Mother Teresa Regional Catholic School – A Blue Ribbon Award-Winning School
Shaping students’ hands, hearts, and minds in the Catholic tradition
Mother Teresa Regional Catholic School (MTC) provides an education that nurtures students’ faith and prepares them to face the challenges of today’s rapidly changing world. Its goal: to create lifelong learners who exemplify respect, dignity, and compassion. MTC values the holiness of life within a safe environment that respects the culturally diverse – and diverse learning — needs of all students.
Partnership in Education
Principal Christine Pagan explains, “We want our students thinking critically in a safe environment to learn their faith, and navigate their place in the world, preparing them for whatever is to come.” To best prepare them, the school sees education as a partnership between families and educators to offer kids consistent environments with similar values, providing them stability inside and out of MTC’s doors.
“Family values is something people look for when they come to our school,” said Christine. “I spent most of my career in public schools, then came here and I love the faith-based community — it means a lot to me. It’s been a comfortable, stable place to be, especially in the past couple years. In our community we’re all on the same page, working together.”
Exceeding Standards for Curriculum
Academics for its pre-k through eighth grade students is, of course, also incredibly important. The school follows the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s curriculum, and exceeds national curriculum standards. Its teachers are highly qualified, state certified, and many hold advanced degrees. MTC students consistently score above the national average in math and reading in standardized achievement tests. And with small class sizes – a 1:10 student to teacher ratio for the littlest learners to 1:13 in older grades — the school has just under 300 students enrolled, allowing personalized attention.
MTC also has additional offerings like religion, a 7th and 8th grade civics class, engineering, a rich music program and extracurriculars ranging from an eSports lab to Lego robotics. The school is also proud to offer a robust special ed program to meet kids with learning differences where they are. “I’ve been here for eight years and we’ve worked hard to open doors to kids of all backgrounds and needs. We offer a full special ed program which is not available in many Catholic schools. We also work very hard to offer financial aid for those who need it,” said Principal Pagan.
Students come from six school districts, from Wayne to Norristown to Teddyfrin, among others. Thirty-percent of students qualify for free or reduced-price lunch. As the student body is from diverse communities, supporting those communities is important to Principal Pagan, and always has been at MTC, she says.
For instance, the school holds events benefiting people in need multiple times a year, like an Adopt-a-family program at Christmas, a food pantry food drive, a coat drive, and 20 hours of community service is a requirement for the Sacrament of Confirmation.
A Breath of Fresh Air
Literally outside the classroom the large, nature-filled campus is used to the fullest to ensure kids are enjoying recreational time and benefiting from fresh air. They go outside as much as possible, at recess, at lunch, sometimes three times a day depending on the grade. There, kids also enjoy the brand new playground added in 2022.
In addition to the playground renovation, other updates have recently been completed, including outfitting classrooms with new whiteboards, desk, and other furniture to make it a modern and comfortable learning space.
Blue Ribbon Status
This unique environment with diverse offerings helped Mother Theresa Regional Catholic School to earn the National Blue Ribbon this year, a distinction only 300 schools in the country received from the U.S. Department of Education. The program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools based on their overall academic excellence or their progress in closing achievement gaps. To apply for this prestigious award, schools have to demonstrate high test scores, growth, attendance, and curricular study. Then they undergo a rigorous process, including a 25+ page application asking about every facet of the school from leadership to staff to programs to specialty studies. Which is to say, mastering this process speaks volumes to the quality of any awardee.
While there is much to like about MTC, the kids and teachers are Christine’s favorite things about working there. “Every decision I make, everything I do is for the kids. They make it a great place to be.”
She notes she couldn’t do it without the teachers, who she says are very committed. “I’m very lucky. My job is harder when we have teachers who don’t work hard. They really do try everything to ensure their students are successful.”
MTC’s Blue Ribbon status will make the 2023-24 school year admission process more competitive; view the MTC website or call 610-265-232 for more information or to schedule a tour.
This story for the Main Line Parent Community was written by Stef Arck-Baynes. Photography supplied by Mother Theresa Regional Catholic School.