Johnstown Catholic Schools Take Another Step Toward Seamless K-12 Education


By Tony DeGol

Bishop McCort Catholic High School principal and Chief Administrative Officer Tom Smith has a familiar phrase: #crushers4life.

Now, some students in the Johnstown Catholic school system will not have to wait until ninth grade to enjoy that amazing Crusher experience.

As part of the continuing effort to unify K-12 education at Divine Mercy Catholic Academy and McCort, seventh and eighth grade students at DMCA will be official Bishop McCort students beginning with the upcoming academic year.

Since the four parish-based Catholic schools in Johnstown regionalized into DMCA in 2016, the seventh and eighth graders have been housed at the McCort building.

Although little will change with this upcoming transition, Smith highlighted two important differences.

“First, our seventh and eighth graders will begin to have access to a middle school curriculum that is more aligned with our curriculum rather than an elementary school course of study,” he explained. “Second, they will have a firm place in our Catholic school system, no longer toggling between Divine Mercy Catholic Academy and Bishop McCort. Together, these benefits will help prepare them for a more seamless transition to high school, especially as it relates to their academic goals and achievements.”

A seamless K-12 experience for Catholic students and families is paramount, said Diocesan Director of Education Jo-Ann Semko.

“This change continues to build on the outstanding collaboration between Divine Mercy Catholic Academy and Bishop McCort Catholic High School,” she stressed. “This partnership strengthens the Catholic education experience for both students and families.”

As students at Bishop McCort, the seventh and eighth graders will be included in all McCort communications, and will follow Bishop McCort schedules and guidelines as outlined in the school’s student handbook.

“While our seventh and eighth graders will be missed at DMCA, I know that the DMCA team has provided them with a firm foundation from which to grow,” Smith mentioned. “With this in mind, I am confident that each one will flourish here as they strengthen their academic, spiritual, physical and emotional selves.”

And, of course, it is never too soon to become #crushers4life.