About Catholic Elementary Schools

The Archdiocese of St. Louis is fortunate to have 120 Catholic elementary schools located throughout the City of St. Louis, St. Louis County, and the ten surrounding counties. These schools educate over 28,000 students in grades pre-kindergarten through grade eight, although a few schools vary from this grade configuration.

Catholic elementary schools offer vibrant religious education programs grounded in Catholic teachings and rich in Catholic tradition. The religion program includes religion education classes, sacramental preparation, liturgical and prayer experiences, and opportunities for Christian witness and service. The Catholic elementary schools in St. Louis are also proud of their strong academic programs that incorporate instruction in all the subject areas including the fine arts and physical education/health. Technology is woven into the instructional program. In addition, most schools offer a variety of rich extra-curricular experiences.

Vision Statement
Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese of St. Louis are visible faith communities. Rooted in the person of Jesus and his teachings, these schools are enriched by Catholic tradition and lived Gospel values, and are enhanced by the celebration of liturgy, sacrament, and prayer. They further the children's knowledge and practice of their faith, and guide them to serve others through the use of their gifts and talents. They foster a safe and secure environment in which the children can grow.

Catholic elementary schools are child-centered, and are committed to providing strong academic and developmental programs which enable children to grow to their full potential. They empower the children to meet the challenges of living in an ever-changing racially and culturally diverse world. The faculty and staff of these schools are faith-filled, dedicated, knowledgeable and competent in their professions, and strive to meet the individual needs of the children. These schools are sensitive to family issues and encourage parents/guardians to fulfill their role as the first educators of their children.

Types of Schools
Catholic elementary schools in the Archdiocese are categorized as:

Parish Elementary School
A parish elementary schools is administered and funded by the parish. Typically, these schools serve students living within the boundaries of the parish. These schools may accept students from adjoining parishes that do not
have schools, or Catholic or non-Catholic transfer students from public or private schools, as permitted by the local admissions policy.

Consolidated Parish Elementary School
A consolidated parish elementary school is comprised of two or more parishes that have entered into a formal school agreement (with guidance from the Catholic Education Center and approval by the Archdiocesan Board of Catholic Education and Archbishop) to offer Catholic education at one or more sites as agreed upon by parishes involved. The administration and funds of such schools are governed by all parishes involved. The participating parishes are represented on the school board and share in the financial responsibility for the operation of the school. In the case of a consolidated school, one of the pastors assumes the role of the "designated pastor" of the school and is the official representative/spokesperson when appropriate.

Merged Parish Elementary School
A merged parish elementary school is formed when one parish decides to close its school (with guidance from the Catholic Education Center and approval by the Archdiocesan Board of Catholic Education and Archbishop) and enters into a formal agreement to sponsor its students financially at a designated parish school, usually in close proximity. When this occurs, parishioners from both parishes should be represented on the school board. The designated school assumes the administrative responsibility, unless otherwise provided for in the formal agreement among the parishes involved in the merger.

Corporate Elementary School
A corporate elementary school is comprised of three or more parishes that have created a corporate school identity (with guidance from the Catholic Education Center and approval by the Archdiocesan Board of Catholic Education and Archbishop). The school is governed by the members of the corporation (pastors of all parishes involved) and the Archbishop of St. Louis. A board of directors is created by the members of the corporation to advise the corporate members on the operation of the school. It is the responsibility of the corporation to employ an administrator for the school.

Archdiocesan Elementary School
An Archdiocesan elementary school is administered by the Catholic Education Center and governed by the Archdiocesan Board of Catholic Education. The school principal reports directly to the Associate Superintendent for Elementary School Administration. This type of school typically serves economically disadvantaged families of parishes in proximity to the school that are unable to provide a sufficient parish subsidy to sustain a school independently.

Special Education Elementary School
Please go to http://archstl.org/dse and http://archstl.org/smss .

Private Elementary and Middle School
A private elementary and middle school is governed and operated by a religious community which has been recognized by the Archbishop. These schools are responsible for compliance with all Archdiocesan policies regarding religious education.

The admissions process is developed at the local school level based on the requirements listed below. Parents are advised to contact the school directly for information.

Requirements for Admission
Catholic schools are unique expressions of the Church's effort to achieve the purposes of Catholic education among the young. Academic excellence and a disciplined formation will always be the desired goals of the Catholic school.
Central to the school, however, is the understanding of the Catholic tradition and growth in faith. Parents wishing to enroll their children in a Catholic school must understand and agree to the purposes of Catholic schools. General requirements for admission to a Catholic elementary school include, but are not limited to, the following: (Please refer to specific requirements at the local school.)

  • The family's desire for this special kind of school where Catholic teaching and moral formation are an integral part of the school. (Non-Catholic families must give the same assurance that they understand the religious requirements and expectations of attending a Catholic school.) Evidence of any family's desire to be a part of this type of school includes:     
    • participation in the spiritual and social life of the parish or religious congregation;
    • support of the concepts upheld in the Witness Statement provided by the school;
    • agreement to follow the policies and procedures of the school; and
    • willingness to cooperate with the teachers and administration in the moral, psychological, emotional, spiritual, and academic development of their children.     
  • The child's fulfillment of the age requirements listed below:      
    • For admission to kindergarten, the child should be five years of age before August 1.
    • For admission to first grade, the child should be six years of age before August 1
    • Children who fulfill the age requirement for kindergarten or grade one but whom after sufficient examination are found lacking in maturity or readiness for kindergarten and primary one need not be admitted. In these cases the principal should recommend readiness activities or some program for the further development of the child.   

For those children who do not fulfill the age requirement for kindergarten or grade one, parents should contact the local school principal to determine if a child may be given special consideration for admission

  • The school's ability to meet the student's educational needs. Determination of this ability is based upon: 
    • the student's performance in another educational setting
    • successful completion of the previous grade level;
    • successful completion of the entrance evaluation process.

The decision to admit a child is made only after a thorough review of the child's previous school records and all records relating to the child's special needs, if any. Parents are required to sign the "exchange of  information" form to enable the school to obtain all necessary information from professionals or agencies that have made diagnoses and prescribed adjustments for students who have a known special need. If parents will not provide complete information and/or will not cooperate in ensuring that professionals who provide
diagnostic, prescriptive, or therapeutic services to their child provide complete information, the school shall postpone any further consideration of admission.

  •  The parent's willingness to accept the financial responsibilities of attending the school.            

For additional information contact:

Associate Superintendent for Elementary School Administration
Catholic Education Office
20 Archbishop May Drive
St. Louis MO 63119