Catholic academy intended to attract Latino students

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Six Catholic parishes with a strong Latino presence will jointly open San Juan Diego Academy in July 2011, church leaders announced last week, according to The Grand Rapids Press.

Officials hope the K-8 school will turn around declining enrollment in Catholic schools in the area and said the move fits a church tradition of serving immigrants, The Press reported.

Research shows that only 3 percent of Latino families enroll their children in Catholic schools, but also that those who do enroll are more likely to earn high school and college degrees than their counterparts in public schools, according to The  Press.

Tuition is one obstacle, parish officials said, according to The Press. The academy will offer need-based scholarships and require volunteer service, The Press reported.

The Grand Rapids Press, "6 Grand Rapids area Catholic parishes to open San Juan Diego Academy to attract more Latino students," Nov. 10, 2010

Michigan Education Report, "Adding private schools to the school choice debate," June 7, 2010