A Brief History of St. Joseph School
St. Joseph Catholic School was dedicated in February 1891. In 1899 the Sisters of the Most Precious Blood from O'Fallon, Missouri served as teachers in the school. Children living in the county boarded with the Sisters to receive their religious education. The first record of the four-year high school was in 1920. It became fully accredited in Missouri on May 16, 1924. This was also the date of the first graduating class of four students. The Sisters of the Order of St. Benedict of Atchison, Kansas came to St. Joseph Parish in 1938. They resided in the school until property was purchased and properly remodeled for the Sisters’ residence. During the next twenty years, enrollment increased dramatically. The need for more classroom space became a necessity.
The decision was made to build a new school building north of the original building. Parishioners raised funds necessary to erect the present school building and construction began. The new grade school, which consisted of four large classrooms, a gymnasium, and a kitchen, was dedicated on October 6, 1957. An all-brick addition, attached to the south side of the gymnasium, was constructed in 1964-65. This addition contained six classrooms, locker rooms, and administrative offices. By 1970, enrollment was approximately 140 students in the high school and 170 in the elementary school. Unfortunately, the high school closed in 1971. St. Joseph Catholic School continued to service students in grades one through eight. The kindergarten, which had once been discontinued, was reopened in 1980 and continues to this day. In 2019-2020, a 3-4 Preschool program was opened with the ability to service 20 students. During that same school year, a new junior high addition was added on to the school building.
St. Joseph Catholic School provides spiritual, intellectual, social and moral development which enables students to grow and flourish in all aspects of life. The spiritual development program is very strong with Mass three times a week, and the involvement of the pastor in the religious education program. A variety of extracurricular activities are available to students including academic, music, and athletic options. St. Joseph Catholic School serves as a vital part of the parish and the Salisbury community. Many caring individuals donate their time, talent, and treasure to ensure the continuation of Catholic education. The faith and dedication of these caring individuals has made the school’s longevity possible.
Salisbury is a rural community that has experienced decreased population and industry over the past few years. Even though many of the school families have experienced financial difficulty, the greater community has pulled together to ensure the students are able to continue to attend St. Joseph Catholic School.
Since the last self-study, St. Joseph Catholic School and Parish have worked hard to make improvements to both the physical plant and the academic program. Physical plant improvements include a new junior high addition, and the addition of a preschool playground. The improvements create more usable space and ensure increased supervision and safety for students. The school continues to provide up-to-date curricular materials as needed to ensure academic excellence including wireless connections, tablets, Chrome books, electronic devices, and Promethium Boards.
St. Joseph has been fortunate to have a great deal of stability in the parish and school. Many of our students sit in the same rooms where their parents and grandparents sat before them. There is a strong tradition of Catholic education at St. Joseph, producing many community leaders who give back to their roots.
St. Joseph School continues to work to preserve and enhance the building and education environment. The school has a strong academic reputation and produces graduates that go on to high school and beyond to be leaders. The current alumni are very well represented in our high school both academically and in extracurricular activities. In addition to regularly earning top honors at Salisbury High School, St. Joseph grads continue to earn top honors in college as well, with many being listed on the Dean’s List at their colleges.
Students integrate and experience their faith in many ways, participating in many mission projects throughout the year. The students are active in the community by raising funds and participating in drives for local charities.
Future plans include expansion of professional development opportunities, expanded recruitment of students, continued efforts to boost financial support and parish engagement through the Stewardship renewal process, continued maintenance of the physical plant, and increased parental engagement and education.
Through shared prayer, worship, service, a dedicated staff, and parental involvement, the school hopes to continue our service to God, the parish community, and to Salisbury itself.