NYC Students Leave Public Schools for Brooklyn Diocese Catholic Schools Amid Reopening Roadblocks

Tags: Currents Brooklyn, NY, Catholic Education, Catholic Schools, Faith, Pandemic, Public School, Queens, NY

By Emily Drooby

Helene Nabuco de Moura’s son is thrilled to be at school.

“We love it, we are very happy,” she said.

The family transferred from a public school to Saint Joseph the Worker Catholic Academy in Windsor Terrace, Brooklyn.

“It was very good for them to be in school every day one because he has a lot of energy and a lot of eagerness to learn,” explained Helene, “and the other one because he has a speech delay, so we thought it was good for him to be with his peers.”

Helene wanted her children to be in class and while Catholic schools have been in session for weeks, New York City’s public schools in-person learning was pushed back twice.

Principal Stephanie Germann said they’ve seen about 125 kids come to Saint Joseph the Worker from public schools this year.

“The hybrid model doesn’t work for many parents, especially if they have small kids in kindergarten, first grade and they don’t have access to child care,” she told Currents News.

Many parents felt their kids were struggling to keep up because of distance learning, like parent Molly Watman.

“My second grader is struggling to read because we spent six months struggling and even now to see her two weeks in school and she’s really back on track,” said Molly.

While Saint Joseph the Worker has seen perhaps one of the most significant enrollment jumps,  they’re not alone.

Just last week, the Diocese of Brooklyn registered 274 new students which is an abnormal number for this late in the year. School officials believe those kids came from public schools.

This uptick comes during a difficult time for Catholic education.

In 1970 there were 11,000 Catholic schools in the country, that number has dwindled to about 6,000. Low enrollment is one of the main contributing factors.

In the Diocese of Brooklyn this year, the population in 40 percent of their schools has grown or stabilized. Official believe this new public to catholic school trend is a main reason for the change.