St. Francis School

Tel: (502)795-3380
Grades: PK-12 | 480 students
An Independent, non-denominational, co-ed school educating students from preschool through high school on two campuses.

School Overview

School Membership(s)School Assoc. National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS)
State or regional independent school association
Independent Schools Association of the Central States
Religious Affiliation Non-sectarian
Grades Offered Grades Prekindergarten-12
Learning Difference Programs Yes
Year Founded 1965

Student Body

Total Students 480 students
Student Body Type Co-ed
Students by Grade St. Francis School Student By Grade

Academics and Faculty

Total Classroom Teachers 67 teachers
Student : Teacher Ratio 8:1
National avg.: 13:1
Number of AP Courses 13 courses

Finances and Admission

Admission Deadline None / Rolling

School Notes

  • St. Francis is an Independent, non-denominational, progressive, co-ed, Preschool – 12th grade school located on two campuses:  Goshen (Preschool-8) and Downtown (9-12) with approximately 480 students. The origin of St. Francis School traces back to a Preschool established in 1948 by members of St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church. In 1965, the Rev. Stephen R. Davenport, along with supportive parents and friends, opened St. Francis School at the church in Harrods Creek, with the Rev. Frank Q. Cayce serving as Headmaster from 1965 to 1975. Their goal was to fulfill a community need for an integrated, co-educational school that provided an innovative learning environment.
  • In 1970, the school moved from St. Francis in the Fields Church to its present 64-acre site in Goshen, Kentucky, twenty-two miles northeast of downtown Louisville. Built in the unique”open-classroom” style, the architecture included small amphitheaters in each wing of the school and several raised classrooms called “pods.”
  • In 1976, Tom Pike, then Acting Head of School at St. Francis School, along with a group of parents and Board members, founded St. Francis High School in downtown Louisville. The school was housed in the former Downtown YMCA, a National Historic Landmark building, and was deliberately located downtown so that adolescents, who are preparing to be part of the adult world, would be situated in the adult world and have access to all the cultural and educational opportunities of a thriving metropolis.
  • Throughout its first 30 years in Goshen, that campus continued to expand, with a second building that held a gymnasium, science labs, a music room, and art room completed in 1974; a new library, computer center, and language lab added in 1982; purchase of an additional 27.5 acres adjacent to the original campus purchased in 1996-97 and a math/science/art wing added in 1997, along with extensive renovation to the existing building. In 2013, the gymnasium was demolished, with a new gym facility opening in August 2014.
  • In 1995, St. Francis Preschool, as part of St. Francis School, was again opened on the grounds of St. Francis in the Fields Episcopal Church in Harrods Creek, and it has continued to operate at the Church since then. St. Francis High School purchased the Downtown YMCA building in 1998, completing an award-winning renovation of the space in the 2003-04 school year. In 2007, the High School added the adjacent garage facility to its footprint. The garage is closed as of the start of school in 2012-13, and later demolished; a new parking lot on the space opened in July 2013.
  • In February 2012, the Boards of St. Francis School and St. Francis High School approved the merger of the two sister schools to form the current Preschool – 12th grade St. Francis School. While discussions of a merger had taken place over several decades, in 2012, the time was right and the two Boards agreed to align the three campuses sharing similar educational philosophy into one dynamic entity centered around a progressive mission.
  • Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, the Preschool moved to the Goshen Campus and is housed in the Lower School wing there.
  • St. Francis School is characterized by personal attention, small class sizes, diversity, dedication to student voice, commitment to community service, student-centric extracurriculars, and outstanding teachers who are dedicated to their subject areas and to students. Inside and outside the classroom, the atmosphere at St. Francis School is one of joy that also prepares students successfully for college and for life. The school philosophy is based on the Progressive school movement founded by John Dewey and Francis Parker in the early 1900s as a response to the assembly line, “one-size-fits-all” school model. Progressive schools, on the other hand, believe that students achieve milestones at different rates and therefore that education should be customized for individual students as much as possible. Like St. Francis, Progressive schools are student-centered, community service-minded, diverse, experiential, and participatory; they require students to be fully engaged participants in the learning process.
  • St. Francis School is fully accredited by the Independent Schools Association of the Central States (ISACS), certified by the Kentucky Department of Education, and is a member of the following organizations: National Association of Independent Schools, Kentucky Association of Independent Schools, Kentucky Non-Public Schools Commission, Elementary Schools Heads Association, National Middle School Association, Center for Spiritual and Ethical Education, and the National Association for Gifted Children. St. Francis is also one of 100 schools in the U.S. named as a Confucius Classroom for its Chinese language program, and its middle school drama program is nationally recognized by the National Youth Arts Awards.
  • The Preschool received a superior rating in the Kentucky STARS program and is recognized as an exemplary program by the Kentucky Department of Education.

Profile last updated: 07/17/2015

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