St. Mary’s to Add Sixth Grade

March 15, 2011
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St. Mary’s will add a sixth grade starting this fall, a move intended to align the school’s grade structure with its public-school counterparts.

“We have had inquiries from parents about a sixth grade for the last several years,” said St. Mary’s Head of School Dr. Raymond A. Bastarache, who added the school conducted a series of focus group with parents of public elementary school students.

“We believe the demand is there,” Bastarache said. “This will allow us to offer families the opportunity to change schools only once if they so choose.”

Grades 6-8 at St. Mary’s will be called the Marian Division, honoring the patron saint of the parish and reflecting the former nickname of the school’s athletic teams.

St. Mary’s added a junior high – grades 7-8 – in the early 1990s, but shortly thereafter public schools began shifting to the grade 6-8 middle-school model.  The school currently has approximately 700 students in grades 7-12.

Principal Carl A. DiMaiti said the school can accommodate 50 sixth-graders. The curriculum will include English, social studies, math (Algebra I), science, religion, physical education, art, world language, technology and library research and study skills. Tuition next year will be $5,750 for the Marian Division and $8,350 for the high school.

DiMaiti said while sixth-graders will have most of the classes in the same building as the seventh- and eighth-graders, they will have access to all of the facilities, including the Connell Library, two computer labs, science lab, Conigliaro Gymnasium and art room.

“We want to strike a balance between keeping them with their peers and making sure they have the opportunity to take advantage of all that our school offers,” DiMaiti said.

Bastarache said the school is expanding with the approval of the Archdiocese of Boston. In addition, he wrote a letter to 16 Catholic elementary school principals in the area several weeks ago informing them of the school’s intentions. He hopes to maintain a strong working relationship with them.

“We have a good relationship with the Catholic schools in Lynn and the surrounding area,” Bastarache said. “We do not anticipate this move having an adverse effect on them.”

St. Mary’s will hold an Open House for prospective sixth-grade students and their families on Sunday, April 10 from 1-3 p.m. and Wednesday, April 13 from 3-5 p.m. Applications are also available online at HYPERLINK “http://www.smhlynn.org”www.smhlynn.org or by calling the admissions office at 781-586-2009.

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