CHOOSING A SCHOOL

A GUIDE TO CHOOSING A HIGH SCHOOL

Questions to consider when choosing a high school for your kid

ACADEMICS

What does your school believe about academics?

  • All students can learn with proper guidance, spiritual support, and the right community.
  • High expectations help us strive for greatness, not comfort.
  • We prepare students for healthy, lifelong relationships.
  • Our faith-based mission helps students discover meaning and purpose in their lives.
  • We are rooted in the liberal arts, creating range and versatility in our graduates as creative thinkers, curious about the world God has created for them, learning to learn and learning to love learning.

How many AP tests did you administer last year?

  • We offer 16 Advanced Placement Courses and 21 Honors Courses (including dual-enrollment).
  • 408 AP Exams were given to 215 students for the 22-23 school year.  
  • 29 students were AP Scholars, 10 received AP Scholars with Honors, and 19 students received AP Scholars with Distinction.
  • Many schools will enroll kids in AP classes, but never administer the actual exam. At St. James Academy, every kid who has “AP” on his or her transcript will take the AP exam.
  • Our College Exploration class provides students with a Princeton Review ACT prep curriculum taught by a certified ACT prep teacher.
  • All students take multiple practice ACTs at school.
  • ACT prep is integrated into core classes.

Achievements

Last year…

  • 31 of our students scored 30 or higher on the ACT.
  • 58 Kansas Designated State Scholars
  • 1 National Merit Semifinalist
  • 2 National Merit Commended Finalists

and…

  • Multiple award-winning faculty, including the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program Distinguished Teacher, and the 2017 Kansas Finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching, and the 2022 AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award Teaching (only school in the state of Kansas to win this award).
  • 100% college acceptance rate.

Academic Support

  • ThunderBlock: a free period built into our schedule ensuring availability for meeting with teachers.
  • National Honors Society structured tutoring, where upperclassmen offer their expertise to their peers.
  • School-wide weekly grade checks and a tiered intervention system across all classes to provide support when it is needed.
  • Our College Exploration class provides students with a Princeton Review ACT prep curriculum taught by a certified ACT prep teacher.
  • All students take multiple practice ACTs at school.
  • ACT prep is integrated in core classes.

How does your school serve all of God’s children?

  • We have a place for your child, from high academic achievers to those who struggle to everyone in between.
  • One of the area’s strongest Advanced Placement (AP), offering more AP classes and administering more AP exams than most high schools.
  • Our Student Services department has three full-time certified Special Education teachers, supporting students on IEPs and other learning plans.

FAITH FORMATION

FAITH FORMATION & CURRICULUM

  • We are rooted in relationship, faithful to the church’s teachings. The Trinity is the headwater and everything we do flows from the source.  We have a Director of Faith Formation with two full-time Campus Ministry teachers.
  • We have the lens of a Catholic Worldview. We are a faculty of believers; our teachers attend a weekly faith formation class and integrate faith into their lessons and classes.

FAITH OPPORTUNITIES

Students have many opportunities to get involved and deepen their faith at St. James Academy.

  •   Spiritual mentorship with teachers and house mentors
  •   Uplifting prayer experiences
  •   Faith-sharing groups like GRACE, Fiat, Sons of Thunder, and Thunder for Life.
  •   Christian Stewardship Project, Serve Day, Class Retreats, Draw Near, our monthly adoration and worship night
  •   Mission Trips, Biannual Rome Pilgrimage
  •   State and National March for Life
  • Attend daily mass, participate in weekly confession offered by our chaplain, attend monthly all school mass as well as be a part of liturgical ministries.

NON-CATHOLIC OR STRUGGLES WITH FAITH

First, let us say that we can’t wait to meet him or her! Building relationships is the foundation of building a faith life. Your kid will still take religion classes, go to mass, and attend retreats as part of a community of faith, just as all kids do.

  •   Your student will be loved and cared for, as we have a desire to share Christ with him or her.
  •   Our non-catholic brothers and sisters, students and staff, have an incredible experience; just ask any of them.
  •   We meet kids where they are. Our approach has always been to listen first, to get to know each student individually, and support them by walking with them and answering their questions.
  •   We are dedicated to providing authentic witnesses and tools to help students understand God’s plan for their lives.

·   Our Community System also helps build bonds so kids are more comfortable talking about their faith life.

Religious Vocations

  •  11 graduates are currently seminarians. 4 graduates have entered the religious life.
  • We have priests and sisters on staff to lead discernment groups and help kids understand God’s plan for their lives.
  • View our alumni in Religious Vocations

COMMUNITY SYSTEM

What is the community system and how does it work?

  • We have 8 Communities, each named after a saint. Students are called to a Community when they first arrive.
  • Within the Community, students are placed in Houses with mixed grade levels and a Mentor Teacher.
  • “House” meets daily.
  • Nearly all activities run through our Community System as Communities compete for the annual Thunder Cup.
  • Students remain in the same House for four years, maturing in relationships and leadership and building authentic bonds with their peers and their Mentor Teacher.

Why is it important to have a Community System?

  • Being in authentic relationships is the most important part of developing students’ spiritual lives. We do this intentionally everyday in House. Kids must walk with peers and mentors who are in relationship with Jesus in order to feel comfortable getting to know Him.
  • Our Community System teaches “other-centered” instead of “self-centered” by sharing in daily “play,” charity, and Community competitions.
  • Also, when students feel known and loved, they are more free to excel in all areas of their life, especially academics.

How does the Community system support leadership opportunities for my student?

  •  A traditional high school student council only gives opportunities to a limited number of students. Our Community System provides over 200 leadership positions for all grade levels, giving them opportunities to plan events, provide mentorship, and lead.
  • Our seniors go through a three-day extensive leadership training summit, and continuous training throughout the year.
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Blog

READ OUR BLOG

Our goal is to help families like yours find the information that leads you to consider being part of the St. James community! Read compelling topics that are common to our junior high constituents’ decision-making process.

A Place for All Learning Types

. . . it was the Holy Spirit guiding us to make that first phone call last May, and we knew we had to trust that SJA was the right place, regardless of our past experiences at private school. If your child needs extra support in the classroom and you are concerned...

My Experience Transferring to SJA

Considering Transferring to St. James? St. James has been the brightest light I have had in my life so far. This school is the most amazing place I could have ever possibly imagined learning at. Any person who walks into this building can immediately feel the love...

Innovation at St. James Academy

Everything at SJA starts and ends with the mission, and so we’re not just here to get kids ready for a career; we’re here to pass on the faith and educate the whole child, focusing more on who they become rather than simply what they’re able to do By Shane Rapp, Ed.D,...