The latest figures from the state of Pennsylvania indicate that the average annual cost of a public school education is now $13,907 per student. Continuing in the classic tradition of Catholic parish schools, the cost at OMC is much lower. Even though our costs are low, our quality is supreme. OMC student standardized test scores rank among the highest in the Archdiocese and well above the national averages across all areas of the curriculum (Academic Excellence). While the slightest reference to religion is outlawed in the public setting, OMC students are privileged to be a part of a faith-based education. Catholic values permeate all aspects of classroom life. While academic excellence is sought, it is of equal importance that each student grows to become a good human being who can apply Our Lord’s principles to living (Code of Courtesy).
But beyond Catholic Values and Academic Excellence, there is something else that sets OMC apart. OMC is a Parish School… and a Parish School has many wonderful traits. Here are just a few.
Unity of Church and School. As a community of families, a Parish seeks to provide a venue for its children to grow and learn in an environment where Catholic Christian values are embedded in the educational environment. In addition, families are looking to have Catholic traditions of liturgy, reception of the sacraments and regular prayer provided. Regular school liturgies in our beautiful church, daily religion classes, and prayer along with the ministry of our resident Oblates of St. Francis De Sales and Sisters of St. Joseph create a seamless connection between the Church and School. Faith practices become a way of life for our students.
Rich Balance of Diversity. OMC is a richly diverse school community rooted in our goal to be a place where diversity is to be understood, respected, valued, and appreciated. We are proud of our socioeconomic, ethnic, racial, and geographic diversity. We work to keep it that way and maintain a balance. In this diversity, the School reflects the universality of the larger Church and is a welcome sign of a future where a community of faith will be defined less by the boundaries of ancestry and neighborhood, and more by a common desire to participate and educate children in an explicitly Catholic environment. Most importantly, if children have the opportunity to live and work and play with each other from Kindergarten or Pre-K through 8th grade, they are better prepared to be more understanding, kinder and gentler to those they encounter on their life’s journey.
Parent Volunteerism Creates a Strong Sense of Family Community. A school is not a building but rather a coming together of families, teachers, and staff. Since the largest of these groups is the families, it is they, most significantly, who engender a tone of positive, constructive, and contagious energy. At OMC, we are blessed with families who have a passion to contribute their time, talent, and treasure so that our school can be a successful conduit for the world’s knowledge and Our Lord’s teachings. In addition to the benefits of extra hands and keeping costs down, having parents involved and visible at school on a daily basis demonstrates an atmosphere of service which the children then assimilate. When they see their own parents as well as others they may know, working together and supporting the efforts of the school staff, it creates a sense of duty and community which in turn creates a sustained sense of family. A sense of family creates a sense of comfort and when children are comfortable in school, learning is easier. Finally, as the children go off into the world they will carry forth their witness of positive participation which can only help make for a better society.
Our Faith-Filled Faculty Creates a Kinder and Gentler Environment. As Catholics themselves each faculty member is dedicated to the principles of Catholic Christian living. Daily religion lessons expound on the teachings of Our Lord. Each teacher serves as a role model of kindness and understanding while using the school Code of Courtesy program as a backdrop for teaching students how to engage in healthy interpersonal relationships. Responsibility, respect, and effort are virtues that are nurtured. Teachers prepare students for sacramental reception and guide them in coming to a more prayerful participation in liturgy. Teachers promote outreach to those in need as they lead their students to visit nursing homes and collect provisions for the poor. In these ways, Our Lord’s example of reaching out to others becomes a way of life for our students. Our faculty takes pride in developing and graduating young men and women who are not only well-educated but who will contribute to making the world a kinder, gentler and better place for all.
Small Class Sizes, Affordability, and Financial Sustainability. Typically we try to to limit class sizes to 25. In this way, every student has the opportunity to express and receive more personalized attention which is critical to fostering a 21st century education and achieving academic excellence throughout every grade. At the same time, we must balance this against the tradition of parish school affordability while ensuring long-term financial sustainability. Given the recent environment of parish school closings in the Philadelphia area, it is important to know that OMC is financially sound, strong, and thriving.
The quest to find the right school for your child is a significant and complex endeavor. While we are not for everyone, over our one hundred and fifty years we have been the right choice for literally thousands of families. As times have changed, our school has continually updated its curriculum, activities and teacher qualifications but has remained dedicated to developing faith-filled students. We are proud of this long-standing tradition and wish to both continue and improve upon our mission of graduating to the world young people who are educated, socially conscious, and filled with a sense of the Catholic Christian faith which promotes a more peaceful, caring world.
So if you seek a school that blends Catholic Values and Academic Excellence in a Parish School Setting, we invite you to visit (Visiting) and see for yourself what makes OMC such a special place.