Monsignor Gadoury closing, students moving

Monsignor Gadoury closing, students moving

WOONSOCKET – After 27 years as part of the Greater Woonsocket Catholic Regional School System, Monsignor Gadoury School will close its doors for good at the end of the school year.

Students will relocate to Good Shepherd School, creating a pre-K through 8th-grade campus at what was previously a school for grades 3-8.

Jennifer DeOliveira, GWCRS administrator, said the school system’s board of directors made the decision in November to close one school and merge students over to another. Parents, she said, were alerted last week.

“We decided to merge them over because we have the bigger facility here, we have more resources for them,” she said. “Having all the availability, and we have a lot of upgrades to the school, we decided it would be best for the children.”

Though both schools have experienced declines in enrollment over the years, the decision, she said, was not due to any immediate drop in student counts. In recent years, she said, enrollment at the two schools together has remained steady at more than 200 students, but both buildings had vacant classroom space that wasn’t being used.

“I think the greater feeling that we have is having two schools wasn’t really feasible when we could fit everybody in one,” she said.

The Greater Woonsocket Catholic Regional School System was founded in 1972 to serve students in northern Rhode Island and nearby Massachusetts. Though at one time it consisted of six schools, in recent years, the system has operated with two schools, hosting students in grades pre-K through 2 at Monsignor Gadoury and students in grades 3-8 at Good Shepherd.

Initial reaction to the news from parents, said DeOliveira, has been positive. Some families, she explained, had students at each of the two schools, making the new arrangement easier with regard to busing and transportation.

As part of the move, she added, the system plans to make several upgrades to the Good Shepherd School building, including adding bathrooms to the pre-K classrooms, fencing in a field on the property and hopefully adding a playground. Students in grades pre-K through 3 will be housed in a lower campus on the first floor of the building, while students in grades 4-8 will be located in an upper campus on the second floor.

DeOliveira said she has no knowledge of any plans for the Monsignor Gadoury building, which had been leased from Holy Trinity Parish.

The model will put the school more in line with other Catholic schools in the state, most of which offer grades pre-K through 8, though DeOliveira noted it will still maintain its regional partnership with 12 parishes in northern Rhode Island.