Nurturing Mind, Body, and Spirit for over 100 years
St. John’s Catholic School –
Catholic education in Hot Springs dates back to 1880 with the Sisters of Mercy opening St. Mary’s Academy, a boarding school for girls and a day coeducational high school and grade school. St. John’s opened its school shortly after in 1908, under the guidance and support of a Benedictine priest, Father John E. Weibel, and two Olivetan Benedictine Sisters. At that time there were eight grades, two teachers, and sixteen pupils attending St. John’s School. In 1921, Monsignor William Carroll, pastor of both parishes, directed that both schools merge and requested that the Sisters of Mercy take over the leadership and guidance of St. John’s School. Class sizes and attendance continued to grow, requiring many transformations and building projects to be organized to provide for the educational needs of its Catholic and other than Catholic community.
During the mid 1960’s grades seven and eight were dropped because of a lack of Sisters to teach the students and because of a drop in enrollment. During these years, St. John’s School along with many other Catholic schools experienced a shift in its teaching staff from Religious Sisters to lay teachers. St. John’s School is very fortunate today to still have the benefits and blessings of three Sisters of Mercy on its staff–Sister Noeline Banks, RSM, Sister Cheryl Quave, RSM and Sister Carol Ann Corley, RSM.
The 1980’s and 1990’s, under the direction of Father Ralph Bauer, brought about additional renovations and technological advances to the school. The convent building was converted into additional office space and a new building project was underway, housing our present day cafeteria and the gym along with a new library, art and music room and additional classrooms.
In September of l987 the school began its first Pre-Kindergarten program with one teacher and 13 students. As the student population continued to increase, the need for more space became once again apparent. In the fall of 1996, the school board looked at expanding to the seventh and eighth grades. With the support of the parish, under the guidance of Father James West, the seventh grade was reestablished in the fall of 1998 and the eighth grade became part of the school in the fall of 1999. Building expansions of the 1990 gym building included additional classroom space to accommodate the junior high level students and the addition of a youth room. The Jackson Science Lab was also included with this expansion which was completed in time for its first 8th grade graduating class of 2000 in over thirty years. The Callahan Computer Lab offers wireless internet access throughout the school continues to evolve and is updated to respond to the changing needs of global internet technology. In keeping up with the technology demands of the day, all but one classroom is equipped with a Smart Board for more interactive learning for the students.
Today, St. John’s School, still located at 583 West Grand Avenue in Hot Springs, continues to offer coeducational classes for students in grades pre-kindergarten through eighth grade with the support of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church and its Catholic community—St. Mary’s Church downtown Hot Springs and Sacred Heart Church in Hot Springs Village.
St. John’s School offers a rigorous academic program, adhering to the curriculum guidelines established by the Catholic Schools of Arkansas – Diocese of Little Rock. St. John’s also offers Religious studies, Spanish, Art, Computer Science, Library, Music, Environmental Studies and Physical Education. Athletic participation includes team sports through the Little Rock Parochial League, at the Boys and Girls Club and other venues. Students are also exposed to fine arts activities and are provided opportunities to participate in play performances, academic bowls, spelling competition, science fairs and violin lessons. They also share their musical talents at church and in the community.
St John’s Catholic school is accredited by the Arkansas Nonpublic School Accrediting Association (ANSAA). In addition to ANSAA, St. John’s school and its staff are members of the National Catholic Education Association as well as the Mercy Elementary Education Network.
Today, the SJS staff includes ten full-time teachers, five part-time teachers, two priests who teach in the school, one Assistant Principal and the Principal. May God continue to support our educational ministry as St. John’s School embraces its 110th year of Catholic Education here in Hot Springs.
St. John’s Catholic School School Board
Each Catholic school in the Diocese of Little Rock will have a consultative school board in accordance with the policies and regulations adopted by the Diocesan Board of Education and approved by the Bishop.
Unlike a public school board, the Catholic school board is not autonomous. According to the code of Canon Law, all parish boards are consultative. Actions of the board become effective only upon the approval of the pastor. Parents of other faith traditions may be board members, but since the main purpose of the board is to assist the pastor and principal in providing quality Catholic education, the majority of board members are to be practicing Catholics. To be a school board member is more than just a commitment, and is distinctly different from a political appointment. It is to contribute one’s talents, wisdom, experience, faith life, and good will to the mission of the school. Individual board members exercise no official consultative role outside the board meeting. Individual complaints are not the responsibility of board members and should not be discussed at board meetings.
