Redefining Catholic Education – The Treasure Valley’s First New Catholic School in 50 Years

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by Kristen McCarver & Terry Ryan

Years of hard work, research, planning, and fundraising all culminated in one moment on a clear, hot July afternoon when parishioners streamed out of the Holy Apostles Catholic Church and worked their way across the parking lot to congregate in front of a brand-new mission style building.

St. Ignatius Catholic School is the Boise-area’s first new Catholic school in 50 years. The air was electric with anticipation, a giant maroon ribbon stretched taut across the entrance while church officials, school leader Andi Kane, and chief school advocate and supporter Karen Mahoney made sure everyone was in place for the big moment.

But what goes into the making of a moment like this?

First, the church community raised over $10 million to build the state of the art facility. Second, an outstanding instructional leader, Andi Kane, was hired to run the school. Third, the church and school leaders worked with Bluum to study top-performing school models across the country, and what was learned was built into the school’s strategy. Fourth, grants totalling $1.2 million were procured through the J.A. and Kathryn Albertsons Family Foundation to ensure the school could launch with top talent and curriculum in place.

This support, matched by the school and church community, also makes it possible for the school to provide seats to families that couldn’t otherwise afford the tuition. In short, St. Ignatius represents the best in a faith-based community coming together to launch a new and innovative school for its children

As Father Len took the stage, the crowd became silent, then reverent, as he asked the children to raise their hands and bless the school. Bishop Christensen then blessed the building itself, sprinkling holy water throughout. When this was complete, Karen and Church Pastor Father MacMillan produced a giant pair of scissors. The crowd counted down from three and the ribbon fluttered to the ground.  Parishioners and school families surged forward, eager to tour their new school.

The community kicked the tires of the new facility for over three hours. Proud parents took their children’s photos in their new classrooms. People young and old tested out the flexible learning spaces and wandered through the open floor plan and outdoor learning spaces. Andi & Karen estimate over 2,000 visitors toured the school. The place was packed.

The prevailing sentiment was one of pride, the importance of a quality, faith-based education, and community. One parent stated “I have four boys, who will all be attending this school. They’ve been attending a charter school, which is great, but this is our parish. It’s our community.”

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