St. Bernard Middle School to Consolidate Next Year

April 18, 2007

St. Bernard Middle School, a 91-student school at 5811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park, Maryland, will merge with two neighboring schools next fall: St. Mark and St. Jerome, both in Hyattsville. The decision came after a two-month consultation process initiated by the pastor, Rev. Sergio Dall’Agnese, C.S., and parish leadership to address declining enrollment and increased financial deficits.

A 47 percent enrollment decrease between 2001 and 2006 led to the school’s transformation last fall into a middle school serving students in grades 5-8. Enrollment in the middle school fell short of the target of 100 students, with only 11 students in grade 5. In addition, the deficit this year has exceeded $90,000, despite assistance from the Archdiocese of Washington and other organizations, and was expected to rise significantly next year.

To ensure a smooth transition, the Archdiocesan Catholic Schools Office will meet with the faculty, staff and parents later this month to assist faculty and staff with applying to other Catholic schools and parents with enrolling their children in St. Mark, St. Jerome or other schools.

St. Bernard is the second school in Prince George’s County to merge next fall; the other is St. Margaret of Scotland in Seat Pleasant.

At the same time, the Archdiocese will open a high school next year. The Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School in Takoma Park will draw students from throughout the area, including Prince George’s County. Using a unique work-study program, the school will provide students from low- and moderate-income families with an affordable college-preparatory education. Initial enrollment is estimated at 125 students and eventually will expand to 450-500 students.

The Archdiocese of Washington includes 580,000 Catholics, 140 parishes and nearly 33,000 students attending 111 early learning, elementary and secondary schools in Washington, DC and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Susan Gibbs
Director of Communications
[email protected]