The new school year at Rome Catholic School (RCS) has begun with an approximately 8 percent increase in enrollment, and enthusiasm by its new principal for the school’s long-term outlook.
RCS, in its third year at 400 Floyd Ave. after previously being at a larger 800 Cypress St. site for many years, has an enrollment of 104 students including pre-K to grade 6, up from 96 at the start of the prior 2017-18 school year.
Principal Nancy Wilson, who began in the position during the summer, said Monday “I am extremely confident that Rome Catholic will flourish and remain a solid option and faith-filled choice for education in Rome.” The school “is alive and well and the excitement here is palpable.”
Wilson is “very excited as we start this new year” at RCS. She said “the faculty and staff are very eager to get to work and start teaching the children and to expand our activities for
“We are looking forward to building relationships with our in-school families and also with the community in general,” Wilson added.
She cited “a climate of family and kindness, and the energy is felt the moment you step into the building.”
An RCS graduate who has taught in the Diocese of Syracuse for 20 years including at RCS and whose two children also attended the school, Wilson said “it is a wonderful feeling knowing that I have been entrusted with leading Rome Catholic into a successful future. The potential is endless and I am energized about putting plans into place.”
The former RCS site at 800 Cypress St. had opened in 1963 as Rome Catholic High School, but consolidations due to declining enrollment later led to it becoming a pre-K to grade 12 facility.
Among further changes, in fall 2013 it began hosting pre-K to grade 6 when Catholic high school programs for Rome were shifted to the Notre Dame school of Utica. After the 2015-16 school year, RCS ceased using the Cypress Street site and moved to the Floyd Avenue location that at one time had operated as St. Peter’s school.
For the new 2018-19 school year, “we are at capacity in the pre-kindergarten programs and are working hard to increase enrollment in grades K-6,” said Wilson.
RCS initiatives for the new school year were noted by
• A Board of Trustees is being formed. It will allow for “more localized decision-making while still working under the umbrella of the Diocese of Syracuse.” Names will be announced as plans are formalized.
• RCS “is in the early process of becoming a STREAM school.” It is the same concept as STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) plus “the component of ‘R’ for ‘Religion.’” Wilson added “we believe strongly...all areas of STEAM are improved with the addition of ‘Religion’ which brings with it faith and ethics.”
• Among STEAM categories, RCS is in a process of evaluating its current technology and seeking to help teachers “integrate it more seamlessly into their lessons and classrooms.” Its faculty is working to incorporate hands-on technology that is available to students. The series that is used to teach the math curriculum “has a multitude of online resources and activities for the students and...teachers to bridge the paper/pencil work that forms a great learning foundation.” RCS also has “hired a new music teacher and library teacher with the idea of filling out the STREAM components.”
• The school is about to break ground for installing a playground that originally was at the Cypress Street location. Wilson said “we have been raising money and are ready for the next step. We can’t wait for the students to see this come to fruition....”
Amomg RCS tuition rates for 2018-19:
• Tuition for Universal Pre-K (UPK) 3-year-olds is funded by a UPK grant and is free. Tuition for UPK 4-year-olds is funded for the morning by the UPK Grant, while parents can pay for the afternoon at $2,335 per year.
• Tuition for grade K-6 students affiliated with a Catholic parish is $4,670. Tuition for non-affiliated students is $5,465.
• Financial aid is available for those who qualify.
The school is still accepting applications for K-6 students. Call (315) 336-6190 for more information.
Wilson remarked “we have an excellent faculty and staff who are dedicated and go above and beyond what is required in the education of our students. We are building crucial relationships with our families and our community that allow education to develop and grow quickly and strongly. We are researching and implementing programs that will encourage more families to come and join us....”