OLPH at a Glance
- Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School is accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA). Link to WCEA website: www.westwcea.org WCEA accredits Catholic elementary and secondary schools in nine western states (26 (arch) dioceses) and the US Territory of Guam. WCEA co-accredits and is in partnership with three Regional agencies (WASC, NAAS, NCA CASI) and two private agencies (CAIS and HAIS). WCEA began in 1957 in San Francisco and has a long and successful history of assisting school improvement through the accreditation process.
- Fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
- Educational ministry of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish
- Grades TK through 8
- 340 students
- Highly qualified staff
- Designated PE Teachers
- Designated Math Teachers
- Designated Music Teacher and Music Room
- Designated Art Teacher and Art Room
- Technology is integrated in all academic subjects
- Multimedia Lab
- Instructional aides, grades TK, K, 1 and 2
- Departmentalized Middle School
- Wide Range of Extra-Curricular opportunities available
- Located in Downey, California
Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic School, a TK – 8 community, collaborates with parents to educate the whole child through academic excellence and challenges students to be life long learners and faith filled Catholics who are dedicated to service.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help School was founded on September 13, 1948, with an enrollment of 124 students in grades one through six. The school opened in temporary quarters and was staffed by three Sisters of Notre Dame.
In 1949, the first unit of the school was constructed, consisting of five classrooms and an office. Three classrooms were added in 1951 and four more in 1953. The auditorium was constructed in 1955. In 1958, the final four classrooms and library were added. Subsequently, a Faculty Room was added.
A peak enrollment of 965 students was reached in 1959, with two classes of each grade level one to eight. In 1971, the phase out process to an eight-class school was begun. The kindergarten was opened in September 1976.
From 1976 through 1992, several unused classrooms were converted for use as a Science Lab, Computer Lab, expanded school office and meeting rooms.
The school presently educates children in Transitional Kindergarten (4 year olds) through 8th Grade with primarily one classroom per grade. In addition there is a Multimedia Lab, Math Room, Music Room and an Art Room. The faculty is composed of 18 women and men and a support staff of ten. Parent volunteers are actively involved in sports, hot lunch, classroom projects, lunch supervision and other school activities.
The high standard of education that is provided at OLPH prepares students for Catholic high school. Annually we have a 100% acceptance rate into selective Southern California Catholic high schools. Many of our alumni further their education at some of the finest colleges and universities in the country.
In 1983, the Parent Association was formed. All parents are members of this organization. The purpose of this organization is to provide fundraising and fellowship activities for the school and parish community. Beyond fundraising, parent volunteers are actively involved in many activities that support the educational program.
In 1985, the School Board was chartered. This organization was made up of parents, administrators, alumnae and parishioners. The School Board acted in an advisory capacity to the Pastor and the Principal. In 2008, the School Board was transitioned into a Consultative School Board. The Consultative Board members represent school parents, parishioners, alumnae, faculty, staff and members from the community at large.
In 1994, it was announced that the Sisters of Notre Dame were leaving the school. The first lay Principal was appointed in the spring of 1994. That same year the convent was converted to a Parish Center. Steffani McMains served as the Principal from 1994 until 2013. Gina Aguilar, second lay principal, was appointed Principal starting the 2013 – 2014 school year.
The school shared a development director with the parish for a number of years. She left in the fall of 2001 and was not replaced. In the summer of 2002 the school engaged The Institute of School and Parish Development to oversee a Strategic Long Range Plan for the school. The process culminated in a two-day convocation in April 2003. The results of this gathering were published in a Long Range Plan for the school. In the fall of 2003 a development director was hired. She oversees the implementation of the long-range plan. In 2009, the School Board has taken on the task of reviewing and rewriting the Long Range Strategic Plan.
In 2008, OLPH School celebrated 60 years of Education, Faith and Family. Many OLPH Alumni returned during Catholic Schools Week to celebrate this milestone. The Anniversary included a Career Day presented by alumni for current students, the presentation of the Distinguished Graduate Award and a Reunion gathering on the school campus.
The Western Catholic Education Association (W.C.E.A.) granted Our Lady of Perpetual Help School a certificate of commendation in 1975. The school was fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (W.A.S.C.) in 1979. The school has been granted both certificates and full accreditation by W.C.E.A. and W.A.S.C. every term since then.
OLPH students wear a uniform. By wearing the same clothing, students are able to better focus on academics rather than on what others are wearing. This also serves to reinforce the idea that we are a community.
OLPH students have a specific Dress Uniform for mass and Word Service Days. OLPH Sweatshirts may be worn on all other days. Once a month students may wear OLPH Spirit wear with the uniform bottom. Spirit wear and sweatshirts can be purchased on campus. The OLPH uniform can be purchased through Dennis Uniform Company. A link to Dennis Uniform Company can be found on our Parent Resource page.
OLPH parents like the uniform policy since they don’t have to worry about what the student will wear each day!
An optional hot lunch program is offered to OLPH students Monday through Thursday. Lunch menus are distributed on a monthly basis. The student’s lunch selection must be paid for one month in advance. The hot lunch is prepared on site in the OLPH kitchen.
All students eat lunch in the Marian Court unless it is raining.
