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  • Writer's pictureLourdes Academy

Choosing a Middle School for Your Child

Anita Cohen grew up in North Oxford, Massachusetts, a small town where everyone knew everyone. In Florida, few places are small and quaint. But Anita is thrilled she has found a school for her grandson, Shaughn, with the small-town feel she grew up.

“The kids, the teachers, the staff, the principal all treated Shaughn like he was one of their own,” Anita recalls. “He fits in here, and it’s a safe and secure place for him to be in middle school. The pre-teen years seem like the stage where they choose their path and their friends. At Lourdes Academy, I don’t feel like Shaughn is going to get caught up in bad things I see happening with other kids his age.”

Lourdes Academy Principal Steve Dole says it’s not uncommon for him to encounter parents looking for an alternative to public school for their middle schooler.

“I find that most parents recognize the reputation of the local public middle schools, and this heightens their desire to find a school that is going to be the right fit for their child during these formative years.”

Steve explains parents of middle school students are looking for a safe environment where their child won’t get “lost in the mix” or “be a name-less student.” At Lourdes Academy, students don’t slip through the cracks, and they learn to recognize their full potential inside and outside the academic realm.

The Lourdes Academy Difference

Lourdes Academy is different from other middle schools in multiple ways.

· Smaller class sizes in 7th and 8th grade where classes are split between honors (advanced grade-level curriculum) and academic (grade level curriculum)

· Enrichment opportunities where advanced students can keep moving forward and taking on new challenges

· Intervention support to ensure every student is achieving grade-level expectations

· 6th, 7th, and 8th-grade students have the same middle school teachers each year, allowing students and teachers to build unique relationships.

· Behavioral expectations are higher for Lourdes Academy students not only in the classroom but in between classes. Middle school students are taught to be role models for younger students on the campus.

· Extracurricular activities beyond what most public schools can offer at middle school and elementary school levels include basketball, track, soccer, flag football, and volleyball. There are educational, religious, and service-related after-school clubs and programs such as STEM Robotics, STEM Club, Reading Club, EDGE (youth ministry), Boy Scouts, and FIRE (Fighting Inequality, Respecting Equality.)

Make the School Switch Early

“Lourdes Academy truly is a different environment when compared to the public middle school experience,” explains Dole. “There is an adjustment, so we usually recommend to parents looking to make the switch from public to Catholic middle school – start early. Exploring school options for your student when they are in 4th grade and making the switch in 5th grade gives them the chance to transition to a new school and lets our team get to know them better. Fewer students are making a switch from public to Catholic school in the mid-elementary years versus in 6th grade.”

Shaughn Brady, Anita’s grandson, is in 6th grade now but came to Lourdes Academy in 5th grade. His grades are excellent, and Anita says she loves the compliment of the values he is learning in Boy Scouts and school each day.

“I wish I would have moved Shaughn from public school to Lourdes Academy sooner,” says Anita. “I just recently learned about the scholarships, and that is what made it possible for me to consider a better environment for Shaughn.”

Financial Support for Families

Shaughn’s story is not unique. Many families who choose Lourdes Academy have some financial support that makes it possible to attend private school.

“We often hear parents tell us they need more time before moving their child to Lourdes Academy to save up for the tuition,” explains Dole. “Often that isn’t necessary because we offer a variety of income-based scholarships for qualifying families, but also have financial aid available to meet financial needs when a student is accepted.”

Anita agrees.

“I would tell other families to contact the school and just check it out. You will be impressed,” says Anita. “There is just more kindness with everyone on campus,” says Anita. “There is so much caring and concern for the other person that I have not seen at a school before.”

To book a personalized tour of Lourdes Academy, contact the school office at 386-252-0391 or email Mirtha DeWitt at

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