Two Greater Hartford Catholic Schools to Form St. Brigid-St. Augustine: A Partnership School in 2016-2017 to be located on the SBS campus at 100 Mayflower Street.
Submitted by Maria Zone, Archdiocese of Hartford
Saint Brigid School on 100 Mayflower Street in West Hartford and Saint Augustine School on 20 Clifford Street in Hartford will soon partner to form St. Brigid-St. Augustine: A Partnership School to educate pre-Kindergarten through grade eight students.
The innovative partnership, which is meant to preserve the traditions, cultures and best practices of each school, will become effective for the 2016-2017 academic year. The two parish-owned schools, operated by their respective parishes on whose property they are located, made the announcement to school employees and parents today at their respective schools.
The idea to create a partnership school came after Saint Augustine received news that necessary upgrades to its school building would cost in excess of $8 million. The work included structural repairs, classroom maintenance, and technological upgrades. Knowing that these renovations were cost-prohibitive for the school and parish, Reverend José A. Mercado, pastor of Saint Augustine, reached out to Reverend Joseph P. Crowley, pastor of Saint Brigid. The pastors then consulted with the trustees and finance councils of both parishes, as well as the school board of St. Brigid.
In addition, the pastors worked in collaboration with the school administration and Office of Catholic Schools’ staff to discuss ways to successfully pool their resources in order to preserve Catholic school education in Greater Hartford. As a result of their creative collaboration, the decision was made to relocate Saint Augustine School to the site of Saint Brigid, forming a partnership between the two schools.
Those involved in the process believe that the partnership will bring together two parish-owned schools with rich traditions to form a vibrant Catholic elementary school in the Greater Hartford area. Students will benefit from combined academic resources, experienced faculty, and a blending of school traditions, cultures and best practices. In addition, a healthy student population will occupy an updated facility designed to support the requisite excellence of a Catholic School in the Archdiocese of Hartford.
The new educational partnership will offer several advantages: Cooperative activities between both parishes; an updated facility at Saint Brigid with beautiful grounds and a playground, a gymnasium and cafeteria, enhanced technology, and a well-equipped science lab.
“In talking, we instantly knew that we shared the same goals,” said Father Mercado. “Our focus centered on what was best for the students. With a strong enrollment, we hope to offer a variety of girls’ and boys’ sports such as cross country, soccer, basketball, and lacrosse, numerous clubs including Drama, as well as visual and performing arts, and a Junior National Honor Society,” explained Father Mercado.
Principals Shevon Hickey from Saint Brigid School and Helen Treacy from Saint Augustine School are working with their respective pastors and school communities to ensure that the transition for Saint Augustine students to this new site is as seamless as possible. Bus transportation from Hartford to Elmwood will be provided at no cost. Also, tuition assistance will be made available for current students who are relocating to the new school, and a “Partnership Day” is planned for Friday, March 18th when Saint Augustine students will spend the day at Saint Brigid School touring the building, participating in school activities, socializing and eating lunch with their future classmates.
Both Father Mercado and Father Crowley will be celebrating Mass for those who participate in “Partnership Day.”
“This will be an exciting time for both students and their families, and we look forward to welcoming students to the Saint Brigid building. Together, we will form a vibrant new school community in which Catholic education will flourish,” said Father Crowley.