Before-school and after-school extended care is offered at OLPH School. Snacks, outdoor recreation, an adult-supervised homework room as well as varied arts and crafts are offered during the after school hours. The Extended Care hours are: Monday through Friday: 6:30 am to 7:40 am, Monday through Thursday 3:05 pm to 6:00 pm and Fridays 12:45 pm to 6 pm. There is an additional fee for the Day Care program. Director Diane Garcia can be reached at (562)760-1659
Faculty & Staff
Detailed information about our faculty can be found in our school office.
School Wide Learning Expectations
Our Lady of Perpetual Help School students should be:
A. Committed, Contributing Catholics who:
1. Pray everyday
2. Attend Mass weekly
3. Follow the Gospels
4. Live out the teachings and traditions of the Catholic church each day
B. Respectful and Responsible Individuals who:
1. Respect themselves and others
2. Make good decisions
3. Accept responsibility for their actions.
4. Work as a team.
5. Are PeaceBuilders
C. Life Long Learners who:
1. Use and apply age appropriate skills
2. Become responsible for their learning
3. Use problem solving skills
4. Appreciate the fine arts
5. Learn from everyday experiences
6. Always do their best
D. Effective Communicators who:
1. Speak well
2. Listen with respect
3. Write ideas clearly
4. Read with feeling and understanding
5. Use technology responsibly
D. Globally Aware Citizens who:
1. Are patriotic and show school pride
2. Care for all God’s creations
3. Give to those in need
4. Love their neighbor
Living Our Faith
Weekly Masses: All students in grades Kindergarten through Eight attend mass every Friday. Students are fully engaged in these Masses as they are responsible for the readings, responsorial psalms, intentions, singing, offertory procession and altar serving. Transitional Kindergarten student begin attending weekly mass with the school community after the Christmas break.
Special Masses: Students also participate in special masses throughout the year. These masses include the annual Blue Mass, which pays tribute to our local fire fighters and police officers, the All Saints Day mass, All Souls Day mass, the Feast of St. Blaise and others.
Class Mass: Each class celebrates one family mass per year with the parish religious education program students. Together with their families, the students gather for a weekend evening mass and social. Students are fully engaged in these masses as they are responsible for the readings, responsorial psalm, intentions, singing, offertory procession, ushering and altar serving.
Word Services: Several classes are responsible for the preparation and presentation of a Word Service. With the guidance of our school Religion Coordinator, Mrs. Segura, the students plan and present a themed service for the entire school community.
Word Service Themes are: St. Francis of Assisi, Living Rosary, Thanksgiving, Epiphany, Stations of the Cross, Last Supper and May Crowning.
Triumph of the Saints Parade: All students in grades Transitional Kindergarten through Eight journey into our Catholic faith by researching and presenting a Saint at the annual Triumph of the Saints Parade. This project gives students the chance to learn more about the history of our faith as well as to discover appropriate role models. The day is concluded with a classroom celebration.
Christmas Program: All students in grades Transitional Kindergarten through Eight participate in the annual Christmas program. There are two evening performances: one featuring the elementary grades and the other featuring the middle school grades.
Catholic Schools Week: Catholic Schools Week is the time set aside each year to celebrate what makes Catholic education special. We spent the week shedding the light on the success of our school, the excellence of our students and the difference we make in the community. During the week, we focus on the high quality, faith-filled education our school provides. We honor everyone who contributes to our success and we thank them for their continued support. Our annual Catholic Schools Week Activities include: Presentation of the Distinguished Graduate Award at our Catholic Schools Week Mass, A Family Day Lunch, Student Appreciation Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, Grandparents Day and a Community Breakfast.
As Catholics we are called by our faith to help those in need. In an effort to promote stewardship and empathy for others, all OLPH students are involved in community service.
Service Projects by Grade: Each class will participate in a service project. Although these projects may vary from year to year, they are tied to curriculum or to a special interest of the class.
Ongoing project include:
Kindergarten: collecting pet food and supplies for SEAACA (local animal control)
First Grade: baking cookies for local community workers
Second Grade: baking cookies for the parish Skid Row Sandwich program
Third Grade: recycling bottle caps and collecting tuna for the Parish Skid Row Sandwich program
Eighth Grade: plan and conduct a Christmas Party for Pre-School in East Los Angeles (this project is in the 25th year)
Other projects include: making ice packs for injured students, collecting hygiene projects for the local youth detention center, collecting baby care products for the local Pro-Life Clinic, and creating cards for the local nursing home.
School wide Service Projects — Throughout the year, the entire student body engages in many “collections” that benefit different organizations in need. Dime Wednesday collections go to the Holy Childhood Association. HCA provides health and educational services to children in Third World countries.
Student Council Projects — Our Student Council sponsors several Service Projects throughout the school year. All OLPH students are invited to participate in these projects. Traditionally, OLPH students have responded generously to people in need after natural disasters. In 2008, the OLPH Student Council sent $1000 to Our Lady of Fatima School in Texas after they suffered extensive damage from a local hurricane.
Annual service includes:
Walking in the Annual ARC Walk for Independence
Sponsoring a child from India and a child from Zambia
Preparing Christmas Care Packages for our U.S..Service Men & Women serving overseas.