All Hallows Academy: Pursuit of excellence in education in La Jolla/San Diego County

BUSINESS SPOTLIGHT:

Jill Platt, principal of All Hallows Academy in La Jolla, knows the value of Catholic education. She’s been involved in it for more than 20 years, including the last five at the TK (Transitional Kindergarten)-through eighth-grade school on Nautilus Street that opened way back in 1964. “There’s a reputation for academic excellence in Catholic education,” said Platt, “and also it offers the ability to truly educate the whole person in a family-community environment with like-minded individuals. In public schools, I don’t know that everybody is coming from the same value system.”

Most public school environments are not able to offer the 14 students-to-each-teacher ratio that All Hallows does, either. “We are able,” said Platt, “to give our students individual attention.”

An All Hallows education is definitely paying off. Its students on average score higher than the National Percentile Ranking on standardized tests, and 98 percent of them move on to the high school of their choice, including not only Cathedral Catholic, St. Augustine and Our Lady of Peace, but also The Bishop’s School not far away and La Jolla High, which is right down the street. From there, according to Platt, All Hallows has sent students on to such prestigious universities as Stanford, Cornell and Yale, and, closer to home, USD and UC Berkeley.

Much of the credit for All Hallows’ excellence can be attributed to its hard-working full- and part-time faculty (numbering less than 20), but Platt is quick to include parents in the equation. “The community itself is made up of dedicated families who believe in the mission of our school — to create and inspire kids to be compassionate and academically prepared, and in service to others.”

As to the latter, every classroom of students at the school is engaged in outreach efforts. Each one chooses a charity to advocate for, such as the Red Cross. In addition, some students have pen pals through the Sisters of St. Joseph, and the academy sponsors two to three children to attend the annual Rady Children’s Hospital’s Celebration of Champions event, which raises money for children with cancer.

“Everything we do is student centered and designed to build a better person,” Platt said.

Platt is also rightfully proud of the “curricular enhancements” at All Hallows, the enrollment of which tends to run between 225 and 250 students. Among these extracurriculars are involvement in the Science Fair, the National Spelling Bee and the La Jolla Christmas Parade. On campus, the academy has introduced new programs in reading, writing and math, and it has made significant inroads into interactive technology and robotics.

Of course Catholic education is part of All Hallows’ curriculum. Students attend Mass every Friday, but Platt emphasized that “the religious aspect of our school is threaded throughout the day.”

Speaking from her campus high on the hill above La Jolla, Platt expressed high hopes for All Hallows’ future: “We want to be recognized locally and nationally for developing the whole child.”

All Hallows Academy is at 2390 Nautilus St. in La Jolla. (858) 459-6074. allhallowsacademy.com

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