The Archdiocese of New Orleans has issued the following press release:
Following several months of deliberation, Archbishop Gregory Aymond and Catholic Schools Superintendent Dr. Jan Lancaster have announced that the Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of New Orleans will move forward with the uniform grade-level structure recommended by the 2013 Strategic Plan. This announcement means that by the 2015-16 school year, all Catholic elementary schools will be Pre-K through 7th grade and all Catholic high schools will be 8th grade through 12th grade.
"I want to offer my profound thanks and gratitude to the hundreds of people who have worked throughout this process and for the strong levels of cooperation we have received," said Archbishop Aymond. "All of our schools will be making some sacrifices as part of this plan for the good of Catholic education in New Orleans."
"Throughout this process, we have worked to ensure that the student experience would be uniform across the archdiocese," said Dr. Lancaster. "Our ultimate goal is to foster in all of our schools a safe and Catholic-centric environment in which all of our students have the opportunity to grow spiritually, academically and socially by providing the best experience and resources possible."
Schools that applied for exemptions to the uniform structure were informed last week that the only exemptions to be granted as part of the plan were for elementary schools not able to include Pre-K levels on campus. Dr. Lancaster and the staff of the Office of Catholic Schools are now working with school leadership on implementation plans, which are expected to be finalized by April 30. While all schools will be scheduled to be in compliance with the uniform structure by the start of the 2015-16 school year, those schools having to add or remove more than one grade level will have the option to take a year for each affected grade level.
"If a school chooses not to comply with the archdiocesan grade level structure, it will indicate their choice to no longer be part of our family of Catholic schools," said Archbishop Aymond. "While this would be regrettable and they would be missed in our family, we would respect their desire for autonomy."
To read the final Strategic Plan recommendations or for more information about Archdiocese of New Orleans Catholic Schools go to ocs.arch-no.org.