The School of the Blessed Sacrament will operate as one school with two campuses due to increased enrollment, beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the archdiocesan Superintendent of Schools office announced.
Sacred Heart of Jesus School will become part of Blessed Sacrament, effective at the end of the current school year.
The two schools are located 1.4 miles from each other on Manhattan’s West Side.
“This is a new and exciting model for the future,” Caroline Sliney, the current head of school for Blessed Sacrament and Sacred Heart of Jesus, told CNY. “I believe in Catholic education, and I believe it’s a place for kids to grow, thrive and succeed.
“Both communities are filled with incredible people. I think this will succeed because of how incredible these people are.”
Dr. Timothy J. McNiff, superintendent of schools in the archdiocese, outlined what will be happening in the two school communities over the coming months in an Oct. 15 letter he sent to families at both schools.
A lower school campus will house students from PK3 to third grade at Blessed Sacrament, and an upper school campus for students in grades four through eight will be located at the former Sacred Heart of Jesus.
Renovations are being done at Sacred Heart of Jesus, which has 89 students enrolled in preK3 through eighth grade in 2018-2019. The café and theater have been completed as part of the investment of approximately $3.5 million for planned renovations. McNiff, in the letter, said that “classrooms and bathrooms will be updated, outdoor play areas renovated, and state of the art labs and a media center will be constructed.” All the renovations will be completed before the start of the 2019-2020 school year.
“I’m excited about the project and the growth of Catholic education on the West Side,” said Joe Tweed, Manhattan regional superintendent.
“It just made perfect sense to bring these school communities together, invest dollars in Sacred Heart of Jesus to further bring it into the 21st century and split Blessed Sacrament into two campuses.”
Enrollment has grown at Blessed Sacrament to 411 students in preK3 through eighth grade. The school has added a second class in the lower grades in recent years. A second third-grade class was added for the current school year, but a room was not available to add a second fourth-grade class for the 2019-2020 school year in the current Blessed Sacrament School.
“We have been growing steadily over the last five years and were actively looking for new space to expand. We’ve done a lot of research and looked at properties. Ultimately, we thought instead of closing a school, why don’t we give it a new life and expand as new community,” said Ms. Sliney, who added the school community has invested more than $500,000 for upgrades to the Blessed Sacrament campus in the past five years.
Ms. Sliney served at Blessed Sacrament as assistant principal, 2013-2015, and principal, 2015-2018, before being named head of school for Blessed Sacrament and Sacred Heart of Jesus for the 2018-2019 school year. She said she has been splitting time between Blessed Sacrament and Sacred Heart of Jesus, and will continue splitting time at both campuses in 2019-2020.
“We’ve had a great academic growth in both schools, and both are primed to bring great things to the table,” Ms. Sliney said. “There are great things happening in both communities, and I’m happy to be part of the efforts for bringing together Catholic education on the West Side.”