The Farmingdale campus of La Salle Regional Elementary School has been experiencing a steady increase in enrollment throughout the past few years, the campus' principal, Susan Anaischik, has reported.
Using a ditto, La Salle students work on improving their language arts skills.
The increase comes as Farmingdale and all of Long Island are experiencing population growth, and as Farmingdale's public schools are experiencing an average yearly enrollment growth of about 14 percent.
"Slowly but surely it's growing," said Anaischik, noting that the Catholic school's enrollment increased from 380 to 403 students between March and September of this year. This increase, she added, is similar to that of the past few years. The school's kindergarten, she noted, has been gaining an additional 25 to 50 new students per year.
The school hopes to attract more students during Catholic Schools Week, which starts this year on Jan. 25. The school prepares heavily for the recruitment effort, which begins with a Mass at St. Kilian Catholic Church. "It's a chance to show off the school," said Anaischik, adding, "Really, we need it to survive."
La Salle Regional School, which is named for St. John Baptist de la Salle, has two campuses - the one in Farmingdale and one in Bethpage. It was formed six years ago after four local Roman Catholic parishes decided to consolidate their parochial schools into one regionalized school. All four of the parishes, St. Kilian in Farmingdale, St. Martin of Tours in Bethpage, St. Pius X in Plainview, and St. James in Seaford closed their schools. La Salle Regional School opened in the buildings where St. Kilian's and St. Martin of Tours' schools had previously operated; thus two campuses were formed. Children from all four parishes now attend the school, which is also supported financially by the four parishes.
Although the change was difficult at first, because of the closing of the schools, the regionalized school system has been successful, Anaischik noted. "It's working," she said, noting that she sees the success on the happy faces of the school's students.
"I demand a lot from them," she said of the students, noting that, on a typical school day, they get on buses to go to school at 7:30 a.m., and do not leave until 3 p.m. She added that the school sets clear rules about appropriate play and work times. "So it's not like everything is fun and games," she said, adding, "Even with all of that, they're happy."
In addition to experiencing enrollment growth, like Farmingdale public schools, La Salle is gearing up for the New York State Board of Regents' new learning standards. "The new learning standards will be our focus, and we certainly will prepare the students for the assessments too," said Anaischik. Most of the school's graduates attend Catholic high schools on Long Island, such as Chaminade High School, Kellenberg Memorial High School, St. John the Baptist, and Trinity Diocesan High School.
As for long term goals, Anaischik said one of La Salle Regional School's major aims is to be officially recognized as a school of excellence.
She also plans to develop the technology curriculum of the Farmingdale campus, which is currently equipped with 25 computers. Upgrading technology curriculum is a priority at both campuses, she said.