Sacred Heart defies national trend with significant enrollment increase

| 22 Feb 2012 | 01:47

    Marketing effort and new programs credited with boosting student population by 80 children Monroe - Enrollment at Sacred Heart School in Monroe has expanded with 80 new students, a remarkable increase for a Catholic school in a single academic year. Given the difficult economy, school officials said this increase is particularly heartening. For the first time in many years, there is a waiting list to get into the Kindergarten. Defying the national trend of Catholic schools closing, Sacred Heart launched an aggressive marketing campaign and bolstered and added a number of programs. The school formed a marketing committee comprised of the pastor, Father Tom Byrnes, Principal Catherine Muenkel and a group of parents. The committee met weekly, launching a wide variety of initiatives including a TV commercial. “This couldn’t have been done without the dedication of all our committee members, from the pastor to the principal and parents - the committee was a wonderful group of people who gave of their time and professional skills,” said Peter VanAulen, the committee chair. “And Father Tom’s and Mrs. Muenkel’s unwavering commitment to marketing the school was crucial in making it happen. I hope our campaign at Sacred Heart is an inspiration to other Catholic schools struggling with enrollment - commitment from the top and an aggressive plan made the difference. We exceeded our goals.” According to an article about the school’s success posted on Catholic New York (, school officials expect an enrollment in kindergarten through grade eight of 217 students, compared to 172 in those grades last year. When the pre-kindergarten numbers are included, the school’s total enrollment is projected at 250. Other initiatives In addition to marketing, a variety of new programs, both spiritual and academic, were initiated over the past couple of years. From a spiritual standpoint, daily Mass and monthly confessions were added. Sacred Heart School students are also involved in a variety of charitable programs including “Our Mother’s Cupboard,” which is an arm of the Sacred Heart Parish soup kitchen, as well as the Christmas giving tree program and contributing to the missions. Grades 5-8 were departmentalized by subject, and a new science lab was put in. Laptops and Smart boards were added to the classrooms, a new Spanish program was launched and the pre-K program was extended. A before- and after-school program was also started to accommodate parents who need to drop their children off before school starts or pick them after the school day ends. In addition, the following facilities enhancements were made: Renovated pre-K and new pre-K/kindergarten playground, new security system, entryway, and sidewalks and a new library/media center. “The world that children are growing up in today is such a difficult one, said the pastor, Byrnes. “I believe that more and more parents are recognizing (or remembering from their years in Catholic School) that a Catholic education is a welcome opportunity. The remarkable increase in enrollment this year is just one sign that a wholesome, Catholic, family environment like the one at Sacred Heart is quite attractive.” Editor’s note: This article was provided by Priscilla VanAulen

    I hope our campaign at Sacred Heart is an inspiration to other Catholic schools struggling with enrollment - commitment from the top and an aggressive plan made the difference. We exceeded our goals.” Peter VanAulen, chairman of the school’s marketing committee

    Sacred Heart financial information school year 2010-2011
    One child $3,540 (annual)
    Two children $6,372 (annual)
    Three children $8,496 (annual)
    Four children $9,912 (annual)
    Non-refundable registration
    Registration fee: $100 per child
    Re-registration: $50 per child
    Additional Fees
    Academic fee: $125 per child
    Lunch monitor fee: $100 per child
    Technology fee: $50 per family
    Shop Rite and/or Stop and Shop gift cards mandated amount is $2,400 per year (July-June).
    Parents opting out of the use of these gift cards will be billed $120 in April 2011.