Freeport Schools To Unite Campuses
Aquin Catholic schools to be ‘one-stop-shop’ for Catholic education
By Penny Wiegert, Editor
May 6, 2021
FREEPORT—The Aquin Junior/Senior High School located at 1419 S. Galena Ave. here will now become a kindergarten through 12th-grade Catholic school.
In an April 22 letter to parents and Freeport area Catholic parishes, Aquin announced its plan to bring all grades under one roof in what Superintendent Elizabeth Heitkamp called “another important step in strengthening the future of Catholic education in and around the Freeport area.”
To accomplish this new vision for learning, the Aquin Elementary School at the current St. Joseph Parish campus will relocate to the Aquin Junior/Senior High campus. 
The relocation will not include the preschool Catholic education program that will remain at St. Thomas the Aquinas Parish in Freeport.
This model for kindergarten through 12th grade under one roof, while not historically unique to the Rockford Diocese, will be the only such current configuration for Catholic schools in the diocese. 
The new model, Heitkamp says, will offer a host of opportunities to Catholic families in Stephenson County. 
The letter stated that the announced move is “part of an overall strategic plan for Catholic schools in this area” and that it would “form a more robust and holistic Catholic learning environment for students in kindergarten through 12th grade.” 
While all grade levels will share some common areas, the elementary grade levels will operate in their own separate part of the school building while the junior and senior high students will be located in a section exclusive to their needs. 
At the end of this school year, staff will begin cleaning, reconfiguring class rooms and moving furniture and teacher materials from the St. Joseph facility to the Aquin Junior/Senior High building.
The plan put together by Heitkamp and the pastors at the parishes of St. Joseph, St. Mary, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Joseph in Lena and St. Wendelin in Shannon, was approved by the Diocese of Rockford and will be effective beginning with the 2021-22 school year.
Heitkamp said that the move “will help all grade levels to benefit from sharing resources, increase higher learning opportunities with greater access to materials and staff. 
“This concept will also provide greater mentoring and service opportunities in our Big Dawgs, Little Dawgs programs, in addition to providing greater safety and convenience for students and families,” she added. “We are very excited to bring a one faith, one campus concept to Aquin Schools beginning with the 2021-2022 school year.
“My prayer is that you join me and our dedicated area priests, in welcoming this wonderful opportunity to reinvigorate our program and our mission both now and in the years to come,” Heitkamp continued. 
“This plan is sure to help our students and our community grow strong together in all those things that Aquin schools stand for: knowledge, respect, responsibility, faith, leadership, service and character,” she said.
Registration for the Aquin 2021-2022 school began April 26. 
For more details about Aquin Catholic School and registration call 815-235-3185 or visit


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