SAGINAW — As part of an overall strategic plan to ensure the stability, excellence and future of Saginaw Area Catholic Schools (SACS), the SACS Board of Trustees recommended consolidating its four elementary/middle schools—St. Helen, SS. Peter & Paul, St. Stephen and St. Thomas Aquinas—into two buildings. The Most Rev. Joseph R. Cistone, Bishop of Saginaw, approved that recommendation December 23, 2009.
Effective March 2, 2010, preschool through eighth grade students will attend either St. Stephen School or St. Thomas Aquinas School.
All staff will be retained for the remainder of the current school year. The faculty and staff from St. Helen and SS. Peter & Paul schools will follow their students, to the degree possible, to either St. Stephen School or St. Thomas Aquinas School to facilitate a smooth transition.
“Merging schools in March has many advantages for children,” said Irene Hensinger, SACS Regional Superintendent. “It will give children an opportunity to build new relationships, become comfortable in a different building and involved in school activities. Studies indicate it is often easier, socially and academically, for children to adjust to a new situation during the school year. The children can then enjoy their new friends over the summer and look forward to returning to school in September.”
The consolidation will position Saginaw Area Catholic Schools to be able to strengthen existing programs, maximize resources, expand academic offerings and secure the future of Catholic education in the Saginaw community. An estimated $750,000 will be saved annually, beginning July 2010, through the school consolidation.
“I am convinced that Catholic schools remain our strongest means of forming, developing, and educating our youth,” Bishop Cistone said. “The strength of our Church is dependent upon our ability to provide quality and affordable Catholic education. I have pledged and continue to pledge my personal commitment to do everything within my power to maintain a strong Catholic school program for our diocese.”
The Saginaw Area Catholic School system, which includes the elementary/middle schools and Nouvel Catholic Central High School, is home to nearly 1,300 students. School leaders, teachers and staff are committed to excellence in faith formation, academics, athletics, the arts and community service. The legacy of Catholic school education in Saginaw dates back to 1868.