachers through the Archdiocese. The workshop was lead by the AIMS foundation.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish School, 815 Cathedral Road, Philadelphia, will hold a meeting on September 14, to introduce the Math 24 game and the First In Math online program to more than 50 parish schools in the Archdiocese. The new math programs were made possible through an $187,500 grant from Robert Sun and Nan Ronis of Suntex International.

The following parish schools will receive netbooks provided through Title I funding:
Holy Child Parish School, Mary Mother of Peace Parish School, St. Martin of Tours Parish School, St. Veronica Parish School, Our Lady of Port Richmond Parish School, St. Matthew Parish School and GESU.

More than 400 early childhood education teachers and principals gathered on August 23, for a summer conference on engaged learning.

In the 2009-2010 academic year, Archdiocesan elementary students scored an average of 18 to 27 points higher than the national mean on the basic skills portions of Terra Nova testing. The Archdiocese's Powerful Learning Program, implemented across all 20 Archdiocesan high schools over the 2008-09, 2009-2010 school years, used Virtual Learning Communities (VLCs) for a professional development initiative where teachers shared resources for implementing emerging social web technologies in their classrooms. The Powerful Learning cohort is in place for the fall with another 20 schools participating. Our Virtual Academy, which provided online learning webcasts for all of our educators kicks off for its second year in October. For the 2010-11 school year, technology continues to be a top priority in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, as many schools begin to launch netbook initiatives and supporting professional development, including Pope John Paul II High School, where all 900 students will receive a new netbook.

In June 2010, 4,648 young men and women graduated from the high schools of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. The Class of 2010 was offered more than $262 million in scholarships, surpassing all previous records for the Archdiocese, and more than 94% of the Class of 2010 will pursue a post-secondary education.

For more information about the 167 parish and regional elementary schools, 17 high schools and four schools of special education in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, please visit


Meredith Wilson
Communications Specialist

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