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St. Bernadette’s Academy Slated to Close at End of School Year

Parents were told Friday the Catholic academy would be among six schools selected by the Archdiocese of Chicago to shutter in a cost-saving measure.

St. Bernadette Academy in Evergreen Park | Credit: File Photo
St. Bernadette Academy in Evergreen Park | Credit: File Photo

Parents at St. Bernadette’s Academy learned late Friday that their beloved school will close down for good at the end of this school year.

The Archdiocese of Chicago announced on Thursday that six area schools would shut down because of a need to cut $10 million from the budget.

Official word of the Evergreen Park catholic academy closing came to parents and teachers from Archdiocese officials Friday night inside the Francisco Avenue building.

While a diverse school and one that performs well academically, St. Bernadette’s Academy's enrollment had been dwindling for years, said John Dwyer, a Warrior parent and former school board member.

Dwyer and his wife, Eilieen, ushered two children through the academy and have a third in eighth grade who be a part of the final graduating class in May.

"Our kids have done so much in high school and college because of what they had done here (at St. Bernadette’s Academy)," John Dwyer told Patch after the meeting.

The news of the closing is sad but not entirely unexpected, Dwyer said. St. Bernadette’s Academy's current enrollment is about 100 students.

Last year, the Archdiocese developed a plan to stabilize its schools after contributing more than $100 million to operate the school system, according to the Archdiocese's office. Many schools within Archdiocese had shrinking populations of children and had building that did not meet current standards.

A total of 775 children will be affected by the closing of six schools that did not meet the Archdiocese's criteria of sustainability and growth. All six are expected to close at the end of the 2013-2014 school year. Tuition discounts are being offered to the families if they choose to transfer to a nearby Catholic school.

"We are committed to providing a high-quality educational and faith formation experience to every child in our schools, said Sr. Mary Paul McCaughey, superintendent of schools of the Archdiocese of Chicago, in a media release.

The height of St. Bernadette’s Academy's enrollment occurred in 1965, when more than 1,500 students attended the school.

Did you attend St. Bernadette’s Catholic Academy? Share how much you love the school in the comments or post a longer story about your time there in Evergreen Park's Boards.

Nana January 11, 2014 at 11:26 AM
Charter schools would not allow prayer in class, defeating the intent of teaching the children about the religion.
Suzy January 11, 2014 at 11:44 AM
Maybe, but character education could be incorporated into the curriculum, and this is the foundation of all private faith-based schools. A few modifications could be made to turn a closing a private school that was a cornerstone of the community into a high achieving charter supported by public money. Look around you. It's already happening.
Franklin Jobs January 11, 2014 at 03:44 PM
St John Fisher is next.
Eliza January 11, 2014 at 04:29 PM
Turning a closed school into a charter is not exactly as easy at it sounds. While charter schools are "privately" ran they are still performance based. Teaching to data driven instruction leaves very little room for character education and may come as quite a shock for the students and parents. Many parents choose to send a child to a private school to avoid having to their students taught solely to perform well on the ISAT or PARCC test. While I am aware that private schools take achievement tests each year, the emphasis to do well is not as high as a public or charter school. Many times large corporations, who do not truly understand education, open schools with a cookie cutter image of how a school should be run, how a teacher should teach, and how a student should learn. I am a product of private, Catholic education and have taught in both public and charter schools. Public and charter schools are very, very similar and are very rarely the superman people were led to expect.

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