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St. John’s, Notre Dame, Venerini Create Independent Alliance

By Patrick Sargent | April 30, 2020
Last Updated: February 2, 2021

WORCESTER – Notre Dame Academy, Saint John’s High School and Venerini Academy have announced a formal partnership to create new academic, extracurricular and athletic opportunities for their students.

The three schools have established the Alliance for Independent Catholic Schools. Students who graduate from Venerini Academy in good academic standing are eligible for preferred admissions consideration and scholarships from Notre Dame and Saint John’s.

The idea was first discussed in 2017.

“We are all very excited to launch this initiative that will benefit students and families in our community,” says Alex Zequeira, Headmaster at Saint John’s High School. “This alliance between three strong and independent Catholic schools will provide families with an option to educate their girls and boys from Pre-K through grade 12 in schools with strong histories and traditions of valuing the whole child—mind, body, and soul. Our collaboration will bring forth the best in all of our communities in the service of young people. This is an exciting time for independent Catholic education.”

Some highlights from the Alliance include:

  • Faculty and staff from the three schools will meet twice a year for professional development
  • Starting this fall, the schools will share transportation between campuses — families with students who attend different schools within the Alliance will be able to drop of their students at one school. Transportation will be provided to all other campuses.
  • The schools will provide increased interaction and mentorship between elementary school students and middle and high school students, as well as new academic and extracurricular opportunities for students at all three schools.

“A major benefit for Venerini Academy students will be regular interaction with older students from Saint John’s and Notre Dame, who can serve as mentors and role models, says Ray Dewar, principal of Venerini. “While something we have done informally for years, this new partnership will ensure more regular and strategic interactions. In addition, by having our faculties collaborate in new ways to share insights on the overall formation of each student as they progress through our schools, we will all be able to more meaningfully address each student’s unique needs.

While all three schools will remain autonomous, a long-term collaboration on a designed curriculum to help with the transition from elementary to middle school to high school is being considered.

The Alliance will be overseen by a steering committee that includes three representatives from each school — the head of school or principal, a member of the faculty and staff, and a trustee — as well as Thomas Del Prete, Ph.D., professor of practice and Director of the Adam Institute for Urban Teaching and School Practice at Clark University.

“Notre Dame Academy is thrilled to partner with Saint John’s and Venerini in this way,” says Lisa Mancini ‘88, P’18, Head of School at Notre Dame. “With the landscape of Catholic education changing around the world, this partnership allows all three schools to build on our strong foundations and extend our missions and offerings to a broader community. While we will each remain true to our own unique histories, traditions and charisms, this new partnership will allow us to work together in creative ways to offer families in the greater Worcester area a holistic and high-performing Catholic education built on a common belief system.”

For additional information on the Alliance for Independent Catholic Schools, visit:

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