Frequently asked questions about Catholic schools

How many schools are in the Diocese of Des Moines?

The Diocese of Des Moines is comprised of 17 schools. There are 15 elementary schools (Pre-Kindergarten - 8th Grade) and two high schools.

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.

Note: Schools are closed during the month of July, but individuals may contact the Diocesan Schools Office at 515-237-5013 with questions.

Are the schools accredited?

Yes, all Catholic schools in the Des Moines diocese are fully accredited by the State of Iowa.

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 Financial Assistance Available?

All of our schools provide opportunities for financial assistance. Thanks to the generous support of donors, we are able to offer financial assistance through the Catholic Tuition Organization (CTO) and Project HOPE funds. Please contact your local Catholic school for information and application forms.

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 2017-18 school year, nearly 1,550 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 special learning needs?

Catholic schools strive to meet the diverse learning needs of ALL children: advanced learners, average learners, and learners w ho might need accommodations. All our Catholic schools provide instruction, support, services, and opportunities to enhance each student's individual abilities. Some of these endeavors include diocesan and individual school professional development for teachers and administrators, collaboration with the local Area Education Agency (AEA) and public school districts, other professionals, and more.

Do I need to be Catholic?

The Catholic faith is integral to all aspects of school life, however, approximately 8% of students are not Catholic in our schools. We welcome families of all faith traditions.

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

Des Moines Diocese Catholic schools believe that parents are the primary educators of their children and encourage parents to be actively involved in their children's school experience. The schools hold parent teacher conferences twice a year and parents can meet with 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?

Yes, all schools participate in various service projects throughout the school year. Projects benefit a variety of Catholic charities, non-profit organizations and 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?

Des Moines Diocese 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.

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 extra curricular activities offered?

The two high schools in the Des Moines diocese offer vast opportunities for students to participate in numerous academic, fine arts, leadership, service, leisure and athletic extra curricular activities. Students in younger grades can also participate in a variety of opportunities. 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 schools follow the Iowa Core mandated by the state of Iowa.