Sts. Peter and Paul Academy
Sts. Peter and Paul Academy is a private, Catholic Elementary School located in the Valley of Reading, Ohio and we have a story to tell about how faith, prayer, hard work and perseverance can lead to a whole new world; a whole new school.
People in the valley are aware of the closing of the former Sts. Peter and Paul Elementary School and its history. After 154 years of tradition, the school closed its doors on June 1, 2007. After much sacrifice and hard work by a group of about 75 Founders, Sts. Peter and Paul Academy opened its doors for the first day of school on August 22, 2007.
Beginning in October 2006, the “Founders” set out to try to SAVE the original school by raising money. The Save Our School (SOS) Committee immediately started meeting every Thursday night after Thanksgiving. Prior to every meeting, a dedicated group prayed the Rosary asking Mary, the Blessed Mother, to intercede. The first SOS fundraising letter went out on November 20, 2006.
Donations were slow to trickle in. Realizing that small fundraising efforts were not enough, a most generous donation from the heart arrived from Gerry and Bonnie Rack. “This was the story of a Vietnam Vet, a young Army mechanic named Gerry. He wrote letters home to himself saying that if he made it home alive, he would buy himself a Corvette. He made it home to Reading, Ohio, and worked and saved for four years before being able to purchase a one-owner used 1966 Corvette in 1973. This was more than just a car to Gerry. It was a part of his life and history, his pride and joy. There were less than 79,000 miles on the car- the only time he usually took it out was to drive in the city’s local Memorial Day parade.”
As one Founder said, “He has given us a lifeboat to hang onto in this storm that could destroy our little school…” At this point they knew God was inspiring the group to keep the faith and continue their journey.
With the donation of the 1966 Corvette, the media started picking up on the will of this group to keep Sts. Peter and Paul School open. On December 14th, an article was written by the Cincinnati Enquirer and featured the 1966 Corvette to help raise the needed money. Immediately this story was picked up by the AP Wire and went across the United States. Money started coming in from ticket sales as far away as Columbus, Cleveland, Omaha, Arizona, New York, and Hawaii. Corvette Clubs found out about the raffle and their websites around the nation also linked up and advertised the Corvette drawing. Tickets sales looked like it would be enough to save the school from closing, yet in January of 2007 the Archdiocese still decided to close the original school.
After much prayer and research, it was decided that a private, independent Catholic School was the answer for the type of school that needed to be in the valley of Reading keeping Catholic Education as an option for the local community.
To become a non-public chartered school, two of our representatives had to attend a seminar by the Ohio Department of Education. A call was placed and there was available space due to a recent cancellation.
At times the leaders considered giving up. However, the Chairman of the Board from Mother Teresa School came to an Academy meeting just at a critical juncture and spoke of the effort it takes to open a private school, emphasized that it is worth the hard work, and stated that it was the most important thing he had ever done. It would take a Leap of Faith to keep this important mission going but it is worth the effort.
People were encouraged and continued to pray. Paperwork for the Ohio Department of Education was completed, a vacant school building was located, and Sts. Peter and Paul became a reality. The building was going to need a lot of work if it had to be ready for the 2007-2008 school year. Against all odds, miracle after miracle happened to make the new school a reality in only 4 short months. The media began calling Sts. Peter and Paul Academy, “The Miracle on Clark Road”.
In October 2010, the Board of Directors and the families at the Academy had raised enough money through fundraising, endowment funds, and loans to purchase the building. A new roof was installed and the original heating system was systematically renewed with cleaning, oiling, and replacement of parts. All the doors had to be rekeyed, new tile was installed throughout the building, the gym floor was sanded and refurbished complete with the Chargers logo painted on the floor.
Once a public elementary school, the building has now been transformed into a Catholic elementary school with Catholic artifacts everywhere including a student made cross on the wall in the gymnasium where Mass is now held. Masses have been said at the Academy by Archbishop Pilarczyk, Archbishop Schnurr and Auxiliary Bishop Joseph Binzer.
”The Miracle on Clark Road” is beginning its 9th year. Children who started here in Kindergarten are now going to be graduating after completing their entire elementary years at SPPA. What a testament to the Spirit of the Community and to the Power of Faith.
Enrollment at Sts. Peter and Paul Academy for 2007-2008 was 95 students with approximately 98% being Catholic. That number has increased over time, still keeping our class sizes small.
Tuition since the opening of Sts. Peter and Paul Academy has had to change to meet increasing financial needs as is the case with any school. However, SPPA strives to keep tuition at a rate that is allows families to opportunity to educate their children in the Catholic faith.
Classroom structure has changed since the opening of the Academy. The first year of operation, 2007-2008, combined classes included; second/third, fifth/sixth, and seventh/eighth. For the 2008-2009 school year third/fourth and seventh/eighth grades were combined. For the 2009-2010 school year, the fourth/fifth grades and seventh/eighth grades were combined. In 2012 all classes became individual classes with a fully licensed faculty member for each class.
