As we approach Catholic Schools Week 2024, diocesan schools prepare to show off the strong academics and individualized programs they offer to students across the Diocese. The diocesan school system, consisting of 34 schools, provides opportunities for students in grades K-12 and in specialized learning centers.
With all the schools in the Diocese thriving, there are several schools and programs that Dr. Emily Kleintop, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Government Programs for the diocesan Catholic schools, highlighted as examples of what all the schools are doing throughout the Diocese.
Holy Infancy School, Bethlehem
Working to serve the various populations in Bethlehem, Holy Infancy School offers a number of different programs, activities, and technology-based enrichment for its students in K-8.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to lead a school with 130 years of rich Catholic tradition and education in Bethlehem, also known as The Christmas City, USA,” said Jeanne Negron-Garcia, principal.
“At Holy Infancy Catholic School, each child is a member of our family. We educate our children to their highest level and nurture them based on Jesus’ Gospel values. We also celebrate and respect multiple cultures. Our children learn, strive, and grow to reach God’s plan for their lives.”
Holy Infancy offers a number of programs for its students, including STEAM classes, partnerships with local universities, 1:1 technology-based instruction, an enrichment program, and summer camp for students in June and July.
“At Holy Infancy School, our teachers and staff strive to meet the academic needs of all our students,” said Negron-Garcia. “Holy Infancy School is a Jesus-centered environment. We draw from the richness of our Catholic heritage as we seek to teach, equip, and activate our student disciples to demonstrate the love of God through the power of the Holy Spirit, and teachings and multicultural traditions of the Catholic Church.”
St. John Neumann Regional School, Slatington/Palmerton
As the only Catholic school serving students in grades K-8 in Carbon County, St. John Neumann Regional School works to engage students in personalized learning. Students attending Neumann come from various backgrounds and have different educational needs and strengths, which allows the school to work with individualized education.
“Our biggest focus is making sure our curriculum [at St. John Neumann] is up to date,” said Dr. Chris Heery, principal of St. John Neumann. “The Diocese, as a whole, has a very strong curriculum in place for schools to base theirs off of.”
Using the Renaissance Star testing for all students, used to gauge student growth and achievement, St. John Neumann works with the data points provided to help the students in their care develop in the areas that the student may be lacking. This allows for individualized instruction for all the students at St. John Neumann. “The growth we have seen using this, from the beginning of the year until now, is outstanding,” said Heery.
Boasting a school in both Slatington and Palmerton, the school works to engage students in all subjects in book learning and hands-on learning, in St. John Neumann and beyond. “We follow our students as they go through high school and college. Their growth is very impressive, and they do extremely well when they move on from our school,” said Heery.
Bethlehem Catholic High School
In the heart of Northside Bethlehem, Bethlehem Catholic High School, commonly known as Becahi, is one of the six high schools in the Diocese of Allentown.
“For nearly 100 years, Becahi has consistently been a Christ-centered Roman Catholic school steeped in faith and tradition,” said Dr. Dean Donaher, Becahi’s new principal, in his welcome message to school families this year.
Becahi is approaching its centennial in the 2025-26 school year, making it the oldest high school in the Diocese. “We offer a highly engaged and academically rigorous curriculum,” said Donaher.
Among many of the opportunities Becahi has to offer, one of the most unique is the Athletic Training and Sports Medicine program. Students have the opportunity to learn about various topics that will set them up to study athletic training and sports medicine after they graduate high school.
“The students also have very unique opportunities in this class to visit the Venel Institute, a state-of- the-art educational facility, run by Lehigh Valley Health Network, and participate in cadaver labs and other hands-on learning,” said Donaher. Additionally, with these types of programs, Donaher is working to redefine Catholic character in education for the students at Becahi.
Between the passion behind the principals to the unique academics, each of the schools in the diocesan system should be celebrated during Catholic Schools Week 2024.
By Jennifer Russell.
Photo: Holy Infancy School, Bethlehem.