The Legacy of St. John the Evangelist Catholic School
Throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, St. John the Evangelist celebrates 60 years of excellence in Catholic education. Staffed by the Sisters of Mercy from Merion, Pennsylvania, St. John the Evangelist Catholic School opened in 1954.
In 1994 and 2010, SJE was recognized as a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education, a recognition awarded to schools that are judged to have strong leadership, high-quality teaching, a safe environment conducive to learning, strong parental involvement, high academic achievement and test scores in the top 10% of the nation.
We live the Catholic faith and traditions and provide time and resources so that students will put their faith into action through worship and service, while ensuring a thorough foundation of knowledge for successful transition into secondary study. The school motto, Reverence, Respect and Responsibility, reflects core values demonstrated in all aspects of school life: academics, arts, athletics and worship.
What Makes St. John the Evangelist School Unique
The cultural diversity at SJE is evident with 17 different languages spoken by our families and 26 countries represented among our 315 students. Members of our school family come from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and bring a multitude of different talents and gifts.
Our teachers serve the school with dedication and expertise. Seventy-four percent (74%) of the faculty hold advanced degrees, with others currently enrolled in advanced degree programs. Our collaborative approach is highlighted by a faculty member who received the 2014 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math And Science Teaching. She engages students in a hands-on lab environment and our technology specialist works with teachers to integrate technology seamlessly into daily instruction. Differentiated instructional strategies serve students both inside and outside of the classroom. Our tiered instructional approach addresses the needs and challenges of our students working above grade level as well as those who need extra support through resource and tutoring programs. A culture of community, leadership and continuous improvement permeates the school. Parental involvement thrives with over 15,000 volunteer hours recorded in 2013. Students engage in service projects integrated into their educational experience.
Through faith experiences, including liturgies, prayer services, adoration, Reconciliation, acts of charity and service, our children leave St. John the Evangelist well-grounded in Gospel values. As they continue their education in high school and serve as leaders in their communities, our students are a living testimony to the values we instill at SJE.
Challenges and Opportunities
Parent, student and teacher surveys have indicated multiple needs for renovation and expansion of our facilities as part of our strategic planning over the past ten years. The most significant needs include:
- A multipurpose building with a full-size gymnasium for physical education, after school sports and a venue for fine arts performances and events. We are currently utilizing a gymnasium that is one-third the size of a full gym. With no adequate space, PE classes are overcrowded; school assemblies, performances, and parent meetings are held in the parish sanctuary; and students must walk off campus to the city recreation center to participate in extracurricular athletic practices and events.
- A facility to host community outreach programs including STEAM and academic events with the local under resourced school system for a sharing of our proven best practices. We will also further our collaboration with local arts alliances as well as the greater community.
- Additional parking to adequately accommodate activities
- Exterior improvements, signage, lighting and landscaping
SJE enjoys a strong financial position with no debt to hinder our future service to the community. Noise abatement, HVAC, and energy-efficient renovations were substantially completed in 2012 and completely paid for by operational funding and grants, thus avoiding any debt.
It is with great excitement that St. John the Evangelist School celebrates our 60th year of education. We believe that this is a unique opportunity to soar into the next chapter of excellence in partnership with those who are the living embodiment of all we have achieved in the past. The capital campaign will engage those who are closest to the school, including alumni, parents, grandparents, parishioners, community partners and friends of SJE.
Identified projects include:
Enrichment Center – $3.75 Million
The Enrichment Center will touch on every facet of our students’ lives including academics, fine arts and extracurricular activities by providing ample space for classes, physical education, after-school activities, arts, athletics and the extended school program while allowing students to remain on campus.
The Enrichment Center will enable us to expand our current programs and offer new opportunities for our students as well as those in the local school system and community. The full-size gym will provide a home for our current athletic teams as well as space to expand our physical education curriculum. SJE will be able to host home sporting events and practices on campus and eliminate the need for our students to walk to an off-site
location. A stage and performance area large enough to accommodate performances and events will allow SJE to expand our existing programs and provide a comfortable seating area for guests for our most well attended events. By adding a catering kitchen and storage, we will be able to utilize the facility for large events like retreats, conferences, meetings and special events.
As our school and programs have grown, the number of people on campus at any given time has increased. We must be able to accommodate attendees for multiple events hosted at the same time by the school, parish, or both.
The improved traffic flow will provide for a safer, faster and more efficient drop-off/pick-up process and event traffic.
Renovation of existing building into a Center for Fine Arts – $250,000
Art and music classrooms will be expanded and additional curriculum will be added to the fine arts program.
Estimated total need: approximately $4 million
St. John the Evangelist School is proud to continue the legacy of academic excellence and faith formation of the past 60 years. Outstanding academic programs, strong leadership, community involvement and the pursuit of continuous school improvement will flourish to even greater levels as we prepare our students with a foundation of knowledge and faith.
A successful completion of this capital campaign will allow:
- Expansion of our academic, athletic, fine arts and extended school programs
- A gathering place for educational and community activities
- Meeting SACS accreditation recommendations listed in our past two site visits
- Addressing security and safety needs by keeping school activities on campus
- Allowing the school to host multiple events simultaneously