St. James School Drops ‘School’ from Mission Statement, Opens New Community Building in North Philadelphia

St. James School
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St. James School, a North Philadelphia middle school that works with its students through adulthood while also serving families and neighbors, has announced plans to drop “School” from its mission statement, coinciding with the opening of a new 10,000-square-foot building on its Allegheny West neighborhood campus.

“We are much more than a ‘school’ in our community,” said David Kasievich, Head of School since it opened in 2011. “Dropping ‘school’ from our mission statement reflects our revamped mission and vision to become a community institution that is rooted in love and pursuing transformative change.”

St. James will remain the only Episcopal school in the city of Philadelphia, providing children in grades 4-8 from a historically and intentionally excluded neighborhood with a top-quality, faith-based, private education in a nurturing environment. The new building contains classrooms for upper school students, while the lower school remains in the connected original School House.

In addition to current students, St. James’s unique Graduate Support program serves its graduates through high school and college or career training.

“Our scholars never stop being our students,” said Kasievich, “so we need to remove obstacles and add resources that our community needs to ensure our graduates continue succeeding academically, socially, emotionally, and in life.”

The new building devotes the entire first floor to Graduate Support. Each year, more of the school’s 123 alumni return to campus frequently for personal and academic support, including mentoring and tutoring services, a study space, and a snack or meal.

The new building also expands the spaces St. James can make available to the neighborhood for meetings and events. St. James partners with the neighborhood through a program called The Welcome Table, which provides food and other essentials and aims to foster an experience of community sharing. The Welcome Table recently launched an Adult Education Program offering an array of classes and services to help neighbors achieve their life goals.

In addition to educating students, St. James’s care-centric approach includes healthy, fresh food served family-style, an on-site nurse practitioner who treats sick children instead of sending them home, a visiting dentist, and mental health professionals trained to help young people work through adversity and trauma.

The new building features a stair-free, accessible entrance, and an elevator, all of which enable St. James to welcome all members of the community.

“This building will enable us to connect even more deeply with our students, long after graduation,” said Kasievich. “St. James is growing and more and more is becoming the center for our community. In this place, we want our students past and present to feel like they can seek out the resources they need.”

Learn more about St. James.

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