New Catholic Elementary School Interest Survey!

The Diocese of Austin is exploring the feasibility of a new Catholic elementary school in the East Austin and Leander/Liberty Hill areas, through a formal study.  We would like your opinion about this idea through the a survey.  Your response is very important, no matter what your decision will be about where you enroll your child.

Please complete only ONE survey for your family. To ensure inclusion in this study, please complete the survey online (or by mail) no later than February 28, 2017.

Online and mail-in surveys will be made available through your parish or by request:

A few important features you should know about the proposed school are:

Catholic education:  The school will provide a strong Catholic education that empowers every student to develop into the individual God created him/her to be.  The school will embrace and exemplify the teaching and tradition of the Church in areas of virtue, life, sacred scripture, sacraments, and social teaching.  A strong Catholic identity will be present in all aspects of the school experience.

Academics:   An excellent academic curriculum will be provided resulting in solid preparation for high school.  The academic program will serve students with diverse learning abilities.

Beyond academics:   An array of extra-curricular and student activities will be available.  This includes athletics, fine arts, learning through service, and more.

Cost:  For the survey, assume that tuition will not be a barrier for you when considering if you should enroll your child.  Financial assistance for families will be determined based on financial need.

Location:  A site somewhere in the East Austin area with easy access to Hwy 183 would be considered.

Timeline: No definitive timeline has been set.  But for the purpose of the survey, assume the school will be open for your children to enroll.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful response to all the survey questions.

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Support Celebrating Catholic Schools

Celebrating Catholic Schools Dinner and Award Presentation

January 28, 2017

As a kickoff to National Catholic Schools Week, the 9th Annual Celebrating Catholic Schools Dinner and Awards Presentation will be held on Saturday, January 28, 2017 at the Hyatt, Town Lake in downtown Austin, featuring Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York.

This annual dinner celebrates Catholic education in the Diocese of Austin while honoring the “unsung” heroes at each of our 22 Catholic schools.  Additional information will be posted as event day nears.  For more information, please contact Andrea Bizzanelli at (512) 949-2439 or

Hyatt Regency, Town Lake
208 Barton Springs, Austin, Texas 78704

6 p.m. Khaki and Plaid Reception
7 p.m. Dinner and Awards Presentation
9 p.m. Recess

His Eminence, Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York

How can you get involved?

Be a Sponsor / Buy a Table – online

Presenting Sponsor

Thank you to our reception and after party sponsors

Honoree Reception with Bishop Vásquez

Khaki and Plaid Reception

“Recess” AfterParty

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Support our schools with #iGiveCatholic

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We welcome our NEW Faculty and Staff to the Diocese!

Dr. Ned Vanders, Superintendent of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Austin (CSDA), welcomed 96 new faculty and staff at a workshop held at the Pastoral Center on Friday, August 5, 2016.

“CSDA is blessed to have new teachers and staff answering the call to serve students and families in our Catholic schools,” Dr. Vanders said.  

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Congratulations to the Class of 2016

Congratulations to the Class of 2016 – 331 seniors will graduate this year from our six Catholic high schools ….. combined, these students were offered more than $17.5 million dollars in scholarships!!!  Click Here to view the 2016 Graduation Insert

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Why Catholic Schools Are Important

On Saturday, January 30, more than 840 supporters gathered to celebrate the “unsung heroes” of our 22 Catholic schools.  A true evening of celebration included First Lady Cecilia Abbott as our featured speaker and comments from Bishop Joe Vásquez.  CLICK HERE to view the video that was shared on the importance of Catholic education.

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Principal Job Posting – San Juan Diego Catholic High School

San Juan Diego seeks a Principal with a passion for Catholic Education. Our ideal candidate is a visionary leader with a proven track record of building enrollment, academic achievement and faith formation. He or she will do this through our mission to provide highly motivated students the opportunity to earn a Catholic, college preparatory education enriched by participation in a Corporate Internship Program. SJDCHS was founded in 2002 on the San Jose Parish property in South Austin. SJDCHS is the second school in the nation to replicate the innovative Cristo Rey Corporate Internship Program. A new school is currently under construction with a target completion date of 10.10.17.



