Statement of Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office of Catholic Schools on St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School (Lemont), Our Lady of the Ridge School (Chicago Ridge) and St. Benedict Preparatory School (Chicago)
In December 2016, the Archdiocese of Chicago presented St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School, located in Lemont, and Our Lady of the Ridge School, located in Chicago Ridge, with fundraising and student enrollment targets that needed to be met for the schools to open next school year (2017/18). The schools worked diligently with their school communities, and thanks to the generosity and support of school families, parishioners, local business partners and others, both schools raised the funds needed to cover the schools’ budgets for the current school year and anticipated operating deficits for next school year. The schools also secured the minimum required student enrollment for next school year, associated to the cash they raised for next school year. The Parishes and the Office of Catholic Schools are therefore happy to announce both St. Alphonsus/St. Patrick School and Our Lady of the Ridge School will be open next school year.
St. Benedict Preparatory School, located in North Center on Irving Park Road (Chicago), is a preschool through 12th grade school. While enrollment in the preschool through 8th grade program is very strong with 761 students, enrollment in the high school program, 9th through 12th grades, has steadily declined in recent years and is at 103 students for the 2016/17 school year. Over the past eight months, St. Benedict School and Parish leadership and the St. Benedict School Board engaged in a thorough planning process for future of the school and have made the following recommendations:
- St. Benedict Preparatory School’s high school program is not financially sustainable and will phase out over the next two years.
- The high school will not accept freshmen into the high school program for next school year (2017/18 school year). This will affect the 12 students who took the entrance exam at the school in January.
- The 11 students in the rising sophomore class will transition to a near-by Catholic high school.
- The high school program will remain open for the next two school years to allow the rising juniors and seniors to graduate from St. Benedict.
- St. Benedict’s high school program will officially close when the rising junior class graduates at the end of the 2018/19 school year.
- St. Benedict Parish remains committed to the current, vibrant preschool through 8th grade program, and sees this change as an opportunity for an even greater investment in these grades. Additionally, Grades 6th through 8th will continue as a distinctive middle school program, focused on the unique needs of the young adolescent learner, with a diverse range of classes and extracurricular activities.
These recommendations have been reviewed by the Archdiocesan School Board and the Office of Catholic Schools and approved by Cardinal Blase J. Cupich.