The Critical Role of Catholic Higher Education in Sustaining Catholic Elementary Schools

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Phillip J. Belfiore

Abstract

Declining enrollment and increased school closings or consolidations in Pre-K–12 Catholic education, especially in the Northeast, reduce the accessibility and options families have for faith-based education. Catholic colleges and universities, especially schools of education, can take an active lead in confronting some of the challenges faced by pre-K–12 Catholic education. This paper will examine a longstanding partnership between Mercyhurst University and Saint Gregory Parish School of the Erie Catholic Diocese, predicated on moving from a traditional pre-K-8 instructional format to a multi-age instructional format, resulting in reconfigured (not reduced) teaching staff and salary savings for the parish school.

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