  • The principal must be a Catholic in good standing with a commitment to the formation of the whole person in intellect and spirit, possess a master’s degree with 18 credit hours in educational administration and supervision courses, have 3-5 years of teaching and administrative experience, preferably in a Catholic school, and be fluent in Spanish.


  • Strong leadership skills and ability to develop teachers’ excellence in education
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Curriculum development and implementation to make SJDCHS competitive with Catholic and private schools in the area
  • Budgeting and financial management skills
  • Ability to create a short and long-term vision for SJDCHS
  • Experience in collaborating with a school board, parish Pastor and the wider community
  • Knowledge of advancement and fund-raising
  • Excellence in public relations and an ability to build relationships with all stakeholders of the school
  • Familiarity with facilities management operations

Please submit a cover letter, resume and completed application ( to Juliana Rueda, Coordinator of Catholic Schools, at, or mail to Diocese of Austin Office of Catholic Schools, SJDCHS Principal Search, 6225 Hwy. 290 East, Austin Texas 78723.

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Catholic Schools Prepare for Bright Futures

By Michele Chan Santos
Senior Correspondent

The classrooms are full and bustling, the pencils are fresh, and throughout the diocese, students are making new friends and meeting new teachers. As the 2015-2016 school year begins, there are many developments, expansions and celebrations happening in the Catholic schools around the diocese.
Some campuses have expanded –– or will soon be expanding –– their physical space to better serve their students.
“The new construction is exciting,” said Dr. Ned Vanders, superintendent of Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Austin. “Our schools hold the future; and the additional classrooms and learning spaces ensure that future for many years to come.”
At Santa Cruz Catholic School in Buda, a new addition was recently completed.
The $2.5 million project added nine classrooms, four religious education offices and a large youth meeting room, as well as renovating the school office. The library also doubled in size, and the school now has a dedicated music and band hall, science lab and art room.
Susan Flanagan, principal at Santa Cruz, is excited about the changes.
“It’s beautiful. Last year we didn’t have an art or music room, the teachers had to float from classroom to classroom. Space for those enrichment classes is so important,” she said.
Bishop Joe Vásquez will dedicate the new addition on Sept. 27.
San Juan Diego Catholic High School in South Austin is making progress with their capital campaign. San Juan Diego is unique in that each student works five eight-hour days each month at a professional internship.
San Juan Diego’s goal is to raise $9.6 million with their Phase I capital campaign, in order to build a math and science center, fine arts center and gymnasium. Don Hill, director of development at San Juan Diego, said they have raised $6.5 million toward their goal.
“We’re hoping to start construction in late fall,” Hill said. “So we can have those buildings open in January 2017.”
To date St. Gabriel’s Catholic School in Southwest Austin has raised $5.3 million of their $6.6 million fundraising goal, said Daniel McKenna, head of school at St. Gabriel.
Construction of the new facilities funded by the campaign has already begun. When the project is complete in January, St. Gabriel will have a new chapel, a new multimedia research area (including a new library and large group instruction space), a robotics lab, a new performing arts area and a “Maker Space,” a design lab. The Maker Space will enhance the STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) programs at St. Gabriel.
“The Maker Space is state-of-the-art. We’re thrilled,” McKenna said. New practice facilities for the basketball and volleyball teams will also be included in the project. McKenna said the enrollment at St. Gabriel –– about 450 students in Pre-K through 8th grade –– is the highest it’s ever been.
In other developments, Holy Family Catholic School in North Austin added a third kindergarten class; they will continue adding a third section of students to the succeeding grades over the next eight years. Also, St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Southwest Austin renovated its science lab.
Three schools are celebrating landmark anniversaries this year.
“The hard work and dedication of the founders are inspirational,” Dr. Vanders said. “It is gratifying to know that their vision continues and lives on for future generations.”
St. Ignatius Martyr Catholic School in Austin is celebrating its 75th anniversary. The kickoff event was a Mass with Bishop Vásquez on Aug. 9 with many alumni, parents and students, which was followed by a rededication and blessing of the school, tours and a reception. This was the first of many anniversary activities planned for this year, including an Alumni Mass and street dance in October.
Principal Jenny Malone said the anniversary kickoff is a fun way to start the year.
“We have a great group of teachers coming back, and our kids are so good. It’s the excitement of starting fresh again,” she said. The school also has a new metal roof and St. Ignatius Parish will be launching a capital campaign soon to improve the school and church.
St. Ignatius was founded in the fall of 1940 by Holy Cross Father Patrick Duffy as a basement school with five rooms for Kindergarten through eighth grades. The current building was constructed in 1955, and expanded in the 1980s. St. Ignatius serves 240 students in grades PreK3-8.
St. Joseph Catholic School in Killeen will mark its 60th anniversary. The school has a new pastor, Father Chris Downey. St. Joseph School opened in the fall of 1955 with only two teachers and 54 students. The current building was opened in 1974. Plans are underway to celebrate the school anniversary.
Sacred Heart Catholic School in La Grange will commemorate their 80th anniversary. The school has a new administrator, Father Matthew Kinney.
“We have a committee which has already been working toward the anniversary celebrations that will be held this year,” Father Kinney said. “There are so many people who live in the area who are alumni of Sacred Heart Catholic School. They are really the history of the school. All of the alumni I have met are very proud of coming from Sacred Heart.”
He was eager to get started with the new school year.
“I very much believe in the power of education and the experience we have to offer through Catholic education,” he said.
For more information Catholic schools, visit

