By MORGAN MANNS
for the courier
FOSTORIA — St. Wendelin Catholic School officials detailed two initiatives designed to boost enrollment at a public meeting for parents and teachers Wednesday night.
Brian Shaver, director of Parish and School, said one initiative provides income-eligible students with a state-funded scholarship to St. Wendelin in the 2014-15 academic year.
“We’re excited about registration already,” Shaver said, adding that the school screened a higher number of kindergarten students for next year than they did for this school year. “Our enrollment has seemed to increase and this will help it increase more.”
The scholarship, through Ohio Education Choice, will provide about 4,000 incoming kindergarten students and first graders statewide with $4,250 each to attend a private school of the family’s choice. These scholarships can be renewed annually.
To be eligible, household sizes of two, three, four and five must make an annual income of no more than $30,260, $38,180, $46,100, and $54,020, respectively.
For each additional household member, add $7,920.
The first application window ends April 18. The second application window is July 1-31.
Through the second initiative, students in grades 1-12 have the opportunity to attend St. Wendelin for one quarter for free.
“Finance is a major hurdle for students,” Shaver said. “Parents assume they can’t afford a high-quality Catholic education so they don’t even think we’re a possibility.”
He said the idea was borrowed from Fremont St. Joseph, who used the initiative this school year. They had 19 students attend the district for a free quarter and 17 of those students stayed beyond that quarter.
The incoming students using the free tuition will be accepted through the same process as any other student and must meet certain requirements, according to Shaver.
“Who we accept and how we maintain the students is in the best interest of the student body,” he reassured.
Shaver advised that with these initiatives comes the possibility of filling classes and extracurricular activities.
For more information about how to apply for the EdChoice Scholarship or to try one quarter free tuition, contact Shaver at firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-435-6692 or Katie Sakel, enrollment manager, at email@example.com or 419-435-8144.
At the meeting, Principal Mike Amlin listed the goals for the next year, including increasing the consistency of instructional blocks of time with elementary teachers.
Currently, elementary students have block times of 30 minutes.
Amlin said teachers believe this isn’t enough time for students to make progress and that instructional time is choppy.
“We want to create an atmosphere that has less conflict and better instructional opportunities,” Amlin said.
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