Revitalization Plan Set for Long Island’s Catholic Grade Schools


The Diocese of Rockville Centre last week announced the Morning Star Initiative, a plan to revitalize Catholic elementary school education on Long Island. In partnership with the Marianists, who operate four schools on Long Island, the diocese will undertake a comprehensive review of its elementary schools in 2020, leading to an action plan to restore a robust Catholic culture, academic excellence and fiscally sustainable schools.

Bishop John Barres of Rockville Centre believes the initiative is critical to the strength and longevity of Catholic parishes, communities and education on Long Island since most Catholic elementary schools have struggled with enrollment, building maintenance and teacher salaries in recent years. A number of schools have closed. “The core of this initiative is to foster the educational and spiritual development of our students,” said Bishop Barres Jan. 10. “We owe it to our parents, families, teachers, parishes, alumni and communities to provide a robust, evangelizing Catholic education for Long Island children.

“The Morning Star Initiative establishes four pillars to renew and transform Catholic education on Long Island,” the bishop said. “A robustly Catholic culture centered on the spiritual, intellectual, sacramental, moral and liturgical life of the Church; safe and supportive communities recognizing the dignity and potential of everyone; academic excellence built on a Catholic faith-based model of individual growth and development; and that we are here to stay to meet the changing needs of the community, and to ensure sufficient resources for an improved educational environment and the financial stability of the schools.”

Bishop Barres said, “The Marianists have two centuries of Catholic educational commitment and expertise. With a reputation for academic excellence, they bring 90 years of experience running the Marianist schools on Long Island, including Chaminade High School, Kellenberg Memorial High School, the Brother Joseph C. Fox Latin School and St. Martin de Porres Marianist Elementary School.

“These schools have a combined enrollment of 4,500 students and have educated and formed in the Catholic faith generations of young men and women, who provide outstanding leadership in our Church and communities.”

Brother Thomas Cleary, S.M., president of Chaminade High School in Mineola, will serve as chief revitalization officer. His fellow Marianists will assist him. Feedback and ideas will be sought from everyone with a stake in revitalized Catholic elementary school education. 

The diocese will also engage with Alvarez & Marsal, a global management consulting firm known for transforming educational organizations.

The Morning Star Initiative will begin with stakeholder engagement during the first half of the year and should be completed before the end of 2020.