A GUIDE TO CHOOSING A HIGH SCHOOL
Questions to consider when choosing a school for your kid
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 kids 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.
What is your average ACT score?
- 25.1 (Class of 2020)
What is the student to teacher ratio?
How many AP classes could my kid choose from?
- We offer 28 sections of AP classes in 14 different content areas. We also offer JCCC dual credit classes.
How many AP tests did you administer last year?
- In 2020 we had 276 students take 532 AP exams. 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.
- Nearly 75% of our students passed their AP exams.
- Over the last five years, our AP scores equivocate to 6,525 hours of college credit at KU, totaling $2.6M in tuition. Those same scores earn 2,481 in credit at Creighton, totaling $3.1M in tuition.
What are your academic achievements?
- 36 of our students scored 30 or higher on the ACT.
- 66 Kansas Designated State Scholars
- 5 National Merit Commended Finalists
- 2 National Merit Hispanic Recognition
- 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.
What can you tell me about college for my kid?
- 100% college acceptance rate.
- Class of 2022: $11,504,611 in college scholarships offered, with $4,338,187 accepted. Average of $56,673 offered per student, and $21,370 accepted.
What kind of academic support does your school offer for my kid?
- 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.
How will your school help my kid prepare for exams such as the ACT?
- 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.
- Career Exploration Classes so students can discern their future in six areas: Engineering, Healthcare, Law, Journalism, Social Services, and Education.
- A huge Innovation Initiative slated for 2022.
What does your school believe about Faith Formation?
- 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.
What are some of the faith formation opportunities for my kid?
- Spiritual mentorship with teachers and house mentors.
- Uplifting prayer experiences
- Faith sharing groups like Grace, Fiat, and Sons of Thunder, and Thunder for Life.
- Christian Stewardship Project, required for all students
- Annual Serve Day
- Class Retreats
- Draw Near, our monthly adoration and worship night
- Mission Trips
- Biannual Rome Pilgrimage
- State and National March for Life
What do the sacraments and worship look like at your school?
- Daily mass
- Weekly confessions
- Monthly All School Mass
- Opportunities for liturgical ministries.
What if my kid is not Catholic?
- 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, attend retreats as part of a community of faith, just as all kids do.
- Your kid 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.
What if my kid struggles with faith or my family has grown away from the Church?
- 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.
What does faith look like across your curriculum?
- 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.
What about 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
Do you have a Community System? What is it and how does it work? How will it help my kid feel wanted?
- Yes! Think of the “houses” in Harry Potter, only deeper, richer, and built in a faith-based community. We give each student a belonging.
- We have 8 Communities each named after a saint. Kids are called to a Community when they first arrive.
- Within the Community, kids are placed in Houses with mixed grade levels and a Mentor Teacher.
- “House” meets daily.
- Nearly all activities run though our Community System as Communities compete for the annual Thunder Cup.
- Students remain in the same House for 4 years, maturing in relationships and leadership, 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 kids’ 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 kid?
- 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.