The Children We Serve

The children create a rich diversity not seen in most Iowa schools.  Our Hispanic/Latino, Sudanese, Asian American, Caucasian, Bi-racial and African American students form a “New Ellis Island,” truly a gift to central Iowa.

Our Pre-Kindergarteners through eighth graders come primarily from Des Moines’ inner city-parishes:  The Basilica of St. John, St. Ambrose Cathedral, Our Lady of the Americas, All Saints and Church of St. Peter Vietnamese.

Some students represent the second, third or even fourth generation in their family to attend Holy Family or one of its predecessors. Other students—about 75%, as a matter of fact—are first-generation Americans, children of immigrant/refugee parents who’ve come here in search of a better life.

There are nine different languages spoken by our student population—English, Spanish, Dinka, Hmong, Vietnamese, Sudanese, Arabic, Laotian, and Shilluk.  More than two-thirds of our students have English as their learned language, and more than 80% live below the poverty line.

More than 90% of our eighth grade graduates go on to Dowling Catholic High School in West Des Moines. Nine out of ten of our students graduate from high school.  Many continue on to college.

Five priests serving the parishes that support the school are in the classrooms once a week to supplement the daily religious education the students receive from certified catechists.