Transforming for the Future
Dec 4, 2013
Below is the announcement from Fr. Cory Rohlfing about the changes to St. Jude School for next year. Please see our Transforming for the Future page on the school website for all of the latest information regarding this transition.
Dear St. Jude of the Lake Family,
In consultation with many parents, the School Advisory Council, the Parish Council, and the Finance Council, I have made the decision that effective in the fall 2014 we will discontinue our middle school to focus all of our resources and energy on our highly differentiated K-5 IB program. This transformation is designed to meet the varied needs of our students, our parents and our parish, and I believe it will ultimately strengthen our school.
Two main factors that influenced this decision were our enrollment declines and the associated financial pressures. With an historical average of 60% retention from fifth to sixth grade, we anticipate middle school enrollment to decline even further next year. While small class sizes can be beneficial for learning, we recognize that they can get to a point where they are too small to provide students with the robust academic experience they need and deserve.
Hill-Murray recently announced that it is launching a 6th grade in the fall of 2014. With a complete middle school in place, Hill-Murray will provide St. Jude students with a pathway to continued Catholic education from kindergarten through eighth grade. We are currently in discussions with Hill-Murray on ways they might positively influence our K – 5 offering through shared resources. If this collaboration comes to fruition, our students’ transition into 6th grade at Hill Murray will become seamless as our students will already have benefited from the school’s strengths.
While we will no longer offer a middle school experience at St. Jude, we are not walking away from 6 – 8 grade education. Rather, we are focusing our efforts on enhancing our already strong K – 5 offering while providing a pathway for our middle school students to receive the educational, spiritual, social, and extracurricular opportunities they want and need at Hill-Murray.
This transformation of our school addresses several critical needs for our school to remain viable and our students’ needs to be met. Please know that the decision to transform our school model was not made quickly nor lightly, and while it is firm, the particulars of a K – 5 collaboration with Hill-Murray are not. Your input is important to me, and it is why I am scheduling listening sessions in order to make this transformation successful. Further information about the dates and times of the listening sessions will be forthcoming in a letter from the School Advisory Council, who will be assisting me with this initiative.
I know that change can be very difficult and I hope parents can be supportive of the future of St. Jude. Together we will shape the future of Catholic education at St. Jude. I ask for your prayers for our community during this time of transformation.
Fr. Cory Rohlfing