St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy Opens Sept. 8 in Elgin
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
August 13, 2020
ELGIN—The new school opening in Elgin could be called a bridge. Because, for the first time in the Diocese of Rockford, Catholic elementary and Catholic high school education programs are being formally and directly connected through the creation of the St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy.
The new school is located in the former St. Joseph School on the campus of St. Joseph Parish here.
St. Edward was created through the closing of St. Joseph and St. Laurence Catholic schools which both faced financial difficulties and dwindling enrollment. 
The new school plan was created to strengthen Catholic education in the Elgin area by creating a natural link to the academic program at St. Edward Central Catholic High School.
“The creation of St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy is a great opportunity to partner with one of our Catholic high schools in providing a strong flow of Catholic education, mission and identity from pre-kindergarten to 12th grade,” said Michael Kagan, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools.
Despite the restrictions and interruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with severe thunderstorms in late July that knocked out power and communication systems, the school is still on track to welcome its first students for in-class instruction on Sept. 8. 
According to the new principal, Dr. Kathleen Miller, former principal at St. James School in Belvidere, “Every nook and cranny of the school has been renewed.”
That renewal has taken place in the form of a deep cleaning of the entire facility, new paint and air purifiers in every classroom and office along with minor repairs to all areas of the building as needed.
Dr. Miller said that a new reading program, Super Kids, will be used after consultation and collaboration with teachers from both of the former St. Joseph and St. Laurence schools. 
A new social studies program following diocesan guidelines is also being developed. New technology has been added including Smart boards in all classrooms. 
Funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, (CARES Act) helped secure new Chrome Books and laptops and St. Edward Central Catholic High School donated Chrome Books and additional desktop computers to the academy. 
Teachers are using these last weeks of August to prepare their classrooms according to state and health guidelines while making them academically stimulating for students.
Dr. Miller reports that even though there are many physical restrictions during the pandemic, so many people in the Elgin community have come out in support of the school. 
“We’ve been so blessed despite all the issues coming up to have volunteers help us prepare the building and grounds of St. Ed Prep,” she said.
Dr. Miller said Knights of Columbus members from the Elgin Deanery have volunteered at the school along with parishioners of St. Joseph and St. Laurence parishes, and family members of faculty have all reached out to her and the staff to help and support “this exciting new venture.”
St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy will use the same green and gold colors as St. Edward Central Catholic High School and the elementary mascot will be the Junior Green Wave. 
Dr. Miller says the school’s website is constantly being updated but its landing page can be found at St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy also is on Facebook.
Registration is open and ongoing. Instruction will begin in person, but preparations are in place for e-learning as needed for snow days or a change in the course of the pandemic.
Dr. Miller said parents will find the teachers at the academy “are very invested in making this a positive learning environment. There are heavy issues in our world. We all are making St. Edward Preparatory Academy a safe and faith-filled place for students to grow and learn that God is always with us.” 
Part of the strength of the new academy is its link to and interaction with St. Edward High staff, faculty and students. Restrictions in place because of the pandemic have put a hold on some plans that will bring the students from both the high and elementary schools together. Programs for mentoring, enrichment activities and shared liturgies between the two schools will take place as allowed with guidance from local and state health recommendations. 
“My prayer is that the collaboration of the two schools will continue to develop and become one in the community. My hope is that our Catholic students, from wherever they come from in the Elgin community, can grow together in faith while developing academically so we can ultimately grow and multiply the Catholic faith,” Dr. Miller said.
“I have to admit, I am as excited about opening St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy as I was the first day I started teaching,” she said.
Info: St. Edward Catholic Preparatory Academy or to register, call 847-931-2804.


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