The Church of Saint James the Less
3227 West Clearfield Street, Philadelphia, PA 19132
The Church of Saint James the Less was founded in 1846 when the hilltop over the Schuylkill River where it stands was still countryside. The worship of God and the ministry of the Gospel were carried out here for 160 years until, following a dispute with the Diocese of Pennsylvania that resulted in litigation, the congregation decided to leave the Episcopal church, leaving these wonderful old buildings behind.
When the church was vacated in 2006 without a clear plan for what would happen there next, the lush property and its walled yards became a dark spot in the neighborhood rather than the place of welcome and refuge it had always been.
The Clergy, Vestry and People of Saint Mark's, Locust Street adopted the parish in 2008 in order to restore ministry to the property and make it a place of transformation, light, and hope for the neighborhood and the city once again.
Since that time we have been engaged in a process of prayer, discernment and discussion toward the goal of opening a school for children from low-income families on the property - which has previously housed and is well suited to function as a school.
An Advisory Board was formed to plan and prepare for this ministry.
In February 2010, the Advisory Board adopted a mission statement for the school:
Saint James School, a faith-based Philadelphia neighborhood school for traditionally under-served students, educates middle school students in a nurturing environment and with a challenging academic program. We are an Episcopal school that develops our students' moral and spiritual selves and their intellectual, physical, and creative gifts.
The Advisory Board is currently conducting a feasibility study with the Nativity Miguel Network of Schools. We believe in the importance of the Nine Mission Effectiveness Standards of the Nework, and we expect them to inform the founding and operation of the school.
All Network schools follow the Nine Mission Effectiveness Standards
1. Faith Based
A NativityMiguel School is explicitly faith-based in its mission.
2. Serves the Economically Poor and Marginalized
A NativityMiguel School offers a financially accessible, not tuition-based education to students from low-income families in impoverished communities and reflects the faith, cultural, and racial demographics of the local community.
3. A Holistic Education
A NativityMiguel School addresses the academic, physical, social, emotional, moral, and spiritual needs of a student, and develops the growth of the student in all areas.
4. Partners with the Family
A NativityMiguel School involves the student’s support system in the education of the child and provides opportunity for the growth of the support system.
5. Extended Day and Year
A NativityMiguel School extends the hours and days that a student is in session and offers structured opportunities for learning, enrichment, and growth during that time.
6. Commitment Beyond Graduation
It is the expectation that any and all students in a NativityMiguel School will graduate from high school and go on to some form of post-secondary education. A NativityMiguel School offers a Graduate Support Program that eases a graduate’s transition into high school; tutors, advocates for, and maintains a connection with all graduates during high school; supports the high school in preparing the student for graduation and post-secondary education; and tracks the growth and achievements of all graduates.
7. Effective Administrative Structure
A NativityMiguel School is governed by an effective administrative structure that includes a strong board comprised of leaders, committed to the financial and academic sustainability of the school, and a working administrative team, based on the president/principal model, that attends to the operational and educational stability and vitality of the school.
8. On-going Assessment and Inquiry
A NativityMiguel School is accredited by a recognized accrediting association as providing a quality middle school education that will prepare students for success in high school; and utilizes standardized tests and other appropriate assessments to track and document student performance and adapt the educational design if needed.
9. Active Network Participant
Dave Kasievich is the Executive Director of Saint James School
Fr. Sean Mullen is the Priest-in-Charge of Saint James the Less and Rector of Saint Mark’s.
Dr. Audrey Evans is Chair of the Advisory Board.
To read a history of the Church of St. James the Less, click here.
You may contact Dave Kasievich regarding the Saint James School at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 215.226.1276. Visit their website here.