Today the 8,000 Catholic schools across the United States are regarded as a gift to the church and a gift to the nation. Catholic education goes back deep into U.S. history – to at least 1606. That year, expressing their desire “to teach children Christian doctrine, reading and writing,” the Franciscans opened a school in what’s now St. Augustine, Fla. U.S. Catholics faced the ongoing crisis of religious vocations, welcomed the invigorating contributions of Hispanics and other new arrivals, celebrated 2000 years of Christianity at the Millennium and reeled at the horrors of 9/11. But through it all, Catholic schools are there for their families, community, nation and church and they continue to be a gift to the church and a gift to the nation.

The Diocese of Orlando has a total of 39 schools in eight of the nine counties it covers. It is the second largest Catholic system in the state of Florida or Province with five high schools, twenty-nine elementary schools, one special education school, and four early childhood centers (see Early Childhood Catholic Education)

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