Students attending Sts. Peter and Paul Academy come from the following school districts: Princeton City Schools, St. Bernard/Winton Hills, Cincinnati Public School District, Deer Park Community Schools, Fairfield City Schools, Reading City Schools, and Lockland Schools.
Volunteering is an essential component of Sts. Peter and Paul Academy. Our parents spend a minimum of 30 hours per year serving our school. Volunteer activities include cleaning the school building, serving hot lunches to students, operating the Scholastic Book Fairs, caring for the library, and many other important activities that benefit the school.
The Parent’s Club is instrumental in providing volunteer opportunities through enrichment activities and rewards for the students. Parent’s Club raises money for transportation to various field trips, Mardi Gras celebration, and gym uniforms for each child just to name a few commitments.
We also have a number of people who serve as volunteer teachers in their fields of education. Our faculty is comprised of the following:
9 full-time teachers
2 part-time teacher
1 full time Educational Aide
12 volunteers filling important positions in:
Art, Physical Education, Computer Technology, the Library and 7th/8th grade Religion.
3 Support services teachers which include a Speech/Language Therapist, an Instructional Tutor, and an Intervention Specialist, all holding a Masters Degrees in their field of expertise.
Assessments are used at Sts. Peter and Paul Academy to gage student achievement and teacher effectiveness. The Academy gives the IOWA assessments to check academic levels in grades two through 8 and the ACRE assessment to measure religious education competency in grades five and eight. Ed Choice students also participate in all state mandated testing each year.
Students at Sts. Peter and Paul Academy reside mostly in the communities of Reading, Lockland, and Arlington Heights. The median income for these communities is $35,000 ranging from $28,000 to $39,000.
Residents from the communities of Reading and Lockland comprise the majority of the families whose children attend the Academy. Reading is approximately 95% caucasian and 3% African American with 10% having obtained a Bachelor’s degree and 5% having obtained a graduate or professional degree. Lockland and the surrounding area are made up of 71% white and 27% African American with 6% holding a Bachelor’s degree and 2% holding a graduate degree.
Sts. Peter and Paul Academy Family Background Information
Sixty percent of the enrollment at Sts. Peter and Paul Academy is comprised of students from traditional two-parent households. Thirty-nine percent of our students live in a blended, split, or single family household. One percent of our students live with a guardian.
Eighty nine percent of our students are Catholic. Four percent of our students are Christian, and four percent are non-denominational. One percent of our students are Methodist, one percent is Baptist, and one percent is Protestant.
The majority of the parents of our Sts. Peter and Paul students are Catholic. Other faiths represented include Christian, Methodist, Non-Denominational, Baptist, Protestant, Interdenominational, Lutheran, and Muslim.
Approximately fifty percent of Sts. Peter and Paul Academy’s student population are at or below the United States low income guidelines. This demonstrates the strong commitment of our families to provide a faith-based education to their children.
Enrichment opportunities are offered to our children as a matter of routine practice. The Academy is devoted to developing the whole child through academics, morning prayer, Mass planning, after school activities, faith enrichment activities, study club, and much more. The students begin their day in the gathering space with DIRT (Daily Individual Reading Time). After 15 minutes of reading, the day officially begins with a student leading the whole school in morning prayer. This is followed with another student leading the pledge, celebration of birthdays, and announcements before they are released to their classes.
Each year during Lent our students read and act out the 14 Stations of the Cross. There is variation in how the program is set up each year, but the entire scene is acted out by the students. Masses are planned by the students with teacher guidance. Students welcome everyone to Mass, do the readings, present the gifts, and act as servers and Eucharistic ministers once they are trained.
Sts. Peter and Paul Academy is dedicated to providing an exemplary, Catholic elementary education for all of our children. The student’s educational experiences are based on the Gospel values, calling the children to utilize their God-given talents and gifts, which in turn will lead to a life of serving others within our society.
That each of our students comes to know the person and message of Jesus Christ and the teachings and traditions of the Catholic Church. This message begins at home, and is reinforced as an ongoing process which is taught, modeled, and celebrated in our school.
That each student is encouraged and supported to reach their fullest potential, empowering them to become independent, lifelong learners basing their decisions on Christian values.
That all people possess unique gifts and are worthy of being treated with respect and dignity and are valued as a creation of God.
That each child has their own unique learning style which needs to be identified, explored and developed within the academic environment.
That instruction and academic testing will meet the individual learning styles of each child in order that they achieve their own level of success within the classroom.
Sts. Peter and Paul Academy students strive for academic excellence. They approach their studies with utmost personal effort. Each child’s individual needs and learning style will be acknowledged to ensure the success of all children.
Our children have experiences every day to develop them spiritually, to be faithful to themselves and others, and to become the best they can be. The students experience firsthand the joy of giving back to their Church and surrounding community through various volunteer opportunities.
Our graduates are the future.