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School expects to reach final decision on expansion in February

Adding+6th%2C+7th%2C+and+8th+grades+to+De+Smet+Jesuit+in+the+fall+of+2025+remains+a+possibility.+The+school+should+know+for+sure+by+February.
Kevin Berns
Adding 6th, 7th, and 8th grades to De Smet Jesuit in the fall of 2025 remains a possibility. The school should know for sure by February.

De Smet Jesuit and President Fr. Ronny O’Dwyer S.J. have announced an update on the potential middle school expansion. Along with further collaboration with the Archdiocesan Office of Catholic Education and Formation, De Smet expects to reach a final decision in February about a potential opening in the fall of 2025.

This decision comes in the wake of a survey that went out to potential parents to explore the interest level in the potential program.

“What came back from the survey was that there is a lot of interest and that no one school will get decimated by a huge exodus,” Fr. O’Dwyer said. “It also revealed a lot of interest in Catholic families that attend public schools.”

“All Things New” has also been a driving factor behind De Smet’s exploration. This new initiative, first introduced by Archbishop Mitchell Rozanski in early 2022, is aimed at taking another look at the sustainability of sharing the faith with future generations.

“Jesuits aren’t on an island in the church,” Fr. O’Dwyer said. “We are here to serve the larger mission, and the bishop represents that vision and the vision for the region. He’s making sure that we have a system that’s strong, viable, the right size, and able to serve people of different economic means.”

We are here to serve the larger mission, and the bishop represents that vision and the vision for the region. He’s making sure that we have a system that’s strong, viable, the right size, and able to serve people of different economic means.”

— Fr. Ronny O'Dwyer S.J. - De Smet Jesuit President

Superintendent for Catholic Education Dr. Todd Sweda has worked collectively with the Archbishop and Fr. O’Dwyer throughout this process.

“Fr. O’Dwyer received his blessing for De Smet to conduct a feasibility study, the results of which would become one of several major factors in determining whether or not permission to expand would ultimately be granted,” Dr. Sweda said. “During these past five months, Fr. O’Dwyer has modeled a mission-focused and collaborative approach to dialogue with the Archdiocese and throughout the greater community.”

Until February, the discernment process will continue.

“The fact that we’re open to it, seems to suggest a time in our school asking the question, ‘Where is God calling us’ and engaging in a real discernment,” Fr. O’Dwyer said. “Certainly some of the fruits from that discernment like the Inclusion Academy, re-emphasis on the business curriculum, baseball fields, and renovation of the Emerson Lobby along with the potential expansion are all a part of the bigger vision.”






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