St. James Parish first provided a Catholic education in 1870 when the Sisters of Loretto opened a school called St. Mary’s Academy. The name of the school changed to St. James School in 1902. A high school was added in 1922, with six graduating seniors in 1923. Ground was broken for a new building, and on December 21, 1923, the Sisters moved into the new facility. Attendance eventually declined, so Father Murray closed the high school after 12 years.
The sisters moved into a new convent in 1950, and in 1951, the high school returned to a four-year program. Elizabethtown Catholic High School offered various courses, including Spanish for juniors and seniors. Four years later, a new high school was built. Enrollment tripled in the next 10 years. While the new elementary school was opened in August 1964, the high school closed in 1969 because of financial shortages, and the grade school moved into the building.
On June 5, 2011, ground was broken again for a new building for St. James Catholic Regional School. In the fall of 2012, students and staff moved into the new building at 401 Robinbrooke Blvd. Today, SJS is a suburban hybrid-regional Catholic elementary school, serving over 400 students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. The curriculum includes art, music, PE, and Spanish classes for all students in kindergarten through 8th grade. Support services for all learners include reading and math intervention, speech, tutoring, counseling, Title I provided through Hardin County, preschool extended care, after-school care, and a wide variety of athletics and extracurricular activities.
SJS has been accredited by the Commonwealth of Kentucky since the onset of this process by the Kentucky Non-Public Schools Commission. Since 2012, SJS has also been accredited by Cognia through the Archdiocese of Louisville. In November of that year, the school received its first National Blue Ribbon Award. SJS qualified for this award based upon consistently high Terra Nova scores in the mandated grades of 3, 5 and 7. Blue Ribbon awards recognize schools that fall within the top 10 percent nationwide.
An Enrollment Management Team works diligently to meet optimal enrollment goals, which is vital to the success and growth of educational and extracurricular programs at SJS. Through effective target marketing, the team focuses its initial efforts on preschool and kindergarten entry points. SJS strives to build a relationship with each prospective family to strengthen the relationship between them and our school.