View Full Version : All SF Catholic School/Kindergarten - how do you *really* get your child in? (St. Stephen's, St. Brendan, St. Cecilia)

04-06-2011, 02:10 PM
In speaking with so many parents over the years, I see that many of the sought after Catholic schools are very difficult to get into, even if your family is a parishioner. I am talking about St. Brendan, St. Stephen, St. Cecilia, etc.

The schools say you have to be a contributing, and active parishioner. Sure, I get that. But when there are so many "contributing and active parishioners" how do the schools/parishes choose which families get a place in the competitive Kindergarten process. There were so many families who were turned away from St. Brendan, St. Stephen, etc. this year. When there are only 10 or 15 non-sibling places, you can't offer a place to every parishioner.

So, obviously, there is also some other criteria as well. If you are willing to share, can you tell me how you/your friends got in? Were you volunteering more? Were you donating more (we are not willing to do that)? What were you doing? there are families who don't even attend mass regularly, who get places, while others don't. I just don't understand how it *really* works - i.e. how it workes beyond what the schools, websites, tell you.

Would appreicate your comments, thoughts.

04-07-2011, 10:46 AM
sharon, even though I've been through the process, I still don't know how the process exactly works. That said, I'll take a stab at it. Every year, the school is trying to put together a class. They start with all the entering siblings and then figure out how many more students they need and what type of students they need. If a lot of siblings are boys, then chances are there will be more spots for girls. If some are on the older side, then the school may look to round out the class with younger kids. The playdates or screenings also help to identify which kids may be more adept at handling the schoolwork. As you go through the process, try to build a relationship with the principal so that your application stands out. All else being equal, how long you've been a parishioner, how involved you are with the parish and so on will help as tiebreakers. Not sure if this helps but wanted to throw it out there.

04-07-2011, 11:11 AM
I think lauradfam did a great job laying out what I know of the process. The only detail I'd add is that on years when numbers are tight, it is helpful if you have used your parish envelopes and donated frequently. I know for a fact that the amount of money you give does not matter. What does matter is that you put your envelope in the basket weekly. This provides the school with a metric on how frequently you attend mass. And when it comes down to it, these schools are all looking for strong Catholic families committed to raising their children in the faith and participating in the church/school community. An important step towards that is regularly bringing your children to mass. So, don't get hung up on how much you give, just attend mass (ie, every Sunday) and put your envelope in the basket every time, which shows that you were there.

That said, it is important to also be involved in the community by volunteering, help to prepare your child for the screening (St. Brendan has the basic criteria on it's website), get to know the pastor. And if you have close relationships with families already in the school, it can be helpful to have them write letters to the principal on your behalf.

Even still some families who do all these things are sometimes not offered a spot. And that is often due to the age/gender/readiness/temprament balance that lauradfam already laid out. Just do what you can do. And go into the process feeling hopeful that things will work out for the best.