Saturday, November 08, 2008

From the New York Times:

As Girls’ School Plans Closing, the Tears Flow

I was emailed by the author of this article to ask if I had any insights to offer before its publication. I advised her I did not have any real useful information or insights but appreciated being asked. After reading this and a couple of other articles on the closing I was even more aware of how sad this is: the school was open since 1856! I feel especially bad for the students there.

A snip from the article:

"Administrators of the academy, run by the Sisters of St. Joseph, said that they had been struggling with low enrollment for nearly 20 years and that aggressive fund-raising and recruitment efforts had proven insufficient. This year’s freshman class has 37 students, down from about 150 in the early 1990s."

An article in The Long Island Catholic adds:

"Brentwood — Years of dwindling enrollment have culminated in the decision to close the Academy of St. Joseph here at the end of the school year, ending a 152-year tradition and closing the only all-girls’ Catholic high school in Suffolk County.The decision has been “extremely difficult on the students and families,” said Sister of St. Joseph Jean Amore, the congregation’s president. “It is extremely difficult for the Sisters of St. Joseph as well.”

"We tried everything,” she said, to keep open the school which serves about 340 students. Grades kindergarten-eight are co-ed; the high school is all girls. The Academy of St. Joseph was founded in Brooklyn in 1856 when Sisters of St. Joseph came from Philadelphia to start a school. The original school was also the convent and, as more sisters joined the order, the convent and school moved to Queens. In 1896 they moved to the current location in Suffolk County, on a campus that also includes the order’s motherhouse.

“Although the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph has subsidized ASJ over the years, it cannot continue to do so,” read a letter sent by the school’s administration to all parents October 29. “Also, in justice, faculty salaries should be significantly improved in light of current economic pressures. In addition, the Member Board feels that a more serious concern is the difficulty of providing all options, enrichment opportunities and special programs that a diverse population needs and deserves.”
Mary Ellen Barrett of Tales From The Bonny Blue House has a new article in The Long Island Catholic on keeping holy the Sabbath:

Sacred Sunday

It is a response to the Long Island Press article I posted about here.