Changes Coming to Venango Regional Catholic School

| March 22, 2019

VENANGO CO., Pa. (EYT) – Some changes are in the works for Venango Regional Catholic School according to a release from the Diocese of Erie.

Venango Region Catholic School recently announced the next step in its ongoing planning efforts aimed at strengthening and maintaining Catholic education in the Oil City/Franklin area.

According to a press release from the Erie Diocese, the changes will include organizational reconfiguration to provide opportunities to enhance many of the current strengths of the three original, independent schools as well as adding unique academic programs.

New and innovative approaches will be utilized in bringing together seventh and eighth-grade students from St. Stephen and St. Patrick schools into a unique middle school program housed at the St. Stephen campus, according to the diocese. The middle school will be focused on student achievement in academic curricula of high academic quality delivered in a faith-based learning environment.

The resulting grade offerings for the regional school will be pre-K through eighth grade at the St. Stephen campus in Oil City; pre-K through sixth grade at the St. Patrick Campus in Franklin; and freshman through senior years at the Venango Catholic High School campus in Oil City.

“The board of directors is confident this is the best opportunity for the region at this time. It’s an important step as we continue to develop a strategic plan for the future of Catholic education based on the realities of our area,” said Greg Merkel, chair of the Venango Region Catholic School Board.

“We are grateful and excited to have this opportunity. We look forward to working with our faculty, staff, and families in the continuing development of the new pre-K -12 school. As we move forward, we are hopeful that the families of students of all faiths and at all grade levels will join us by enrolling at one our three campuses.”

According to the diocese, the board plans to make administrative changes before the beginning of the next academic year. A school president will provide overall leadership for the entire school assisted by a principal who will focus on academic areas, and a lead teacher will be identified at each campus to assure consistent and effective administrative support. The president and principal will work to refine and adjust the plan as may be necessary.

The new president is likely to be named in the near future, at which time, parents will be invited to a meet-the-president event.

Parents were invited to a private meeting for families at Venango Catholic High School campus on Thursday, March 21, at 7:00 p.m.

According to the diocese, while some of the details are still to be determined, board members will address a number of important operational aspects involved in the new school configuration including transportation requirements supporting the three campuses.

The initiative to create the regional school was undertaken at the request of pastors and school leaders in Venango County and with the full support of the Diocese of Erie Catholic Schools Office, which helped facilitate the effort with a grant from the Religious Education Endowment Fund. Those funds were used to engage the Meitler organization to conduct a comprehensive study capturing socio/economic, geographic, cultural, attitudinal, and historical information which led to the development of the design and its implementation.

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