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Sustainability Matters, Church Edition, Winter 2012




School Analysis and Mapping

Parochial schools have been a mainstay of the church's outreach to our youth for many years. Providing a quality basic education, anchored in faith-based values has long been a priority for our church. The Catholic Church has become known for being able to prepare youth for either college or a productive life in our society.

Parochial primary schools are most often parish based. A local parish will take on the responsibility, with varying degrees of assistance from the regional diocese, of constructing and operating the school facility—most often on real estate that is adjacent to the parish church, rectory, and other facilities (such as community center, parish life center, etc.) Primary parochial schools typically draw their students from within the parish community and from adjacent parishes that may not have school facilities.

Secondary parochial schools are most often owned and operated independently either by the regional diocese or by some other religious order. These parochial schools draw their students from more of a regional geography. It is common for students from local primary parochial schools to attend the regional secondary school, as parents of these students recognize the important values and educational quality to which their children are exposed.

Schools that have been established in urban centers and have operated for decades are now facing increasing pressures as population demographics and quality of life characteristics within the urban environment have changed. Suburban sprawl in major urban regions and the attendant population demographic shifts have resulted in lower attendance at these established schools, while requiring new facilities to be constructed and operated outside of the city.

SSA's School Analysis and Planning services utilize computerized analysis of changing population, demographic, and income characteristics to assist parishes and dioceses in evaluating alternative opportunities for continuing to provide education to our Catholic population and beyond. Results are provided in graphic form depicting the locations of educational facilities, school age population characteristics and trends, drive time analyses, demographics, income, and other factors that affect decisions regarding viability of school facilities.

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