Discover the Difference: Many cultures, one family at Holy Family School

by Diocese of Des Moines | March 3, 2022

Teacher and student

Holy Family Catholic School is just that — a family. With a mission to nurture families and provide for students' quality education rooted in the Gospel of Jesus and the traditions and practices of the Catholic Church, Holy Family is helping its students reach their highest potential.

This mission, coupled with a deep commitment to multiculturalism, has helped the school draw students across the Diocese. And while some of the school's students are second, third, or even fourth-generation legacy families, nearly 3/4 of the student body are first-generation Americans. Holy Family celebrates all heritages and prepares its students to thrive in a pluralistic society.

"Holy Family is a great school that cares for every student. It offers a diverse school community that provides an outstanding education, faith formation, and respect to all students and their families," shared a Holy Family parent.

The school boasts a student body with a rich diversity not seen in most Iowa schools. In fact, 97 percent of students represent diverse racial and cultural backgrounds with 15 different languages spoken. Thirty-eight percent of students qualify for English Language instruction. Yet despite potential language barriers, students at Holy Family thrive. As the only year-round school in the Diocese of Des Moines, Holy Family maximizes student learning with 15 additional school days and breaks throughout the year are timed to help reduce learning loss.

In school year 2020-2021, students demonstrated high proficiency in core subjects despite the challenges of COVID-19. Eighty one percent of Holy Family students demonstrated proficiency in science, 74 percent demonstrated proficiency in mathematics, and 82 percent demonstrated proficiency in language arts based on the Iowa Statewide Assessment of Student Progress (ISASP). These outcomes are especially meaningful considering the impact of COVID-19 on student learning and the fact this was the first time students took this particular assessment.

"Our students demonstrate consistent growth because our teachers are committed to seeing their students reach their highest potential," said Marty Flaherty, Holy Family administrator. "Our students are successful because of the broad community support Holy Family receives from those who give their time, talent, and treasure to sustain our efforts. This synchronicity of effort results in a school that provides a 21st century, faith-filled education for our community of learners."

For more than 40 years, Holy Family Catholic School has provided an education marked in excellence and rooted in the teachings of Christ. Supported by five parishes in the Diocese of Des Moines, Holy Family and its supporters are committed to providing an exceptional learning environment that celebrates the diversity of its students. For more information on Holy Family visit

Diocese of Des Moines

The Diocese of Des Moines, created in 1911, serves people over a 12,446 square mile area in the southwestern quadrant of Iowa, including 23 counties.