St. Michael’s High School Accreditation
(Vermont Catholic/Cori Fugere Urban)Students in the 10th-grade class at St. Michael’s School in Brattleboro study grammar.
Rodney Duteau and Catherine Mazzer, both 16-year-old sophomores at St. Michael’s School in Brattleboro, began their education there as freshmen. He had attended public school through grade eight; she was homeschooled. Both look forward to completing their high school education at the Catholic school that now has received both regional and state accreditation through grade 12.
She likes the family atmosphere and small class size. He appreciates the faith-based education and the confidence instilled in students.
Last year the New England Association of Schools and Colleges expanded St. Michael’s School’s accreditation from a pre-kindergarten through grade-eight school to one that educates students through grade 12. And in April the Vermont State Board of Education granted the school approval to include all high school grades.
The school currently goes to 10th grade, and plans call for one grade to be added each year until the high school section includes grades nine through 12.
There are currently five students in the ninth grade and seven in tenth. In the fall a dozen students are expected to be enrolled as freshmen, five as sophomores and eight as juniors. The goal is to have 10-20 students per class eventually.
“This is very promising,” said Principal Elaine Beam.
The Walnut Street school building used to house both elementary and high school grades, but the high school closed in 1968. The high school reopened in 2015, and the first class is expected to graduate in 2019.
The high school is filling a need in the tri-state area for not only a solid academic education addressing individual learners and a religious-based education but for a secondary education that prepares young people to become “invested citizens,” said Bethany Thies, the school’s development/admissions director.
The community aspect of the school is also important to parents, Beam said. “We are a Catholic school for all children not a school for Catholic children.”
Numerous families have joined or returned to the Church through the children’s experience at St. Michael’s School. “The New Evangelization is Catholic schools bringing people into a loving, respectful, caring community and presenting them with opportunities to feel God’s grace in a safe environment,” Thies said.
And if parents want a St. Michael’s education for their children but have difficulty affording tuition, scholarships are available. “If you desire to be here, we do everything we can to make it happen,” Thies said, noting St. Michael Parish has been generous with aid.
Beam hopes that during the next academic year, when more courses are added, St. Michael’s School will participate with the Diocese of Burlington’s St. Therese Digital Academy with a sharing of staff.
The Brattleboro school also is connecting with local educational resources and community leaders to offer additional hands-on learning experiences that support classroom learning and get students “invested in being community citizens,” Thies said.
“I love the education here,” said Rodney, one of the sophomores. “I feel confident to go out into the world from here.”