HISTORY OF ST. MARY SCHOOL
The parish of St. Mary of the Assumption was founded in 1835. Shortly after, the people found themselves in need of a school.
In 1847 a two-story building was constructed with the lower floor serving as a classroom, while the upper floor was used as the priests’ residence. Lay teachers boarded at neighboring homes.
The curriculum consisted of reading, writing, arithmetic, plus religion that was taught by the pastor himself.
In 1899 the Sisters of Divine Providence, who occupied the second floor of the school, replaced the lay teachers. There were then two classrooms. But as year succeeded year, St. Mary School progressed steadily, and for want of room, the parish had no choice other than to build a new school. Without delay the location was selected and work began immediately.
In 1924 another school building consisting of four classrooms was erected. Four sisters with an enrollment of 140 students staffed the school. By 1954 enrollment had grown to 365, which required a five-room addition with cafeteria facilities to be added on to the school. To accommodate the increasing enrollment, another new addition was built making a total of sixteen classrooms. There were 550 students taught by nine sisters and two lay teachers. The basement of this new addition was used as a temporary church until 1964 when the present church was completed.
The school’s enrollment peaked in 1964 with an enrollment of 710 students. There were eight grades, eighteen rooms, and no tuition except for book rentals. The CCD program was established in 1962 and used the school facilities. The school began its kindergarten program in 1981 and the preschool program in 1996.
In the 1970’s enrollment decreased, but again experienced new growth and the 1980’s and 1990’s. Due to rising tuition costs and good, strong public schools, the current enrollment of the school for the 2011-2012 school year was 261, ten of whom are students of the St. Anthony School Program. The St. Anthony Program was integrated into our school for the first time in 2011. Located in the township of Indiana, St. Mary School also draws from the following school districts: Deer Lakes, Fox Chapel, Hampton, Penn Hills, Pittsburgh, Riverview, and Shaler.
The faculty consists of twelve full-time teachers and four part-time teachers, all with Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees in education and related fields, in addition to Pennsylvania State Certification.
The school staff consists of a full-time secretary, one media specialist, one full-time aide and two part-time aides.
As a Catholic parish school, the pastor and principal work together as an administrative team to oversee the policies and programs of the school.
St. Mary’s School community consists of a diverse range of family members. Most of the parents are college-educated and mainly employed in professional or service fields in the greater Pittsburgh area.