Who We Are
The dream and vision of the clergy, the vestry and the members of St. George’s Episcopal Church, St. George’s Episcopal School was founded in 1969. The school began with nineteen students, and classes were held in the church’s undercroft. Starting with only preschool, grades were added with each successive year. As the school grew, it moved from the church— first to a mansion on Napoleon Avenue and then to Salem United Church of Christ at Camp and Milan Streets.
In 1977 the school purchased the building at 923 Napoleon Avenue designed in 1876 by William S. Freret as McDonough #6 School. Originally, tall Gothic spires projected above the roofline at the building’s four corners, but a hurricane at the turn of the century damaged them beyond repair. Hurricane Camille in 1969 again damaged the building, and Orleans Parish Schools elected to no longer occupy it. The school has maintained the architectural integrity of the building through several phases of renovation, and it has been recognized as a New Orleans Landmark. The main brick building is named for Douglas Koy Porteous, whose outstanding generosity made its purchase, and that of the large frame building behind it, possible.
Over the years, St. George’s reputation for excellence grew. In 1985 St. George’s became a member of the Independent Schools Association of the Southwest, joining independent schools in Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. It joined the National Association of Independent Schools the following year. In 1991, the school’s mathematics curriculum received national recognition when it was featured on the front cover of Instructor Magazine, highlighting the lead article.
In 1989 the school doubled the amount of its interior space with the purchase of the Old Jefferson Market, erected in 1912.
When the Jefferson Market renovation was completed in March 1990, the school had gained a gymnasium, art and music studios, a multi-purpose room known as the Forum, a kitchen, a science laboratory and a computer lab. Much of this was made possible by donation grants in recognition of the contribution St. George’s had made to the educational community in New Orleans.
In 1993 the school purchased another historic building-- the old Jefferson City Jail (c.1863) and Recorder’s Court. This building was renovated into a pre-kindergarten and Extended Day facility.
During the 1993-1994 school year, a state-of-the-art computer system was installed throughout the campus with the help of a major grant from a local foundation. This system allowed the computer and appropriate software to be integrated across the curriculum. Today, this system has evolved to accommodate one-to-one technology in the classroom, including a laptop program in the middle school and school-wide use of Google Apps for Education.
In March of 1996, the school began the renovation of the former Knights of Columbus Building at the corner of Camp and General Pershing Streets into its Early Childhood Center. This new facility contains kindergarten classrooms, as well as a large common area for indoor play, physical education and eating. The two adjacent properties to the east, fronting on Camp Street, were also purchased in order to clear a large area for a playground. The second floor of the Early Childhood Center contains classrooms for a Lower School science lab, the Talented and Gifted (TAG) room and a small-group meeting space.
In 1999 the Mims Laudeman Library was completely renovated to serve the whole student body with over 10,000 volumes, complete internet access, an over-sized screen and other technology.
In the spring of 2003, St. George’s acquired the Temple Sinai Preschool Program. This Early Childhood program now services children 1 through 3 years of age on the St. George's campus.
In the fall of 2004, the school opened the Salem facility that provides additional classrooms and a state-of-the-art theater. First and second grade classrooms, part of the St. George's Early Childhood program, reading rooms and Resource classrooms are all housed in the Salem facility.
Since Hurricane Katrina, St. George's has experienced an increased need for early childhood services. In keeping with a longstanding goal set by the Board of Trustees, St. George's has grown its Early Childhood program with the further expansion of the Michael R. Boh Early Childhood Complex, most notably the new Early Childhood facility, which opened in the year 2009.
In the summer of 2013, the school acquired the last property on General Pershing Street to complete the Michael R. Boh Early Childhood Center Complex. Our newest facility was completed in August 2016 and connects the current preschool building and the Michael R. Boh Early Childhood Center, creating a more inclusive complex for all preschool and Pre-K classes.
This renovation boasts administration offices, faculty professional development space, additional classrooms, an art studio, a TinkerLab and a learning kitchen, as well as a large multipurpose atrium. With this expansion, students will continue to cultivate a love of learning and nurture the development of foundational skills across cognitive, social, emotional and physical domains.
Since our beginning in 1969, we have established many traditions that have become an integral part of the school. Our mascots are the dragon and St. George of legendary fame. St. George was a high ranking Roman soldier who was martyred in 303 A. D. He was much revered by the crusaders, and in 1350 he was made the patron saint of England. St. George is best known, however, in legend for rescuing the king's daughter from being sacrificed to a dragon. Our dragon appears as the mascot of our athletic teams.
A significant tradition is that of going to St. George’s Church and Salem Church for important occasions during the school year. We open the school year with a church service, “ringing” in the school year with a big brass hand bell. During Thanksgiving week, students and families gather for a service of thanks and an offering by the students of food for the needy. Our Christmas program of lessons and carols is a candlelight service with grades 1-8 participating. Our school year always ends with a Middle School Graduation and Awards service at St. George’s Church in which we award our outstanding students and citizens in grades 5-8 with gift books and celebrate our graduating eighth graders. The same bell used to ring in the school year is used to ring out the year at this graduation and awards ceremony. Our four church services are important reminders of our heritage at St. George’s.
We hold our annual Field Day at Audubon Park on the first Friday in May. All students in grades 1-8 are placed on one of three teams: Dragons, Spartans or Trojans. Everyone, faculty and staff included, wears his or her team’s colored t-shirt: Dragons in red, Spartans in white and Trojans in blue. Students and faculty rotate through stations earning points for their teams. After a well-earned lunch break and popsicles, the winning team is announced, and everyone is dismissed at 12:30. This is the culmination of two weeks of intense, good-natured rivalry among the three teams. Parents are welcome to attend all or part of Field Day.
One of our longest standing traditions is our weekly assembly time, which is the gathering of the entire school or an individual division on Fridays at 8:15 a.m. for a short presentation either by one of the classes or by a professional off-campus group. Assembly is also a time for athletics, Parents Group, school spirit or other announcements. Parents are always welcome to attend and are encouraged to do so when their child’s class is presenting the program.
Some of our other traditions are lower school Grandparents/Special Friends Day, Thanksgiving Feast, middle school oratory, the fourth grade play, the middle school play, Kindergarten Closing Ceremony, Mother/Son Breakfast, Father/Daughter Breakfast, Mother/Daughter Luncheon, the Middle School Sports Banquet, dress down days, service projects and Knight at City Park. These observances, sacred or secular, serious or fun, are all part of the richness of our school family life.