While inner-city Catholic schools across the nation close in the face of struggles, St. Therese Catholic Academy in Madrona turned its fortunes around in recent years by focusing on a technology-heavy “blended learning” model, bolstered by grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
From the Seattle Times report:
Up until two years ago, St. Therese Catholic Academy, an 85-year-old school in Seattle’s Madrona neighborhood, found itself on the same discouraging path that has led thousands of Catholic schools across the nation to close.
Enrollment in the handsome brick building dwindled to a mere 91 students, or about 10 per grade level. Expenses kept going up. If nothing changed, closure was a strong possibility.
The school’s leaders didn’t waste time tinkering, instead making a series of big changes that helped enrollment reach 173 students when school opened on Aug. 27, nearly double the number in fall 2010.
Part of the turnaround grew from the simple hard work of putting up fliers and making calls, as well as adding a new prekindergarten program last fall. But St. Therese also is attracting families with a new emphasis on computer instruction.
UPDATE: Slog has a different take on the situation.
My brothers and I attended St. Therese (and St.James, when it still had a school) in the 60’s and early 70’s. I’m glad to see they’re still up and running. When choosing a school for my own children I chose St. Joseph, because the academic standards were higher (as was the tuition). However, our experience at St. Joe’s was impersonal, the teaching decidedly so-so, and the concept of learning disabilities in the dark ages. If I had it to do again, I’d have sent my kids to St. Therese so that the thousands I spent on tutoring (due to crappy teaching of math at St. Joe’s middle school) might have gone farther. It took my son going to a public school for his learning disability to be diagnosed, and now he’s thriving. At St. Joe’s it was “he’s just lazy” and no counselor with any skill to diagnose what was going on with him. We’d have gotten the same or better at St. T’s for far less $$.