St. James School
3217 W Clearfield St,.
Philadelphia, PA 19132
Contact: Dave McDonough (Principal)
St. James School is a faith-based Philadelphia middle school in the Episcopal tradition, committed to educating traditionally under-resourced students in a nurturing environment. The school is a community bringing together students, faculty, staff and supporters from diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. It provides a challenging academic program and encourages the development of the moral, spiritual, intellectual, physical and creative gifts in its students. It partners with the Episcopal Parish of St. James the Less, whose chapel is across the street from the main school building, as well as many other congregations, financial supporters, and community organizations.
Peace-making is a priority at St. James. The school addresses the root causes of violence found in its neighborhood: poverty, hunger, a paucity of resources, a history and “culture” of violent behavior, and instability in many families. St. James provides an intensive experience, an immersion, for each student in an academic environment where order, calm, and respect for each child and adult are cultivated. The school day is 10 hours long, and expands into two Saturdays per month and summer school during July. Each student’s needs are assessed and addressed by the faculty and staff as they get to know the student, the student’s interests and aspirations,, the student’s family, and the environment from which the student comes. The relationships with students are fostered as students and staff eat three meals a day together, as they share experiences in the classroom, as they pursue a multitude of activities and on numerous field trips, all carefully planned to reinforce each other as the whole child is nurtured.
Care for the student does not stop at the edge of campus or when the student graduates from the 8th grade. Graduates are followed and counseled as they go through high school and college, many returning to St. James for weekly tutoring and support. Families are visited in thei