Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Seattle saw a 6% enrollment increase for the start of the 2021/22 school year. This marks the largest enrollment increase within the past few years.
“During the COVID-19 pandemic, parents were looking for alternatives and Catholic schools were delivering,” explained Kristin Moore, the Fulcrum-funded director of marketing and enrollment for the Office for Catholic Schools. “Catholic schools are more agile when it comes to decision-making. When the pandemic hit, our principals weren’t waiting for someone to tell them what to do. They were looking at their resources and the needs of their communities and putting together a plan within 72 hours. I think that won a lot of people over.”
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic school educators innovated new ways to keep students engaged in both remote and in-classroom learning. The Fulcrum Foundation supported schools through the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which allowed schools to pay for tuition assistance, cleaning supplies and PPE, and new technology such as additional laptops and smartboards.
From August 2020-April 2021, Fulcrum disbursed $4,683,000 to 63 schools through the COVID-19 Fund. This support allowed Catholic schools across Western Washington to meet the challenges of teaching during the pandemic head-on. In fact, Catholic schools didn’t miss a single day of instruction throughout the pandemic.
Parents took notice. Following the difficult 2020/21 school year, Catholic schools throughout the archdiocese saw a spike in enrollment interest, with many schools needing waitlists for the upcoming school year.
“This spike of new families has breathed new life into our schools. There’s been a burst of momentum. Our principals are actively working on retention and outreach strategies. I have seen so many schools reaching out and tapping into resources so that they can better serve the families coming to the table,” said Kristin. “The Pacific Northwest is a very secular part of the country. For Catholic schools to be growing like this is incredible. It’s so exciting. We’re going to keep moving forward!”