Ascension School

Overview of Ascension School

Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Community and Ascension Catholic School and Parish have had a sister parish partnership for many years.  Ascension, located on the North Side of Minneapolis, serves children from the neighborhoods around the school. A vast majority of the scholars qualify for free or reduced lunch, an indicator of poverty set by the federal government. Children come to Ascension behind academically. With rigorous, data-based individualized instruction, scholars grow rapidly. Many make more than one year’s growth during a school year. Ascension scholars come to recognize themselves as beloved children of God and learn essential social/emotional skills they will use throughout their lives. They go on to get their high school diplomas and to pursue post-secondary schooling.

Holy Name of Jesus parishioners give generously of their time, talent and treasure to Ascension.

How to get involved at Ascension

  1. Pray for our scholars, staff and community.
  2. Volunteer as a tutor or in another way. Download volunteer flyer.
  3. Learn how you can become a tuition partner.

For more details regarding Ascension School, visit  Volunteer inquiries are welcomed by Margaret Conroy, Ascension Catholic Academy’s volunteer manager. To learn about volunteer opportunities, visit

HNOJ Volunteers at Ascension

HNOJ Volunteer

Student Interview

Fox 9 Interview

Ascension Outreach Weekend, May 14-15, 2022

Holy Name of Jesus has had a long-standing relationship with Church of the Ascension and Ascension Catholic School in North Minneapolis that extends back nearly 30 years. This relationship has ebbed and flowed over time, and there is an effort underway to re-invigorate the important interconnection between our two parishes. Just as this relationship was beginning to build steam in 2020, COVID-19 put the brakes on our efforts. However, one event that has been consistently held over the past several years is our annual Ascension Outreach Weekend for Ascension Catholic School. This year’s event will take place at Holy Name of Jesus during the Masses on the weekend of May 14 and 15.

Ascension Catholic School Continues to Shine

Ascension Catholic School has been an important presence in the heart of North Minneapolis for more than 125 years. Throughout its history, Ascension has served as both a reflection of its community and as an instrument for change and hope on the north side of Minneapolis, helping move lives forward through education and spiritual formation.

Currently, 93% of the 280 scholars at Ascension Catholic School are children of color, 68% qualify for free or reduced lunch, which is a marker for poverty, and 17% are learning to speak English as a second language. Many scholars enter the school two to three grade levels behind. Yet, despite these challenges, Ascension 8th graders consistently outscore their peers on standardized math and reading tests and are much better prepared to enter high school. In fact, for the past several years, 100% of Ascension 8th graders have gone on to receive their high school diplomas, with a vast majority going on to college. This compares well with Minneapolis Public Schools, where 62% of African American and 57% of Hispanic students graduate high school on time.

A Safe Sanctuary During Challenging Times

The past two years have been difficult for all of us, and particularly challenging for people in the neighborhoods surrounding Ascension. COVID-19 hit urban communities of color especially hard. The civil unrest and increased violence in the inner city made personal safety a priority for all Ascension scholars and staff. It’s hard to imagine the difficulties each student faces in trying to focus on schoolwork while being concerned about their health and personal safety. The teachers and scholars have performed remarkably well despite these challenges. Ascension provides a safe learning environment. Staff and scholars believe in their ability to achieve, knowing that a strong education provides an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty.

Your Support is Vital to Ascension’s Success

Ascension Catholic School is a beacon of hope in the heart of North Minneapolis. Given the difficult challenges of these past two years, Ascension needs our partnership more than ever to build on their past success. In fact, 95% of Ascension’s general operating revenue is generated through sponsorships, individual donations, grant funding and second collection efforts. Roughly 4% comes from tuition and fees paid by families. 

Please consider a generous contribution as we highlight our sister parish during Ascension Outreach Weekend on May 14 and 15. You can pick up a donation envelope in the church pew or go to any time to access the link to give electronically.

Volunteers Make a Difference

In addition to your financial partnership, Ascension welcomes and depends on volunteers to assist in efforts to support scholar excellence. Many Holy Name of Jesus parishioners currently volunteer or have volunteered in the past. This can include classroom and office support, MCA math prep tutors, reading partners, after-school volunteers and other vital areas. If you are interested in getting more information, please contact Margaret Conroy, Volunteer Manager for Ascension Catholic Academy, at 763-760-3928, go to or speak with one of the friendly staff and volunteers after Masses on May 14 and 15.

Archived Newsletter Articles

An Opportunity To Support A Remarkable Success Story, Written by Larry Deeney, May 2021 Newsletter

How Do We Build A Sister Parish Relationship?, Written by Larry Deeney, February 2020 Newsletter

Sister Parishes: Growing By Sharing Gifts with Others, January 2020 Newsletter, page 8

Sister Parishes: Building on a Strong Foundation to Expand Discipleship, Written by Larry Deeney, December 2019 Newsletter, pages 6-7

Ascension Spotlight, March 2019 Newsletter

Ascension Spotlight Weekend and Second Collection, March 2018 Newsletter