Significant increase in Catholic school enrollment

Enrollment in Pre-K-12 Catholic schools in the Diocese of Pittsburgh has not only increased, it’s grown faster than the national average.

The number of students enrolled in secondary schools in the diocese increased 4.3 percent in the past year. The number of students in Catholic schools nationwide is up four percent, according to the National Catholic Education Association.

In grades Pre-K to 8 in the diocese, the increase is even greater—6.2 percent, according to Michelle Peduto, diocesan director of Catholic schools.

“It’s the most significant rise in 12 years,” Peduto told Father Tom Burke on Catholic Education Plus. “We’re drawing people in. It’s very encouraging.”

Catholic Education Plus airs Sunday Jan. 16 at 6:30 a.m. on KDKA-AM. Following the broadcast, the show will be available at: https://www.audacy.com/kdkaradio/podcasts/catholic-education-plus-20662

Peduto appeared on the program to promote Catholic Schools Week, which kicks off Jan. 30 with Masses, open houses and other activities for students, families, alumni, parishioners and other supporters.

More families are trying Catholic schools with many public schools only offering remote learning during the pandemic, Peduto said, but they’re attracted by the faith-based education model, strong academics, and extracurricular programs.

She also praised teachers, staff and administrators for their dedication, teamwork and creativity in helping to keep students safe and in school as much as possible during the pandemic, despite the recent wave of Omicron infections that’s impacting schools.

“They’ve been amazing,” she said. “They are so committed.

“We’re all under tremendous stress and doing the best we can. Please be gentle with each other, and kind,” she advised. “We are a community, and we walk together in faith.”

Click here to learn how Pittsburgh Catholic Schools are Lighting the Way.