Highland Catholic School was incorporated in 1971, with the merger of St. Therese and St. Leo’s schools. The school at that time had two classrooms each of Grades K-8. Six Sisters of St. Joseph resided across the street. It is interesting to note, that no lunchtime meetings were allowed, as that was the sisters’ main meal time. The dedication of these religious women created a foundation for excellence in learning.
St. Gregory’s School came on board in 1979. Highland Catholic School became the largest and oldest consolidated school in our archdiocese. It was heralded as a model of cooperation.
During the period from 1980-84, enrollment increased and necessitated the formation of an additional half day kindergarten class. Innovations were begun to meet the diverse student needs in mathematics and reading by creating a universal teaching schedule.
The next five years brought a focus on upgrading the physical appearance of the classrooms with the purchase of new desks and carpeting. Fortunately, the Endowment Fund was created at this time to support families interested in Catholic education. It continues today as a source of tuition assistance to needy families.
In 1990, there was an increased focus on partnerships with the local colleges and universities. Highland Catholic School continues to serve as a site for many student teachers and college clinicals. Our teachers are pleased to serve as master teachers for their new colleagues.
A tremendous effort was launched in 1991 to revitalize the school. Gains were made in curriculum design, teacher benefits, professional development, security, and facility upgrade. Enrollment increased from 288 to 404 students! The kindergarten day was expanded to become Kindergarten Plus with an additional two and a half hours of instruction. Now it has become a full day Kindergarten program. A K-8 Spanish Program was put in place with native speaking teachers. Middle school instruction grew to include Performing Arts.
In 1997, a successful Capital Campaign was launched that resulted in a $1.7 million donation. A build-out project was completed that included additional classroom space, enhanced office, new computer lab, welcoming lobby and handicap accessibility. New offerings for student enrichment were created. In an attempt to serve the community and provide another piece of diversity, Highland Catholic School became a work site for Transition to Independence students with disabilities from the St. Paul Public Schools.
Thanks to the continued success of the annual “Swing” fundraiser, which began in 1999, continuous improvements have been made to the physical plant. Programs have been developed to serve enrichment and remedial needs of students by the creation of our Resource Room and Literacy Lab.
The completion of the new Lumen Christi Catholic Community space in Spring 2006 has further enhanced the Highland Catholic School campus. The new building connecting the school to the renovated church space provides an ideal setting for school activities.
In 2011, Highland Catholic School launched a preschool program, offering classes for children ages 3-5 years. A preschool playground was constructed on-site through generous donations and Swing funds. Also, in 2011, a one-to-one iPad program was initiated for seventh and eighth grade students providing a 21st century tool for their learning. The iPad program has continued to evolve and grow.
The future of Highland Catholic School is bright with the strength of families, commitment of teachers, and excellence in programming.