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Cathedral School of Saint Mary is on the map!

So much wonderful news contained in one map! We want all children to have access to a wonderful Catholic education, and this map highlights Catholic schools that have been successful in recruiting Latino students.

The schools featured are only the beginning! We want to multiply these stories, over and over. If your school has experienced recent growth in Latino enrollment, please let us know by following the link in the bottom left of the map.…

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High school gives students work experience

By Michele Chan Santos

Known as the “The School That Works!” San Juan Diego Catholic High School in South Austin has an eighth grade academy and a college preparatory high school. Each high school student works five 8-hour days out of the month at a professional internship.
A team of four students shares a full-time equivalent position at a company, such as Dell, the Diocese of Austin, Brodie Animal Clinic, St. Edward’s University, Texas Capital Bank, Seton Healthcare Family, University of Texas Environmental Engineers, several local law firms and many other locations.
Pam Jupe was appointed president of the school on July 1, and will continue to serve as the principal of SJDCHS for the immediate future. She said the students “are prepared academically for college, and they are also prepared for the work force after college … An internship is such a valuable commodity.”
One former SJDCHS student, now attending Barnard College in New York City, recently wrote Jupe with exciting news –– she was hired as an intern at MTV Networks/Viacom in New York. The high school internship she did at the Austin advertising firm GSD&M played a key role in earning her internship.
One hundred percent of SJDCHS’s graduating class of 2013 was accepted into a four-year college or university; 65 percent of those students were the first generation in their families to attend college. All students take an ACT preparatory course, as well as a seminar course focusing on college applications, essays and financial aid. Currently about 170 students attend the school.
SJDCHS’s unique combination of corporate internship and financial aid helps make a private Catholic high school education available for families in a wide range of financial situations. Sixty-three percent of the students at SJDCHS qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Tuition assistance is provided for many students.
The development team at San Juan Diego raised $800,000 last year, and most of that went to tuition assistance, Jupe said.
The annual tuition cost for a student at SJDCHS is about $10,000. However, the corporate internship program covers $6,000 of that amount. Many of the students receive enough aid so that their monthly tuition expense is significantly lower. Every family fills out a PSAS (Private School Aid Service) application to determine how much aid they may receive.
SJDCHS also participates in a partnership with Sacred Heart Parish in Austin whereby the parish pays for part of the tuition for parishioners who send their children to the school.

