Archbishop Bernard Hebda blessed DeLaSalle’s new Center for Innovative Learning (CIL) on August 31, after he celebrated the opening school year Mass of the Holy Spirit with students, staff, parents, and guests. The Mass, traditionally the first Mass of each school school year, is offered to ask for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in all parts of our life. School chaplain, Fr. Joe Kuharski, concelebrated.
The archbishop’s blessing also recognized completion of the new “D Building” on campus. DeLaSalle’s CIL, full of state-of-the-art technology and educational resources, better enables students and teachers to differentiate their instruction, research, learning, and interactive discovery across multiple departments and with multiple technologies. Student may work individually, in small groups, or as an entire class to advance their education.
This project – the largest improvement of its kind in modern school history – puts DeLaSalle among the first high schools in Minnesota to add such a facility, just as we were among the first to implement a 1:1 tablet technology program six years ago. Currently, all 785 students attending DeLaSalle – the largest enrollment since 1971 – use a school-issued iPad Air for their academic and communications use throughout the school year, without an additional technology fee of any kind. The school sees these advancements in modern technology as integral steps toward providing educational equity and socio-economic justice as an urban, Lasallian school. In addition to the six different learning spaces provided in the CIL, the project also allowed for construction of new corridors, replacement of heating, cooling, and electrical systems that were as much as 80 years old, relocation of athletic lockers, storage, and theatre staging areas, and a much more efficient north entry to the building.
Even as the CIL and building addition open, the school has retained its unwavering commitment to provide unmatched financial aid and grant support for the students and families of DeLaSalle. The school will invest $3,000,000 of financial assistance in students from ALL backgrounds this year alone, so that a DeLaSalle student body continues to reflect the full breadth and richness of an increasingly-diverse Twin Cities. Students and families come from every neighborhood, every family background, and every socio-economic demographic.
Contrary to what some would speculate, the school receives NO subsidy from any outside group (and never has) and operates independently under its own corporate structure. Revenues are raised entirely from tuition and gifts to the school. Wednesday’s celebration will showcase the school’s immense gratitude for the sacrifices and investments made by parents and donors in partnership with our staff, Board, and most importantly, the students. The school has balanced its annual operating budget for 19 of the past 20 years, while remaining faithful to its historic mission to provide high-quality, Catholic, Lasallian education to ALL students, preparing them for further education (98 percent college matriculation), for lives of goodness and service to others (over 23,000 service hours by students last year alone), and with appreciation for the God-given value of each person, from every background.
As with all such education and facility enhancements at DeLaSalle, the school has solely raised all of the funds for the CIL project via a capital campaign managed entirely by the president, development staff, Board, and several key volunteers. The “Gateway to the Future” campaign, launched in 2014, calls for the school to raise $17,000,000 over five years, with $8.8 million earmarked for the CIL, the building addition, and the related infrastructure improvements, and $8.2 million to be raised for student tuition assistance and endowment programs. The response to the campaign has been terrific! After just two years, DeLaSalle has already raised $12,300,000 in gifts and pledges — with several significant gifts anticipated in the coming months.