Catholic Free Press

Catholic Free Press Digital Edition

  • Feb
  • 16

SPM moving junior high back into high school building

Posted By February 16, 2012 | 3:17 pm | Lead Story #2, Local

By William T. Clew

Junior high school classes at St. Peter-Marian Central Catholic Junior-Senior High School will be moved into the senior high school building at the beginning of the 2012-2013 academic year, school officials have announced.
There will be an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at the high school for parents to discuss the move.
The decision to make the move “was not made lightly,” Matthew Sturgis, headmaster, said. He said the high school building can hold 700 to 750 comfortably. He said the high school enrollment is about 600 now and the junior high enrollment, seventh and eighth grades, is 91 or 92.
He said he is putting together a committee to evaluate “what our options are” regarding the junior high school building. He said it is far too early to know what the status of the faculty will be after the move.
He said the move will allow the school to allot more money for education and less for maintenance. It is based on an ongoing commitment to focus on quality education.
“Maintaining an underutilized junior high is a financial distraction. This move benefits the entire school community because we can put more resources into assuring smaller class sizes and increased opportunities for Advanced Placement courses,” he said.
The move also presents a number of exciting opportunities for junior high school students, he said. They will be able to have different teachers by subject, which has not been possible at the separate location. They will also have access to age-appropriate extracurricular activities currently only available to the senior high school, including the art club, fashion design club, photography club, the yearbook, SADD, Guardians for Life, Make a Wish Club, mock trial and math teams. Campus ministry will also be more readily available at one location.
The single location also addresses concerns some parents have had in the past with the open campus concept. There will no longer be a need to move students from one end of the campus to the other during class hours. Communication among the student body is also stronger, he said.
St. Peter-Marian was opened to junior high school students in 1989. From the late 1990s through 2004 it had annual combined enrollments of 300 students for seventh and eighth grades.  The Junior High School moved to a separate building on the campus in 2004 and still operates from there today, but enrollments began to decline in 2006.
“Parents began to have more alternatives including charter schools and school choice along with a newly renovated Forest-Grove Middle School,” said Mr. Sturgis.
“I am pleased to see that the St. Peter Marian administration has developed a plan which will strengthen the educational experience of our students,” said Delma Josephson, diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools. “Classroom configurations in our schools require flexibility to meet the demands of the time and we will support them in their plans to provide quality Catholic education in the foreseeable future.”