About St. Mary School

St. Mary School resides on the campus of St. Mary Parish, which is located at the top of Wall Street overlooking historic downtown Janesville. We provide Catholic educational opportunities in a three year old pre-kindergarten, four year old pre-kindergarten, and kindergarten through eighth grade settings under the direction of the Diocese of Madison.

We follow the curriculum standards set forth by the Diocese of Madison, which are consistent with the Wisconsin State Standards in all secular subject areas. The curriculum is kept current through an on-going review process. Special attention is given to problem solving, drawing conclusions, analyzing material and trial and error.  We provide programs which emphasize multi-media resources including a variety of works in print, audio-visual, and technological tools.

Why St. Mary School

St. Mary School aspires to prepare our students to lead successful Catholic/Christian lives by building faith and character, developing talents, and striving for academic excellence.
A St. Mary Student is a Person Who:

  • Realizes the need of God and prayer
  • Makes decisions based on Catholic/Christian beliefs
  • Demonstrates forgiveness
  • Respects self, others, and their environment
  • Evaluates self and sets challenging goals
  • Expands God-given talents and academic potential
  • Accepts responsibility for their choices and actions
  • Asks questions, is not afraid to make mistakes and revise goals
  • Practices good citizenship and service to others
  • Understands and welcomes differences

Our History

St-Mary-Class-of-70'sIn 1876, St. Mary Parish became the second Catholic parish in Janesville as the capacity of St. Patrick Church was no longer able to hold the parishioners of the growing community. The church was built on the corner of Wisconsin and North First Streets (currently East Wall Street). As the population continued to swell, a new St. Mary Church was built on the site of the old building. This new church building was dedicated on June 14, 1902. In 1913, St. Mary School was established in the former church building which had been moved to the corner of Wisconsin Street and Prospect Avenue. Ninety-six students enrolled that first year in which education was offered for first through sixth grades. Two years later, seventh grade was added, followed by eighth grade the very next year. In 1921, ninth grade was added, along with plans to add a high school program once a new building was erected. An adjacent plot of land was purchased for the boys’ playground and for future growth. Substantial and sustained growth by 1919, made it necessary to convert the third floor of the school building, currently being used as the church hall, into additional classroom space.

In 1927 plans were developed to build a new school, and on May 12, 1929, the new school building located at 307 East Wall Street was dedicated. Kindergarten was added in 1930; however, it was abandoned in 1932 when General Motors moved its plant to Kansas City, MO. Enrollment at the school grew from 458 students in 1947 to its peak of 568 students in 1952! That year there were 74 students in grade one alone (all in one room)!

In 1949 the school playground was blacktopped, which was a welcome relief after twenty-two years of gravel. With classes averaging 50 students per grade by 1959, it was decided to renovate one-half of the auditorium into classroom space. Continued overcrowding finally forced St. Mary to eliminate ninth grade. By the 1970’s many Catholic schools faced declining enrollment and imminent closings. Despite its own declining enrollment, St. Mary Parish strongly supported maintaining our beautiful school and their support has been unwavering since.  St. Mary School is now ninety-six years old, still going strong, and committed to excellent academics in a Catholic faith-filled environment.