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Published: Wednesday, 7/1/2009

Lourdes to run Sylvania Franciscan Academy

Lourdes College announced Tuesday it will oversee operations of Sylvania Franciscan Academy, providing new opportunities for collaboration between the educational institutions.

Both schools had been sponsored by the Sisters of St. Francis since the facilities' inceptions - 51 years for Lourdes College and 36 years for the academy, which has kindergarten through eighth grade.

The schools are across from each other on Silica Drive. The Sylvania Franciscan Academy had been on Lourdes' campus but moved across the street in 2002.

Despite their proximity, the two schools haven't had much collaboration, Lourdes President Bob Helmer said.

"All these years the two institutions have operated independent of each other and what we're doing now is bringing the academy under the operation of Lourdes College," he said.

The model exists elsewhere in the country and is often referred to as a "laboratory school" but is new to the northwest Ohio area, Mr. Helmer said.

The education program at Lourdes will oversee the academy, which will help college students and faculty with access to elementary school operations.

Faculty can do classroom research, and college students can get firsthand experience in a school.

"From our standpoint as a college this gives us a niche that no other college or university in the area has," Mr. Helmer said.

And from the academy's standpoint, their teachers will develop relationships with Lourdes faculty and they can participate in the college's professional development.

And the students will have access to the college's labs and other facilities, Mr. Helmer said.

The two will remain separate entities, but the college now will oversee the school's operations, he said. The Sisters remain the sponsor of Lourdes.

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