St. James Parish had the opportunity to provide a Catholic education very early in its history. In 1870, the Sisters of Loretto opened a school called St. Mary’s Academy and changed the school’s name to St. James School in 1902. Even though times were difficult and money was scarce, the school survived. Between 1920 and 1921 there were only 21 pupils in the school. A high school was added in 1922 and there were six graduating seniors in 1923. Ground was broken for a new building, and on December 21, 1923, the Sisters moved into the new facility. Attendance eventually declined, so Father Murray closed the high school after 12 years.
In September 1937, the first PTA was organized, and the organization funded a great many improvements to the school. A kindergarten opened in 1941 but closed in March of 1942 due to the teacher’s illness. Sister Stephana was sent to reopen the high school in 1942. A school cafeteria, run by Mrs. Mildred Corbett, was begun by the PTA in 1944. Students were charged .15 for lunches.
The sisters moved into a new convent in 1950, and in 1951, the high school was back to a four year program. Elizabethtown Catholic High School offered a variety of courses, including Spanish for Juniors and Seniors.
A new high school was built and furnished, and was occupied in March 1955. Enrollment tripled in less than 10 years. While the new elementary school was opened in August 1964, the high school closed in 1969 because of financial shortages, and the grade school moved into the building.
On June 5, 2011, ground was broken again for the St. James Catholic Regional School. In the fall of 2012, students and staff moved into the new building at 401 Robinbrooke Blvd. Today, St. James is a suburban hybrid-regional Catholic elementary school, serving over 450 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. School services include Spanish classes for all students in grades 4-8, Title I provided through Hardin County, speech provided by Elizabethtown Schools, counseling, preschool extended care, after school care, and a wide variety of extra-curricular activities.
St. James School has been accredited by the Commonwealth of Kentucky since the onset of this process by the Kentucky Non-public Schools Commission. In addition, in November, 2012, the school received the National Blue Ribbon Award. St. James qualified for this award based upon consistently high Terra Nova scores in the mandated grades of 3, 5 and 7. Blue Ribbon awards recognize schools that fall within the top ten percent nationwide.
The school is committed to providing a safe, caring, nurturing learning environment where lifelong learning, responsibility, diversity and Catholic beliefs and values are celebrated. The teachers strive to make the classrooms conducive to learning by using best practices and preparing thoughtful lessons which engage the students. In addition, the school’s strong Catholic identity is evidenced throughout the curriculum, religion classes and sacramental preparation, ACRE test results, service opportunities, in daily prayers and by the exceptional leaders who champion the Catholic faith.
An Enrollment Management Team works diligently to meet optimal enrollment goals, which are vital to the success and growth of educational and extracurricular programs at St. James School. Through effective target marketing, the team focuses its initial efforts on preschool and kindergarten entry points. St. James School strives to build a relationship with each prospective family in order to strengthen the relationship between them and our school.