National spotlight: Partnership for inner-city education

In 2013, the Archdiocese of New York gave Partnership Schools, aka Partnership for Inner-City Education, the opportunity to independently operate six Catholic kindergarten through eighth-grade schools in Harlem and the South Bronx. In the schools’ low-income neighborhoods, the New York-based nonprofit provides a network to give students greater access to educational resources than a parochial school alone could provide. Partnership Schools has revitalized each of these schools, implementing stronger academics, enriching communities and bringing in passionate teachers and administrators.

Solely responsible for funding their schools, the Partnership relies on a strong donor base cultivated over the last 20 years. Partnership Schools sees in its work an opportunity to amplify the uniqueness of Catholic education, which leaders believe cannot be matched by other types of schools. Their Catholic-centered approach focuses on educating the whole child and raising “young men and women for others” who will value and develop their gifts to share them.

When Pope Francis made his first trip to the United States last fall, he chose to visit Our Lady Queen of Angels School, one of the Partnership’s schools. His visit incited a new wave of excitement and initiated an opportunity for Partnership Schools to share its story with the nation and beyond.

“Every time a Catholic school closes, it hurts all of us,” said Jill Kafka, executive director of Partnership Schools. “What’s exciting is to be part of the [Catholic education] Renaissance.”

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