St. Francis Episcopal Day School

St. Francis Episcopal Day School was founded in 1952 by a group of area residents, both parishioners and non-parishioners, who decided to found a parish school as part of the St. Francis Episcopal Church.  It would be self-supporting and use the existing parish facilities.  Although welcoming an initial class of 24 preschoolers, St. Francis eventually grew to educate students from pre-kindergarten through 8th grade.  The school’s four cornerstones are faith, scholarship, courage and honor.

St. Francis Episcopal Day School

335 Piney Point Road, Houston, TX 77024                                             Ms. Susan B. Lair, Head of School

713-458-6100                                                                            Ms. Margaret Ann Casseb, Head of Admissions

www.StFrancisHouston.org

Religious Affiliation

St. Francis is affiliated with the St. Francis Episcopal Church, and has included religion in its education since its founding.  Students of various faiths are welcome, but St. Francis boasts that it weaves their Episcopal identity into daily life at school.  St. Francis uses community outreach, religion classes, and chapel services to encourage students to “develop character, make sound and healthy choices, and become people for others.”  Chapel service is required twice a week, and parents are also welcome to attend.

Location and Facilities

St. Francis’ main campus is located on a 15.5-acre wooded campus near the Memorial area of Houston, west of the 610 Loop, near a second 23-acre campus under construction called South Campus.  The facilities include four acres of playing fields, three primary school cottages, a gymnasium, two athletics fields, and a main house.  St. Francis has a Fine Arts Center that seats up to 600, as well as an outdoor classroom, and a 7000 square foot library and technology center.  The school’s facilities were built in the 1950s but have continually expanded since then.  The new South Campus includes an additional gymnasium complex, two new athletics fields, primary school facilities, and an alumni and academic building.

Admissions

The St. Francis admission process includes: 1) Online application 2) $75 Application Fee 3) WPPSI/WISC testing for K – 1st grade; OLSAT and Achievement Test for 2nd – 4th grades; OLSAT and ISEE for 5th – 8th grades 4) Copy of Birth Certificate 5) Teacher Recommendation (from Math and English Teachers for 5th – 8th grades) 6) Transcript and 7) Photo.

Prospective students are required to schedule a visit and observation, and prospective parents are required to participate in one of the following: scheduled admissions tour, admissions preview or individual visit.  St. Francis is particularly looking for students who are a good fit for its culture, community and mission statement. Legacy is a factor in the admissions process.

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

St. Francis offers standard academic tracks for all grades and Pre-AP classes for middle school students.  In the lower school, students take Language Arts, Math, Science, PE, Religion, Technology and Social Studies. The core academic curriculum is supplemented by rotations of Music, Art, Drama and Spanish.  In middle school, students take English, History, Math, Science, Spanish, Life Skills and PE, along with an elective and study hall.  For 5th – 8th grade students, Pre-AP Math is offered, and for 6th thru 8th grade students, Pre-AP English is offered.  Students must apply to take Pre-AP classes.

Special Needs

St. Francis does not list any accommodations for special needs. They do have mentorship programs for students, including the Advisory and Life Skills programs.  These programs allow one-on-one student interaction with faculty advisors and promote “healthy decision-making and a positive self-image.” St. Francis also offers individual tutoring sessions for reading and math skill building, not for homework help.

Foreign Languages

St. Francis offers Spanish as a foreign language.  In the lower school, Spanish is taught 4 times per week and is included as an elective in middle school. St. Francis also offers foreign language classes in the Encore Plus Enrichment after school program.

Arts

Lower school students have hour-long weekly art classes, as well as twice a week introductory music classes. Kindergarteners make movies for their own film festival; first, second and third graders perform drama in the classroom; fourth graders produce and perform in a spring musical. Middle school students may participate in visual art, art history, choral music, drama, music history, orchestra, theater tech, and art a la carte, led by a parent volunteer. Fifth, sixth and seventh graders take art classes as part of a quarterly rotation. Eighth graders take art for a semester and display their work at their individual retrospective art shows at the end of the semester. Choir students, among others, participate in chapel services, school assemblies, district and state competitions, and performances in retirement centers and the community.

Technology

St. Francis integrates technology into all aspects of its curriculum.  Lower and Middle school students use the Internet, word processing, presentation software, digital cameras and scanners in hands-on projects.  The campus has four computer labs, which include both PC and Macs.  Students have the opportunity to use the computer labs weekly. All classrooms are equipped with Smart boards, and teachers have access to portable laptop carts and wireless Internet.

Extracurricular Activities

Clubs at St. Francis include Student Admission Ambassadors, National Junior Honor Society, Private School Interscholastic Association contests, Yearbook, several student councils, and Where Everybody Belongs (WEB) mentoring to help fifth graders transition into middle school.  St. Francis Episcopal Church sponsors Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts. The school hosts Encore Plus Enrichment Classes after school, which include ballet, art, foreign language, Tae Kwon Do, gymnastics, gold, fencing, Zumba, cooking, Lego robotics, soccer, chess, and individual lessons in piano, violin, and voice.

St. Francis also has community service opportunities.  In the past students have collected backpacks for Iraqi students and worked with hospitals, Houston’s homeless population, and organizations, such as the Holocaust Museum, the SPCA, and the Ronald McDonald House. The school hosts Ingatherings twice each quarter, in which students bring food and other items to donate to various charities. Students also participate in outdoor classrooms and take overnight trips around Texas.  Middle school students can participate in travel programs, including trips to Washington DC, Costa Rica, and Europe.

Athletics

While lower school students do not play competitively, they may participate in league sports through the St. Francis Sports Association. Middle school students may participate in one competitive sports program in each of the Fall, Winter, and Spring seasons. The school fields more than forty teams across thirteen sports: volleyball, field hockey, football, cross country, basketball, soccer, wrestling, swimming, softball, lacrosse, baseball, tennis, and track & field. Students not actively playing sports may become student managers for the teams of their choice and earn service hours.

Parent Involvement

St. Francis’ Parents Association sponsors many activities throughout the school year.  The goal of the association is to educate parents, as it organizes guest-speakers, author visits, forums, and book discussions on parenting issues. The school also has a Parent Education Committee and a Cultural Enrichment Committee. In primary and lower school, homeroom parents and advisory parents are encouraged to work directly with the teachers to help coordinate volunteers and events, such as the annual Festival Day. Other clubs include Dad’s Club, Athletic Booster Club, Friends of Fine Arts, and Admissions volunteer. All volunteers are required to participate in the Safeguarding God’s Children training program.

St. Francis Episcopal Day School Fast Facts

Overview  
School Type Religious, Coeducational
Religious Affiliation Episcopal
Uniforms Yes
Date Founded 1952
Endowment N/A
Grades Served PK-8
Enrollment 820
     Grade 8 71
     Grade 7 86
     Grade 6 84
     Grade 5Grade 4

Grade 3

Grade 2

Grade 1

KG

PK

8352

72

56

65

76

175

Student to Teacher Ratio 7:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) 25%
Minorities in Student Body 20%
Curriculum
Academic Tracks Offered Regular, Pre-AP
Advanced Placement Courses Offered Pre-AP English and Math
Languages Offered Spanish
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs 13
Graduating Seniors
N/A 
Admissions (Private Schools)
Prime Entry Points K, 5
Tuition Pre-Primary – Primary II $5,970 – $15,890
Tuition KG – 8 $17,570 – $20,940
New Student Fee $500
Students on Financial Aid N/A

 

Excerpted from General Academic’s publication, “Houston Private & Select Public Schools: Survey, Analysis, and Research, 3rd Edition.”

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