After 97 years, Our Lady of Lourdes School was closing — enrollment had dwindled to just 35 children last year at what was once one of the West Coast’s biggest Catholic schools.
But with a new principal who knocked on doors, offered X Box video game consoles to kids who brought in a friend, and recruited families who lost their bid in a charter school lottery, the East Los Angeles school stayed open — 132 pupils are registered for this fall.
“If we want to continue to survive, we have to think like a business,” said Domenico Pilato, who heads the Archdiocese of Los Angeles’ school marketing project.
Nationally, Catholic school enrollment is still waning — closing 167 schools and losing 34,000 pupils over the past year. But educators say the number of schools with waiting lists increased by 171 and 34 schools opened.
The article quotes Msgr Sabato Pilato, superintendent of high schools in Los Angeles, as saying that in some cases if a principal was reluctant to take on marketing duties, they had to be replaced: “Something different had to happen”