OLL builds new playground for growing preschool class

by Nicole Brodzik
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Last year, Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School (OLL) began a new program to help families who want to give their children a catholic education offset tuition costs. It seems to be working. This year, the school will have a third preschool class to serve the 50 preschoolers that are enrolled so far.

And all those extra kids are going to need a place to let off energy during recess, so the school applied for, and was awarded, a grant $25,000 to help build a new playground. To receive the grant the school was required to raise $25,000 to receive a matching amount from the Catholic Schools Center of Excellence (CSCOE). After that, it was up to the school to put the new play structure in place.

Families from the school and the church came out to help set everything up and help the school get prepared for the year ahead, according to Advancement Director Kassie Ricke.

“We had 30 volunteers over the week come out and help,” Ricke said. “It wasn’t just our preschool families, either. We had families from all grades come out and help.”

She said that OLL has been working to recreate the small town community feel within the school and she credits that environment to having so much help from the school’s families. According to Ricke, that all starts with the church’s pastor and the school’s principal.

“We have a priest and a principal who believe that if a family wants their children to have a catholic education, we want to provide it,” Ricke said.

She said that thanks to the new variable tuition program the school rolled out last year, they are not only getting more students enrolled, but keeping more students who would have otherwise transferred.

One of OLL’s most well-attended programs has historically been pre-K, but because of the costs of a private education, some families couldn’t afford to keep their children enrolled beyond that point. Ricke said their retention numbers have been much higher thanks to variable tuition and the flexibility it gives families.

“I think before we would keep maybe 15 percent of those students,” she said. “Now, it’s closer to 40 percent.”

Ricke added that there is still money available for families who are thinking of enrolling their children for the 2017-18 school year and that are still a few spaces available for pre-K students as well. For more information on variable tuition or enrollment at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic School, visit http://www.school.ourladyofthelake.com/admissions/tuition/