Frequently asked questions about Catholic schools

How many schools are in the Diocese of Des Moines?

The Diocese of Des Moines is comprised of 16 schools. One birth - 12th grade school, one high school (9-12th grade), and 13 elementary schools (Pre-Kindergarten - 8th grade).

Where are Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Des Moines located?

Schools are located in  Ankeny, Council Bluffs, Creston, Des Moines, Harlan, Perry, Urbandale and West Des Moines.

Where can I get information about the closest Catholic school?

There are a variety of ways to get information, for example, call the school office, arrange to visit the school, or attend an open house. Most schools hold an open house on the last Sunday in January. It's also a great idea to ask the pastor or talk with parents of currently enrolled students. Use our interactive map to find a Catholic school near you

Are the schools accredited?

Yes, all Catholic schools in the Des Moines diocese are fully accredited by the State of Iowa. Additionally, many of our schools are AdvancEd Accredited or hold Blue Ribbon School of Excellence designation.

Are all teachers licensed and endorsed to teach in their assigned area?

Yes, all teachers are licensed by the Board of Educational Examiners of the State of Iowa. All teachers must teach only in the areas for which they are endorsed by the State of Iowa.

What are the 2019-20 demographics for the Diocese of Des Moines Schools?

Enrolled Students: 6,178
Faith Background
Catholic: 91%
Non Catholic: 9%
Unknown:  0%

Caucasian: 75%
Hispanic: 12%
African American: 4%
Asian: 6%
Other: 2%

Male: 51%
Female: 49%

Is Tuition Assistance Available?

All of our schools provide opportunities for tuition assistance and no child is turned away for inability to pay full tuition. Thanks to the generous support of individual donors, we are able to offer tuition assistance through the Catholic Tuition Organization (CTO) and Project HOPE funds. Please contact your local Catholic school for information and application forms. Click here to learn more about tuition assistance and CTO.

In addition to tuition assistance through CTO, some families may qualify for tuition grants. Click here to learn more about our Welcome Tuition Grant program.

What is the Catholic Tuition Organization (CTO)?

CTO is a non-profit organization that grants tuition awards to families who need financial assistance. During the 2019-20 school year, nearly 2,000 students were able to afford Catholic education through the help of CTO. For more information, please contact your local Catholic school, or visit the CTO website.

What if my child has diverse learning needs?

The Diocese of Des Moines Catholic Schools are committed to working with all learners to the best of our ability, including children who may require additional academic support. Schools throughout the Diocese of Des Moines have faculty endorsed in special education to meet the needs of diverse learners. Moreover, all faculty benefit from professional development designed to aide our schools in differentiating instruction to ensure academic growth and success for all students. Our ultimate goal is to ensure all students receive an education that leads them to discover their individual strengths and abilities in order to reach their God-given potential. Click here to learn more about diverse learner support at our schools.

Do I need to be Catholic?

While the Catholic faith is integral to all aspects of school life, we welcome families of all faith traditions into our school communities.

How can parents be involved in their children's school experience?

The Diocese of Des Moines Catholic schools believe that parents are the primary educators of their children and encourage parents to be actively involved in their child's school experience. Our schools hold parent teacher conferences twice a year and encourage parents to visit with their child's teachers as needed throughout the year.

There are many opportunities to volunteer within the schools and individual classrooms, as well as with special projects or field trips. Each school has a Home & School Association that supports the school and promotes communication between parents, administration, faculty, staff and students. Every school also has an active Board of Education.

Are students involved in service projects?

All our schools value service to God and others. Our students discover servant leadership by participating in various service projects throughout the school year. Projects benefit a variety of Catholic charities, non-profit organizations and social causes. Contact your local school to learn more about the specific service projects for which students are involved.

How is technology used in the classroom?

The Diocese of Des Moines Catholic schools are committed to research-based teaching strategies and innovative applications of technology. Desktop computers, laptops, iPads, tablets, interactive whiteboards, and other equipment are integrated into the classrooms. Additionally, many of our schools actively integrate STEM curriculum and best practices into the student experience. Click here to learn more about STEM education.

Do all schools follow the same school calendar?

While all schools have 180 days in their school year in accordance with state accreditation guidelines, each school creates a unique school calendar. Please check with your local school for a school calendar and events.

Are extracurricular activities offered?

Schools throughout the Diocese of Des Moines offer vast opportunities for students to participate in numerous academic, fine arts, leadership, service, leisure and athletic extracurricular activities. Contact your local school for more information.

What curriculum is used in the Des Moines Diocese Catholic schools?

Standards and benchmarks are used in each subject area to guide teachers' instruction and student assessment.  Students are assessed on these standards and benchmarks using a web-based Standards-Based Reporting System.  Currently, the Diocese of Des Moines Catholic schools follow the Iowa Core mandated by the state of Iowa.