What is a convent school?


A convent school is a primary school or high school founded by a female religious order. In a convent school, the teaching and administrative staff consists at least in part of nuns. A number of female Catholic orders dedicate themselves to the teaching of children and teens, including the Ursulines, the School Sisters of Notre Dame and the Brigidine Sisters. Convent schools may either be exclusive to girls or coeducational.

While the term "convent school" occurs more often in British usage than American, Catholic schools staffed by nuns are found in the United States, where they may be called private order schools. The same term applies to schools founded by male religious teaching orders. While a parochial school may include female religious teachers, not every parochial school is a convent school. The local parish runs the parochial school, while the national or international religious order runs the convent school.

The Ursulines, an order of nuns created in 15th century Italy to promote the education of girls, founded the first American Catholic school for girls. This convent or private order school, Ursuline Academy in New Orleans, consists of both an elementary and a high school. Ursuline Academy has been in continuous operation since its founding in 1727.

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