Catholics schools in Haverhill, Groton to close

BRAINTREE -- Two Catholic schools, Country Day School of the Holy Union in Groton and St. Joseph School in Haverhill, have announced they will be closing following the end of the 2016-2017 school year.

In a press release, Country Day School noted declining and low enrollment as contributing factors to its closing, citing that "enrollment has declined 64 percent since 2010 from 215 students to 79 students currently."

The falling numbers have left the school, which is under the sponsorship of the Holy Union Sisters, operating at a "significant financial deficit." The school was first opened in 1949, and educates students from pre-Kindergarten to 6th Grade.

St. Joseph School of All Saints Parish in Haverhill cited similar reasons for closing, including low enrollment and rising costs.

"Enrollment has declined 51 percent since 2012 from 269 students to 133 students," a letter to members of the school and the parish community cited.

St. Joseph School, which had been in operation for 129 years, enrolled students from nursery school through grade 8.

The school noted it plans to "continue nursery and prekindergarten at our Early Childhood center located on 120 Bellevue Avenue which could include a kindergarten if numbers warrant."

Both schools are working with the Archdiocese of Boston Catholic Schools Office to ensure that families that wish to continue a Catholic education for their children do so. Faculty and staff affected by the closings also will be placed on a priority list for opening positions in other Catholic schools.

Kathy Mears, Superintendent of Catholic Schools for the archdiocese, noted June 13 that the Sacred Hearts School in Bradford hosted an open house for families of students of St. Joseph School. The event was "well attended," she said, and the school "received 45 applications last night" and are expecting more.

Lawrence Catholic Academy will also be having an open house of St. Joseph School families.

In March, Country Day School held a Catholic School Fair for students interested in Catholic schools in the surrounding area.

Another Catholic school, St. Clement School in Medford, also announced earlier this year that it will be closing at the end of the 2016-2017 school year.