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St. Columbkille Partnership School receives $1.65 million in grants


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BRIGHTON -- St. Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton has received four grants totaling $1.65 million from local foundations and supporters to enhance academic programs and support ongoing capital improvements, which will pave the way for the expansion of the middle school, recently designated Loyola Academy at St. Columbkille.

The grants include $1 million from the Yawkey Foundation, $300,000 from the Flatley Foundation, $100,000 from the Birmingham Foundation and $250,000 from longtime supporters Rick and Cathy Roche. Collectively, these gifts represent one of the largest single-year contributions to a K-8 school in the Archdiocese of Boston.

Since its inception in 2006 as a partnership between Boston College, the Archdiocese of Boston and St. Columbkille Parish, the St. Columbkille Partnership School has seen a 170 percent increase in enrollment, from 140 to 380 students, reversing the trend of urban diocesan schools in Boston and throughout the nation. The foundation grants will enable the school to expand to 480 students.

Boston College has invested more than $4 million in the K-8 Catholic school during the past eight years as part of the university's commitment to sustain the last Catholic elementary school in neighboring Allston-Brighton.

"We offer an excellent education that has attracted students from Allston-Brighton and 16 communities throughout the region," said Head of School William Gartside. "There is a critical need for quality, Catholic, middle school education for more area students. Support from the four foundations enables us better address this need."

St. Columbkille Parish School was founded in 1901 to serve the burgeoning population of Irish immigrants. The school began experiencing declining enrollment beginning in the 1980s, but was transformed by the partnership with Boston College, the Archdiocese of Boston and St. Columbkille Parish. Since then, more than 90 percent of the school's teachers have earned master's degrees from Boston College, and BC's Lynch School of Education has assisted the school in adopting a research-based curriculum, a strong early childhood program and a technology-centered elementary education program.

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