SINCE 1881


September 17, 2012

For Immediate Release
Contact: Phone: E-mail: Chris Hornbarger, Executive System Administrator (ESA), IHC Schools (or) Stacy Uliano, Administrative Assistant to the ESA, IHC Schools (315) 221-3785 (or)

IHC Schools Achieve Enrollment Goals
After achieving a substantial increase in students last year, enrollment at Immaculate Heart Central Schools (IHC) of Watertown is holding steady. Watertown, NY, September 17, 2012 -- Immaculate Heart Central (IHC) Schools’ K to 12 enrollment is within 1% of its goal of 572 students, with several enrolled students still to arrive. The school credits strong academics, a safe environment, and commitment to a Christ-centered education. Enrollment at both the high school and elementary school is strong. After a major enrollment spike last year, IHC planned slightly lower enrollment than this year, but the overall trend remains upward. IHC achieved its enrollment goals in spite of an abnormally high military turnover, the size of which was not fully anticipated when the budget was created. “We had a big net loss of Army students this summer, vs. a big net gain last year,” said Chris Hornbarger, IHC’s Executive System Administrator. “We ended up with over 40 seats to fill this year!” When the entire 10th Mountain Division returned home this spring, soldiers stabilized for years at Ft. Drum began to be reassigned to other units or schooling. It takes the Army time to backfill those positions. “The Army’s personnel cycle varies from year-to-year,” said Hornbarger, “but we expect this year’s unusually high turnover to normalize itself over time.” While several Drum units are slated for deployment over the coming year, the Army has shortened deployments from twelve to nine months, and increased the time at home between deployments. 1

For the second year in a row, IHC also enrolled a large Kindergarten cohort, enabling the school to maintain three sections of Kindergarten with very small class sizes. “Strong Kindergarten enrollment is the best long-term predictor of the enrollment health of the school,” said Hornbarger. At the Kindergarten level, small class sizes are proven to improve student achievement. At the same time, IHC Schools exceeded its financial expectations for the 2011-2012 school year, allowing the school system to strengthen academic and other programs. IHC has purchased iPads for teachers and students, transitioned to Google Apps for Education (used by over 60% of America’s top colleges), provided students with school email accounts, fielded new courses in the arts and sciences, replaced its playgrounds, and invigorated a professional development and mentorship program for teachers. The school system is grateful to its benefactors and alumni for contributing to this success. “Our financial plans also account for an anticipated enrollment dip at the high school as some smaller classes move up in the next few years,” said Hornbarger, “We’re on track.” Another major initiative this year is the expansion of IHC’s St. John Bosco Pre-Kindergarten program, which now includes a new 5 day per week program for 4-year olds, in addition to its traditional 2 and 3 day per week programs for 3 and 4-year olds. “We’re very excited at the community’s response to expanding our Pre-K program,” said Gary West, principal of IHC Elementary. The school has also been successful in expanding financial aid and scholarship opportunities over the last several years. “Our goal has been to expand opportunities to more families within our community,” said Lisa Parsons, the Junior/Senior High School Principal, “so we have increased our financial aid and scholarship support. We appreciate the generosity of many benefactors and alumni who understand our mission and have provided resources to help us meet our goal.” IHC’s steady enrollment comes in spite of a number of factors challenging IHC and other private and parochial schools, including the sluggish economic recovery. This year, the Diocese of Ogdensburg closed St. Mary’s Academy, an elementary school in Champlain, due to financial reasons. IHC attributes its recent success in large part to parents’ continued confidence in the quality of the education. IHC’s standardized test scores in grades 3 to 8 English Language Arts and Math, as well as both its Regents passing and mastery scores, remain well above state and local averages.