(Excerpt from the Catholic Schools Policy Manual for the Diocese of Little Rock)
St. John’s School Board is made up of the following members:
- Pastor – Fr. George Sanders
- Associate Pastor -Fr. Keith Higginbotham
- Principal – Janet Edgar
- President – Warren Navarre
- Vice- President- John Adamkiewicz
- Secretary – Sara Bickerstaff
- Hans Pullen
- Clint Stiles
- Karen Bozeman
- Sunny Carson
- Nga Mahfouz
- Elba Rosales
*Advancement Director – Marianne Layne
**The Principal and Advancement Director, report to the school board but are not voting members of the board.
SJS PTO Mission Statement
To provide students, teachers, and parents with the services they need to help keep the academic and spiritual needs of our St. John’s family alive and prosperous for another 100 years.
- President – Stephani Davis
- Vice President – April Mowery
- Treasurer – Marianne Layne
Student Receives Award from Elks Lodge
Members of Elk Lodge 380 attended assembly at St. John's Catholic School and presented an award certificate and financial award for the Elks essay contest.
PUBLIC RELEASE: St. John’s Catholic School announces its sponsorship of the USDA Food Program. Meals will be available at no charge or at a reduced charge to enrolled persons at the participating institution(s) listed below. In accordance with Federal law and the United States Department of Agriculture policy, this institution is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, disability, and reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) To file a complaint of discrimination write to U.S Department of Agriculture, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue NW, Washington, D.C. 20250-9410. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication should contact USDA’s TARGET Center at (202)720-2600 (voice or TTY) or contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339).
USDA is an equal opportunity provider.
Institution or Facility Address:
St. John’s Catholic School
583 W. Grand Ave
Hot Springs, AR 71901
Wellness Policy of St. John’s Catholic School
St. John’s School (SJS) will:
- Offer a school lunch program with menus that meet the meal patterns and nutrition standards established by the National School Lunch Program.
- Encourage school staff and families to participate in school meal programs
- Operate all Child Nutrition Programs with school foodservice staff who are qualified according to current professional standards, e.g., attend workshops provided by the NSLP and DHS
- Establish food safety as a key component of all school food operations and ensure that the food service permit is current, e.g., pass health department, commodities, and fire department inspections as well as ANSAA accreditation requirements
- Follow policies on competitive foods
- Establish guidelines for all foods available on the school campus during the school day with the objective of promoting health and reducing obesity, e.g., no sodas, caffeine, or sugary snacks are available for sale during the school day
- Provide adequate time for lunch
- Provide whole and enriched grain products that are high in fiber, low in added fats and sugars, and served in appropriate portion sizes consistent with the current USDA standards
- Provide fresh, frozen, canned or dried fruits and vegetables using healthy food preparation techniques and 100% fruit or vegetable juice
- Provide nonfat, reduced fat,, low-fat plain and/or flavored milk, yogurt, and cheese
- Provide a cafeteria environment conducive to a positive dining experience, with socializing among students and between students and adults; with supervision of eating areas by adults who model proper conduct and voice level; and with adults who model healthy habits by eating with the students
- Encourage serving healthy food at school parties
- Strongly encourage nutritious and appealing options for sporting and academic events, celebrations, social events, after school care, and other school functions
- At least 30 minutes a day, usually 45 minutes of recess will be given to each student per day.
St. John’s School provides, as a regular part of our curriculum, nutrition and health skills teaching. The In Spirit and Truth curriculum guide sections (available online at www.dolr.org) on Consumer and Personal Health, Nutrition, Prevention and Control of Disease, Respecting God’s Creation, and Substance Use and Abuse. The Physical Education component of SJS includes regular dedicated class time to physical education objectives outlined in the curriculum guide and as recommended by the State of Arkansas. In addition, students have appropriate outside free play time during recesses and after school care. Organized sports are offered to students who can compete in the Parochial League of the Diocese of Little Rock.