Partnership helps students attend Catholic schools

By Michele Chan Santos
An innovative new program and partnership is making Catholic education more affordable and achievable for some Austin-area Catholic families.
Since January 2013, active parishioners at Sacred Heart Parish in Northeast Austin have been eligible to have half or more of their children’s tuition expenses at San Juan Diego Catholic High School (SJDCHS), Cathedral School of St. Mary (preK3 through eighth grades) or St. Ignatius Catholic School (preK3 through eighth grades) covered by their parish. 
Father Mark Hamlet, pastor of Sacred Heart Parish, which serves a primarily Hispanic, Spanish-speaking community, said many of the parishioners are immigrants with little formal education.
“In our neighborhood, the concept of higher education is not one many parents are familiar with,” Father Hamlet said. “Preparing for college is not on their radar screen.”
He hopes to change that. SJDCHS, with its history of helping Hispanic students become the first in their families to attend and graduate from college, has transformed many families in his parish. 
Pam Jupe, the president and principal of SJDCHS, explained that once a student is accepted at one of these schools, their parents can bring the financial statement to Sacred Heart Parish in order to have half or more of the tuition bill paid by the church. 
For Sacred Heart families that are struggling financially, Father Hamlet says that between the aid offered by the school and by his parish, the cost per student is very reasonable. “That is significant for families with four to six children, but who have household incomes around $40,000 or less, as is often the case in our parish and community,” Father Hamlet said.
For more information about this partnership, contact Father Mark Hamlet at (512) 926-2552.

Student life
Don Hill is the director of development at SJDCHS. He said the school has a closely knit and supportive atmosphere.
“People think it’s amazing when they stop and talk to a student here. It’s ‘Yes, ma’am’ or ‘Yes, sir’ every time. There’s a tremendous respect between the students, faculty and staff. We are really giving them an edge for life after graduation,” Hill said.
Dr. Ned Vanders, superintendent of Catholic Schools for the Diocese of Austin, is impressed with the SJDCHS students who work at the diocesan offices during the school year.
“There is a team at the Pastoral Center and I have observed firsthand the difference the school makes in the lives of the students,” Vanders said. “The school not only prepares the students for the real world but puts them in the real world.”
Although a student does not have to be Catholic to attend SJDCHS, the Catholic identity is strong.
“We have weekly Mass, and different celebrants every Friday,” said Gerard Cisneros, director of admissions at the school. There is also a strong parent-school connection.
Sacred Heart Parish in Austin has a Parent Association group for parents of students attending Catholic schools. Many of the students come from predominantly Spanish-speaking homes (82 percent of the school student body is Hispanic) and the monthly parent meetings are held in Spanish and English.
Diocesan and school officials attend the meetings to listen to the parents, Sacred Heart pastor, Father Mark Hamlet said. “These meetings have resulted in understanding and responding to many unanticipated problems, such as transportation, or meeting the children when they get off the bus (a problem for many working parents).”
SJDCHS does have bus routes available for most of their students and the school also transports the students to and from their internships.
The future
SJDCHS is currently housed in a two-story former elementary school building that was built in the 1950s. There is no gymnasium, locker room or cafeteria. The hall at San José Parish next door is used when available. The school also needs new science labs.
The board of SJDCHS has launched a $12.6 million campaign to construct a new high school. Plans for the new high school include a math and science center with laboratory space, a fine arts performance area and a gymnasium.
Vanders said SJDCHS has a bright future. “Launching the campaign for new construction is exciting,” he said. “The school is alive and vibrant and growing.”
To arrange a visit to San Juan Diego Catholic High School, contact Gerard Cisneros, director of admissions, (512) 804-1935, ext. 308, or

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