As a family-oriented school, we not only appreciate the partnership we have with our parents. We expect it.
As the new Head of School, it is my great pleasure to welcome you and your child to our St. Andrew School community! St. Andrew is a special place and I feel proud to lead such a strong and promising school. Together with you and your child, we are embarking on a voyage, a voyage in which the journey, the companions we meet along the way, and the destination are of equal importance.
Alongside our full participation in a Classical Catholic curriculum and our WCEA accreditation, the light of our community-centered profile continues to shine. But underpinning these collective successes is the development of every individual in our school, through the strong values that are instilled and the opportunities that students are given to focus, grow, and thrive.
It is indeed when we discover our purpose, our strengths, and what we really enjoy that true fulfillment comes. It must be said that students do not go to school in order to be happy. Being happy is the byproduct of attending a stimulating learning environment that is well-run, healthy, safe, and purposeful. St. Andrew is a place where children are valued, recognized, and heard; a place where they know and feel they can flourish. We sow the seeds of a life of missionary discipleship. Here at St. Andrew, we are laying the foundations in young people to help them develop into responsible, well-rounded, and balanced individuals who leave us equipped with the skills, knowledge, and resilience necessary to face an increasingly complex and challenging world.
We cannot do this alone. As a family-oriented school, we not only appreciate the partnership we have with our parents. We expect it. You desire the best for your child. We share this vision. You have chosen St. Andrew as the school for your precious child, and we do not take for granted the trust you have placed in us.
Welcome to St. Andrew School!
Mr. Doug Tooke
Head of St. Andrew School, Helena MT
Graduates of St. Andrew School are:
St. Andrew School was started in 1996 with grades 2-8, by Mrs. Terry Rose who believed Helena, MT was ready for a Catholic, classical school. The first building to house the school was the First Christian Church, and all the classes were combined with a couple of grades in each. The boys wore white shirts and navy-blue pants, the girls, the same jumpers they wear today (they are indestructible!) with white shirts.
Twenty-five years later, we are still going strong because of the foundation that the school was started on. The Holy Spirit continues to guide us to provide a sound classical and Catholic education for students. The faculty continues to evolve, but the most important lesson we have learned over the years is that this school isn’t great because of one individual or even a team of individuals. This school is great and continues to thrive because God wants it to. This is God’s school and He worked through Terry Rose and others to bring it into being.
As we think about the history of St. Andrew and all that has been accomplished by those before us, from starting the school, to earning accreditation in 2014, to now thinking of expansion, our mission is the same: trust in God, listen to His Word, and seek the Holy Spirit’s guidance. If we do that, the Lord will make sure St. Andrew School continues the legacy that the founders hoped for.
The current school building was purchased in 1998 and has become a sanctuary for our virtuous, enthusiastic and resourceful learners. St. Andrew was and continues to be an independent Catholic school. We are not affiliated with the Diocese of Helena financially. We run the school solely on tuition and donations, and through the grace of God, we have continued to grow because of the generosity of many people throughout the country. The school was considered a “Classical school in the Catholic tradition” because we were not a diocesan school. We do, however, have the support of our local parishes. We operate with the blessing of Bishop Austin Vetter.
The St. Andrew Alumni Association’s goal is to build connections, strengthen unity, and encourage involvement among its members. We seek to foster lifelong support of the St. Andrew School community through scholarships, activities, and events for its alumni, future alumni, and friends, who are forever the Griffins.
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A Catholic and classical education is uncommon in the United States and, thus, a precious gift to a child. As such, our school performs at its best when all enrolled families embrace and champion the Catholic and classical identity, as well as its mission inside and outside of the classroom.
This means that:
Classical education is like a very large museum with many beautiful, wonder-filled rooms that could be studied over a lifetime. It is a long tradition of education that has emphasized the seeking after of truth, goodness, and beauty and the study of the liberal arts and the great books. What are the liberal arts? They are grammar, logic, rhetoric (the verbal arts of the trivium), arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy (the mathematical arts of the quadrivium). This approach to education also includes the study of Latin. The classical approach teaches students how to learn and how to think.
What makes classical education so effective? It is largely because of its approach to how and when students are taught. Regardless of their learning style, children learn in three phases or stages (grammar, logic or dialectic, and rhetoric), known as the trivium.
In the grammar stage (K–6), students are naturally adept at memorizing through songs, chants, and rhymes. If you can get children in this stage to sing or chant something, they will remember it for a lifetime.
In the dialectic or logic stage (grades 7–9), teenage students are naturally more argumentative and begin to question authority and facts. They want to know the “why” of something—the logic behind it. During this stage, students learn reasoning, informal and formal logic, and how to argue with wisdom and eloquence.
The rhetoric stage (grades 10–12) is naturally when students become independent thinkers and communicators. They study and practice rhetoric, which is the art of persuasive speaking and effective writing that pleases and delights the listener. Again, it is this approach to teaching students based on their developmental stage that makes this approach so very effective.
It is precisely this kind of education that has produced countless great leaders, inventors, scientists, writers, philosophers, theologians, physicians, lawyers, artists, and musicians over the centuries. Classical education never really disappeared, but it did diminish starting around 1900 with the advent of progressive education. In an effort to restore this most proven form of education, the K–12 liberal arts tradition has been renewed and expanded again over the last thirty years. More than 500 classical schools (including private and charter schools) have started during that time, and tens of thousands of homeschooling families are educating with the classical approach.
Of course, there are many myths out there about this method of teaching and learning. The four of the most common myths are:
1) It was fine back then, but we need modern education in a modern world.
2) My child is not intelligent enough to attend a classical school.
3) It is too extreme.
4) It is unnecessarily difficult or harsh.
St. Andrew School strives to teach students how to think rather than merely what to think. Our goal is to form within students a “sacramental imagination” that leads them to the Truth in wonder, humility, and a deep respect for the human person, created in the image and likeness of God.
St. Andrew School is fully accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA). WCEA accredits Catholic elementary and secondary schools in nine western states (26 (arch) dioceses) and the US Territory of Guam. WCEA co-accredits and is in partnership with three Regional agencies (WASC, NAAS, NCA CASI) and two private agencies (CAIS and HAIS). WCEA began in 1957 in San Francisco and has a long and successful history of assisting school improvement through the accreditation process.