The Diocese of Brooklyn Office of the Superintendent – Catholic School Support Services today announced six Catholic academies, located in Brooklyn and Queens, will permanently close, effective August 31, 2020. The devastating effects of the COVID-19 crisis on enrollment and finances, an issue faced by many Catholic schools in the region and across the country, made it impossible for them to reopen for the coming school year.
The following Catholic academies will not reopen:
- Queen of the Rosary in Williamsburg, Brooklyn
- St. Gregory the Great in Crown Heights/Flatbush, Brooklyn
- Our Lady’s Catholic Academy in South Ozone Park, Queens
- Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach, Queens
- Holy Trinity Catholic Academy in Whitestone, Queens
- St. Mel’s Catholic Academy in Whitestone, Queens
Collectively, these schools have seen a decline of enrollment over the last five years, but the registration totals for the upcoming school year are down significantly, largely due to the massive unemployment and loss of business that has resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic. More than $630,000 in tuition bills for the past school year (2019-2020) remains outstanding at these schools.
“This is an incredibly sad day for our Catholic community to have to close these schools, but the devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic is insurmountable. The difficult decisions come after the intense analysis of the financial picture of each academy,” said Thomas Chadzutko, Ed.D., Superintendent of Schools.
Every effort will be made to help transition affected students and families to nearby Catholic academies. To help the transition, the Diocese of Brooklyn, through the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Trust, will provide a one-time $500 financial grant for each child from a closed school enrolling and attending in a new Catholic elementary academy or school in Brooklyn or Queens this fall, as long as they have met all of their financial obligations. For those who meet the financial eligibility, tuition assistance is available through Futures in Education (www.futuresineducation.org).
Online Information meetings will begin next week for parents at the academies scheduled to close. Administrators and personnel from neighboring Catholic academies will be available virtually to present their programs and answer any questions parents may have.
Despite the closures, there is great optimism about the future of Catholic education in Brooklyn and Queens. “Our smaller and caring community of schools has many advantages as witnessed by how quickly we adapted to remote learning this spring. In grades K-8, we were nearly one to one, students to devices with data plans, an incredible feat which allowed for distance learning success in our schools. The learning went on in our schools for six hours a day, so our children knew that even though they were separated, they were not alone. Our devoted teachers and staff supported every child with the tools they needed to continue their education. We will continue to improve on this so we can be ready to handle any challenge this coming fall,” said Dr. Chadzutko.