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Changes proposed for Altoona-Johnstown Diocese elementary schools

By: WJAC Web Staff

HOLLIDAYSBURG, Pa. -- The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Altoona-Johnstown announced Friday changes to the way elementary schools in the diocese are governed, by breaking up schools in quadrants, which will each be overseen by a board of directors.

Bishop Mark Bartchak said in a release the diocese's 20 Catholic elementary schools will be divided into four geographical quadrants that will in time be overseen and governed by boards that are approved by the diocese.

Bartchak said the new model comes as the result of the work of a 13-member committee which has been working for more than a year to study the schools and their operations. The committee was appointed by the bishop and included members with pastoral, educational or business experience.

Diocesan Director of Education Sister Donna Marie Leiden, S.C., will be working to find a consultant to lead the development of the new model and for people to work with the schools in each quadrant, Bartchak said. He has also scheduled meetings with parish pastors regarding the new operations for the schools.

Bartchak said collaboration between the elementary schools and the four Catholic high schools in the diocese is a key reason behind the creation of the new quadrants.

"The time has come to make sure we position our elementary schools for a successful future," Bartchak said. "I truly appreciate the dedication and hard work of those who served on the committee and I continue to ask for everyone's prayful support as we work to make Catholic schools an available, accessible and affordable option for families."

The committee saw this new model as a way to promote Catholic education that will work for elementary and secondary schools across the diocese, Bartchak said.

The four quadrants are Altoona, Johnstown, Mainline and State College.

The schools in the Altoona quadrant include Altoona Central Catholic, Saint John the Evangelist School, Saint Rose of Lima School, all in Altoona, Hollidaysburg Catholic School, Saint Patrick School in Newry, Saint Matthew School in Tyrone and Saint Thomas School in Bedford. Bishop Guilfoyle Catholic High School is also in Altoona.

The schools in the Johnstown quadrant include Cathedral Catholic Academy, Our Mother of Sorrows School, Saint Andrew School and Saint Benedict School, all in the Johnstown area, and Saint Peter School in Somerset. Bishop McCort Catholic High School is also in Johnstown.

The schools in the Mainline quadrant include All Saints School in Cresson, Holy Name School in Ebensburg, Northern Cambria Catholic School in Nicktown, Saint Benedict School in Carrolltown and Saint Michael School in Loretto. Bishop Carroll Catholic High School is also in Ebensburg.

The schools in the State College quadrant include Our Lady of Victory School in State College, Saint John the Evangelist School in Bellefonte and Lock Haven Catholic School. Saint Joseph's Catholic Academy is also located in State College.

There are 2,950 students enrolled in Catholic elementary schools in the diocese for the 2013-2014 year.

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Edgar Snyder

Washington Times