Archdiocese of New York to Close Blessed Sacrament/St. Gabriel High School in New Rochelle

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Archdiocese of New York to Close Blessed Sacrament/St. Gabriel High School in New Rochelle

January 23, 2013 - 13:25

NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- The Archdiocese of New York announced yesterday that Blessed Sacrament/St. Gabriel High School in New Rochelle will close at the end of the current school year.

The news sent shockwaves throughout New Rochelle. The school was not on a list of schools in danger of closing announced last November by the Local Boards and ad hoc Reconfiguration Committees of the Diocese.

Full statement below:


(New York, January 22, 2013) Local Boards and ad hoc Reconfiguration Committees, after in-depth discussions with local pastors, principals, administrators and elected officials, and in consultation with the Archdiocese of New York, collectively have recommended closing 22 elementary schools in June 2013.
Of the 26 at-risk elementary schools announced two months ago, four will remain open, and decisions about two additional schools on Staten Island have been deferred for several weeks to evaluate the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the region. The local boards’ and committees’ recommendations were accepted by the Archdiocese of New York.

The decision to close the at-risk schools follows a painstaking, months-long review involving local decision-makers in accordance with Pathways to Excellence, the strategic plan for Catholic schools that was published in October 2010 and developed to assure a vibrant future for Catholic education in the Archdiocese of New York. This review included all relevant data, including enrollment, financial, academic and local demographics, to ensure the Board’s and Committee’s decisions would result in financially healthy, sustainable schools. Throughout the review process, pastors and principals of the at-risk schools were invited to meet with members of the local Board or Reconfiguration Committee to discuss the combination of factors that led to the decision to list a school as “at-risk,” and offered an opportunity to submit an alternative proposal to remain viable.

Affected families will be welcomed in neighboring Catholic schools, and every effort will be made to assist those who are facing financial challenges making the transition. Student Placement Counselors will work with Regional Superintendents to help school families transition into another Catholic school for the 2013-2014 school year. Informational meetings for affected families will be announced in the coming weeks.
The following schools will close in June 2013, at the end of the current academic year:

Central Westchester:
Holy Name of Jesus, Valhalla
Holy Cross
Our Lady of Fatima, Scarsdale
Holy Name of Jesus
St. Casimir, Yonkers
St. James-St. Joseph

St. Jude
Northern Westchester/Putnam:

Our Lady of the Assumption, Peekskill
Northwest and South Bronx:
St. Theresa, Briarcliff Manor
Holy Spirit

Our Lady of Angels
Our Lady of Mercy
St. Joseph, Millbrook
St. Jerome

East and Northeast Bronx:
St. Augustine, New City
Blessed Sacrament
St. Peter, Haverstraw
St. Anthony

St. Mary Star of the Sea
Ulster, Orange, Sullivan:

St. Joseph, Kingston

St. Mary of the Snow, Saugerties

The number of students at the elementary schools announced for closure today is 4,341, which represents almost 9 percent of those enrolled in Catholic elementary schools in the boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, and Westchester, Rockland, Putnam, Sullivan, Orange, Dutchess and Ulster counties.

The committees have acknowledged that four schools originally designated as “at-risk” submitted proposals that included viable long-term plans and will remain open. They are: St. Gregory the Great in Manhattan, St. Mary School in East and Northeast Bronx, Sacred Heart in Newburgh, Orange County and Regina Coeli in Hyde Park, Dutchess County.

In addition to the 22 elementary schools, two secondary schools will close. After a review of current and projected deficits and continuing declines in enrollment, and in consultation with the archdiocese, school leadership has determined that St. Agnes Boys High School in Manhattan and Blessed Sacrament/St. Gabriel High School in New Rochelle are not sustainable, and will close. The number of affected secondary school students is 424, out of 24,830 currently enrolled across the archdiocese.

Timothy McNiff, Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York stated, “As we move forward, we urge Governor Cuomo and the legislature to enact the Education Investment Incentives Act. This initiative, similar to those already enacted into law in 11 other states, would spur additional corporate and individual donations into education, generating $150 million in additional scholarships for families to enroll their children in Catholic and other religious and independent schools. Moreover, the legislation would generate an equal level of additional contributions to public schools.”

Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York added, “The Archdiocese is not alone in facing financial challenges in education—we share these issues with public, private and other faith-based schools across the country. This reconfiguration process will help ensure that our schools will be financially stable, sustainable and, more importantly, open to all students. We are dedicated to providing pastoral support and educational guidance to every family personally affected by reconfiguration to ensure all children attending closing schools will be warmly welcomed into a neighboring Catholic school where they will continue to learn and thrive.”

There are 6 Comments

While it is not a secret that the little high school in New Rochelle has been struggling, and the powers that be residing in the rectory were less than helpful in injecting any kind of help into the beleagured institution. A new rumor has emerged from the school.

Apparently, the high school was in talks with another Westchester based Catholic high school, and a merger was slowly materializing. At what was apparently the last planning session, dealing with a merger that would have reinvigorized and quite possibly reinvented the school, the BS administration was not willing to relinquish the school's namesake, causing the would be partner to retreat.

At the end of the day, one school will open its doors in Saptember, the other will be closing in June.

If this is in fact the case, and not a falsified report, then Cardinal Pride forced the hangman to open the trap door.

And let us make no mistakes about it, despite not being on the endangered list, the school has been treading water for years. That is not to say that it was not doing a fine job, servicing a niche. It simply means that the failure to embrace change cost them their existance.

I heard something similar today from a fellow who is alumnus and a former teacher there. That would be a shame if that was the case. Could have saved some jobs for people facing a pretty tough job search.

Vouchers would be the best system we could hope for for the future of our children. Since the Teachers unions are opposed perhaps the next best alternative would be a charter school or a school for the best and brightest in New Rochelle and the surrounding area.

The White Plains school district will have all the sixth graders together starting in Sept. 2013. Perhaps New Rochelle should starting looking into that program. If we lease the BS high school building, the city could start a similar program. The BS Grammar school has been closed for some time and it would be a wonderful place to have the same type of program that is in Barnard. Many children are turned away because of a lottery. If the program was housed in an additional building many more children would be able to attend.

This might bring more people to the downtown area and start a rebirth of our Main Street.

I find it truly amazing that the enrollment has dropped at BSSG, a Catholic school with a very low tuition, possibly one of the lowest around, for a quality education, and Iona Prep and Ursuline High School have a full enrollment, with tuition in the $16000.00 a year range, are thriving. I think BSSG tuition was in the $8000.00 a year range. What's wrong with this picture? Anyhow it is a sad day, and another vacant building in downtown NR.

Hi Bob
Can you edit your post of schools closing.. Its a bit confusing.. Holy Name of Jesus in Valhalla has been reported to close... then you have Holy Name of Jesus again... The one in NEW ROCHELLE is SAFE and is NOT CLOSING! I do not want people to assume Holy Name of Jesus means us!!! Thx!!!