Ozark Catholic Academy To Be First Catholic High In NWA

WASHINGTON COUNTY (KFSM) -- Ozark Catholic Academy would be the first Catholic high school in the area. Right now the school is still in the planning phase, but the goal is to start classes in the fall of 2018.

Currently, there are two catholic schools in Northwest Arkansas that each run through the eighth grade.

Head of School John Rocha said they are considering building the high school in Springdale or Tontitown to accommodate the area.

“That's kind of the key to our situation is to see where potential land donors may be where we can root ourselves maybe on a small track of land maybe three to 10 acres and possibly grow from there,” Rocha said.

Rocha said they are planning to start with a freshmen class and possibly a sophomore class.

“The seventh graders now would ultimately be the sophomores and we need to make sure they are interested in possibly moving after one year of high school to the Catholic school,” Rocha said.

He's also looking to hire an assistant headmaster and forming relationships with existing Catholic schools.

The principal of St. Joseph Catholic School in Fayetteville, Jason Pohlmeier, said he's excited his students will be able to continue learning in a Catholic environment.

St. Joseph Catholic School goes from kindergarten to the 8th grade and Pohlmeier said he looks forward to working with the high school as one system, so his students are prepared for the ninth grade.

“That we can work on that alignment that goes all the way through our buildings in creating a smooth transition instead of trying to move from our Catholic school system to another system with a different approach to learning then we have in the Catholic schools,” Pohlmeier said.

St. Vicent De Paul is the other Catholic school in Northwest Arkansas with grades kindergarten through eighth grade.

Ozark Catholic Academy will be an independent Catholic high school which means it will align itself with the Diocese of Little Rock with the approval of the Bishop, but it will not be financially supported by the diocese.