Parishes Enter School Agreement
Pastors from eight Rockford parishes ink an agreement to support a new school scheduled to open in the 2019-20 academic year.
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
May 31, 2018
ROCKFORD—Eight pastors gathered May 15 at Bishop Lane Retreat Center, where several were on retreat, to sign an historic agreement to form and to financially and spiritually support a new school in Rockford. The new school will be located on the campus of St. James Parish. 
Pastors from the Cathedral of St. Peter, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Bernadette, St. Edward, St. James, St. Patrick, SS. Peter and Paul, and St. Stanislaus Kostka parishes gathered to finalize the agreement with Msgr. Glenn Nelson, Vicar General of the Rockford Diocese, and representatives from the diocesan offices of Finance and Catholic Education.
The agreement will bring together students from four schools — the Cathedral of St. Peter, St. Bernadette, St. James and St. Edward — into one school. 
The yet-to-be named school now formally becomes the designated school for all eight parishes beginning with the 2019-2020 school year.  
Mike Kagan, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Rockford, said the agreement replaces the one-parish, one-school model for the eight parishes. 
The new model not only helps address the challenges of shrinking populations and enrollments at the four schools but also provides the resources necessary to build a 21st century global curriculum for Catholic families at all eight parishes, he added.
The first transition in forming a new school is to bring the pre-school and kindergarten classes from St. Bernadette, St. James, and the Cathedral of St. Peter into the St. James campus. None of the three schools have enough students to operate its own program for 2018-2019.
St. Edward will continue its pre-school and kindergarten at their campus.  Each school will use the next academic year to begin the transition to the new school by honoring their old traditions and begin building momentum for new ones including announcing the name of the new school, choosing a logo, mascot and school colors. 
The next year will also allow the Joints Schools Committee for the consolidation to fine-tune details for the new curriculum that will include a strong STEM (Science, Technology and Math) Program along with Project Lead the Way (currently used at the Cathedral of St. Peter) curriculum for struggling and accelerated learners along with new opportunities for language and fine arts.
Msgr. Nelson and Kagan thanked the priests for their willingness to come together in the consolidation and said “it will be very exciting for parents and students of the new Rockford school to know they have the spiritual guidance and support of practically an entire city behind them as they grow in faith and knowledge at the new school.”
A name for the new school should be announced in mid-June.