Catholic School Growth in Florida Offers Hopeful Lessons for Other States

Written by Lauren May, Director of Advocacy, Step Up for Students, [email protected]

As a former Catholic school principal, I know how important it is for schools to live and breathe their mission and vision. Like many Catholic school leaders, my goal as a young leader was to help as many children as possible get into Heaven. In my time as a Catholic school leader and now as both a supporter of education options and parent of kids in Catholic school, I see that Catholic schools not only bring children to the faith, but they also bring families to the faith too. In Florida, with the recent expansion of education choice for all families, choice is rampant. Families can choose from a robust system of district schools, magnet schools, charter schools and private schools.

So how is it that with so many options, Catholic schools in Florida are growing? The newly released report, “Why Catholic Schools in Florida Are Growing: 5 Things to Know,” shares the good news about Catholic school enrollment in Florida and aims to help other states grow their schools and systems too. Now that universal choice is available in multiple states, there was never a better time to dig in and learn about the great things happening in Florida’s Catholic schools.

Florida’s Catholic school story shows that when school and system leaders work together to meet the needs of their communities, they thrive. Catholic schools in Florida are more diverse than ever, and they are also showing amazing innovation.

As choice expands, Catholic schools and systems should be ready to respond with gusto. Schools can be dynamic and offer innovative programming while ensuring the mission and vision are always at the center of all that they do. I hope this paper will inspire leaders across the nation to find innovative and dynamic ways to serve students and families.