SEATTLE – Seattle Nativity School is relocating from Our Lady of Mount Virgin Parish to St. Edward Parish this summer, a move the school president says will provide a better classroom environment and the ability to serve more students.
“This is a new chapter for Seattle Nativity School with great benefits to our entire school community,” said Jesuit Father Jeffrey McDougall, who has served as the school’s president since 2014.
The Jesuit-operated middle school, which provides tuition-free education for low-income students, offers a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) curriculum. For the past seven years, the school has been operating out of three small classrooms at Our Lady of Mount Virgin, Father McDougall said during the school’s fundraising luncheon, held virtually on June 2.
Jesuit Father Jeffrey McDougall, left front, president of Seattle Nativity School, and Father Scott Connolly, right front, pastor of St. Edward Parish in Seattle, gather with other school and parish representatives on the steps of the historic St. Edward School, where Seattle Nativity School will take up residence in the fall. Photo: Courtesy Seattle Nativity School
When St. Edward School in the Rainier Valley neighborhood recently merged with St. Paul School in nearby Skyway, it left an empty school building on the St. Edward campus and Seattle Nativity was invited to move in, Father McDougall explained.
“By moving to this new, larger space, we have the potential to triple the number of students we serve,” he said.
“We’re so pleased to welcome Seattle Nativity School to our campus,” said Father Scott Connolly, who since July 2019 has been pastor at St. Edward, which has about 600 households, and St. Paul, which has about 500 households.
“It’s a blessing that the timing worked out so well and we’re able to use our building to support Catholic education for under-served students in south Seattle,” he said.
St. Edward Parish, established in 1906, opened its school on September 10, 1911, with 144 students. The first teachers were four sisters of the Third Order of St. Dominic (later known as the Tacoma Dominicans). The parish school has had a rich history of helping immigrant families adjust to life in the United States and ensuring the academic and spiritual growth of its students.
Seattle Nativity School hopes to open classes at St. Edward this fall. Admission is open to low-income students of all faith backgrounds. The school, which follows the Jesuit charism of cura personalis (care for the whole person), not only prepares students for high school but also provides them guidance and support through high school, college and into their first jobs.