By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
The Diocese of Davenport reports an enrollment of 3,953 students in its Catholic schools, grades kindergarten through high school. While that figure is 31 students fewer than last academic year, Superintendent Lynne Devaney said the small change is likely the result of many factors.
“I just don’t look at this year’s numbers and last year’s. There are too many variables,” she said. “People still seek a faith-based education and we’re here to provide it.”
St. Paul the Apostle Catholic School in Davenport experienced an increase of 25 students overall, with 15 new Latino students included in that increase, said Principal Julie Delaney. That brings the total to 53 Latino students in preschool through eighth grade at St. Paul. “I hope that the efforts we are making from what we learned at the Latino Enrollment Institute have made a difference.”
Another factor in St. Paul’s enrollment was the number of eighth-graders (47) who graduated in spring 2022 compared to the incoming kindergarten class this school year (49). Many times, schools that have experienced a large graduating class the previous spring expect a smaller incoming class the following fall.
Delaney noted that St. Paul also welcomed 29 transfer students to the school. “I think word of mouth advertising has benefitted us as well with our New Family Referral Program, called Let Your Light Shine. This program gives a $250 tuition credit to any family who refers a newfamily to St. Paul’s that enrolls and completes the school year.”
Glenn Plummer, principal at Regina Junior/Senior High School in Iowa City, said, “Historically we have students leave when they transition between sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth grades.” However, in the past few years the school has retained more students. This year’s seventh-grade class is larger than it has been in years. The school also experienced an increase of 18 students at the secondary level this academic year.
For Notre Dame Catholic Schools in Burlington, enrollment was down at the elementary and junior/senior high, said Principal Bill Maupin. “We had a huge class graduate last spring and a smaller class come in (at the junior/senior level),” he said. A much smaller kindergarten class this year affected the elementary enrollment as well, he noted. The school saw several families transfer out due to moves to other states.