Diocesan Catholic schools see stable, growing enrollment

Catholic Schools Week — Jan. 28-Feb. 3, 2024


More families in the Diocese of Jefferson City are choosing a Catholic education for their children as diocesan schools have continued a multi-year trend of stable, growing enrollment.

Enrollment at diocesan schools this past fall surpassed 7,000 students to 7,004.

This continues a trend that has led to roughly 4% enrollment growth at Catholic schools over the past five years — even as overall population in the 38-county diocese has declined.

“It’s so important to see parents in our diocese continuing to form their children in our faith by choosing to send them to a Catholic school,” said  Bishop W. Shawn McKnight of Jefferson City.

“Our schools have a long tradition of academic excellence — with a foundation in faith, charity and prayer,” he said. “Our enrollment trend is a reflection of the outstanding work of the faculty and staff of our schools, the generosity of the parish communities that support them and the commitment of our parents to Catholic education.”

The Diocese of Jefferson City is home to 37 Catholic elementary schools, three Catholic high schools and two early childhood centers.

More than 700 faculty and staff are employed at the schools.

Catholic elementary schools in the diocese do not charge tuition to active parishioners. Rather, the entire parish community sponsors and supports children of the parish in receiving a Catholic education.

This is a benefit of the unique model for Catholic Stewardship utilized in the Diocese of Jefferson City.

In addition to helping parents form their children in our Catholic faith, Catholic schools in the diocese also boast a strong record of academic success.

The most recent standardized assessment scores show that diocesan elementary students in every grade perform above national averages.

The three Catholic high schools in the diocese have a 99% graduation rate, and 99% of students are accepted into a higher education institution of their choice.

College acceptance test scores exceed national averages, and graduating seniors receive $85,000 in scholarships on average.

“There are so many ways that you can measure the immense value that our Catholic schools provide, but nothing is more important than our work to support parents in forming their children in our Catholic faith,” said Erin Vader, Ed.D., diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools.

“We continue to be blessed in our diocese with outstanding educators and staff who dedicate themselves to preparing the next generation of Catholic Christians for their roles in the Church and the world,” she said. “It’s clear that Catholic education has a bright future in the Diocese of Jefferson City.”


Mr. Luecke is director of communications for the Diocese of Jefferson City.