St. Mary Mission
St. Mary Interparochial School challenges its diverse student body to grow morally, academically and socially, into passionate, confident and Christ-centered leaders of the 21st century.
Our program is grounded in the light of our Catholic faith. St. Mary children and their families daily embrace the Gospel values of our faith not only through their service to the community, but also in their support of one another. We welcome families of varying religious traditions as we are all connected by our common values.
St. Mary’s maintains a rigorous curriculum. Our students consistently achieve the highest standardized test scores among schools in our region, and qualify for placement in the area’s highest achieving schools. St. Mary alumni have gone on to distinguish themselves as scholars and citizens, making a difference in their communities and serving as role models for the entire student body.
The children and their families enthusiastically answer the call to service by organizing food drives, visiting the elderly and disabled, and attending fundraisers for their school community. We build a strong sense of civic awareness in the context of our historic location.
Saint Mary Interparochial School admits students of any race, color, religion, and national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students of the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, or athletic and other school-administered programs.
St. Mary At a Glance
St. Mary Interparochial School is situated in Independence National Park and serves children from all over the City of Philadelphia and its suburbs.
We are a 2016 and 2023 National Blue Ribbon School, Exemplary High Performing School, and rated 10/10 by greatphillyschools.org, achieving top standardized test scores among city schools.
St. Mary Interparochial School is a fiscally Independent Elementary School of the Archdiocese and is Accredited by Middle States Association.
In the PDF below, you can find a brief review of some information regarding the makeup of our student community as well as our demographics and school highlights.
St. Mary is a close-knit, caring family that grows together in spiritual and academic pursuits.
Our logo reflects these perceptions and is a synthesis of three main ideas that grow together as one:
The Heart is one of the most famous religious symbols of the unmitigated love, compassion, and long-suffering of the sacred heart of Christ toward humanity. The heart also represents the love, respect and passion of the St. Mary community of families as we grow together in the heart of the City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love.
The Rose is a frequent symbol for the Virgin Mary, who is often called a “rose without thorns” since she was free of original sin. The five petals represent several things at once: the five joys of Mary, the five letters in her name Maria, and also the five wounds of Christ. The rose also represents the faith that is nurtured to bloom in our children.
The Book represents the St. Mary educational experience provided through the religious teachings of the faith, and the academic, social and scholarly disciplines of our school curriculum.
The rich academic and historic heritage of St. Mary Interparochial School dates to the early days of Philadelphia, as Catholics and Protestants engaged in a spirited debate over educational practices. Founded in 1782 by the Jesuit fathers of Old St. Joseph’s Church, St. Mary is known as “The Mother School of Catholic parochial education” and is credited with influencing catholic educational patterns in this country.
Situated in Independence National Historical Park, St. Mary is within walking distance to several key sites pivotal to our nation’s founding, including Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Carpenter’s Hall, the First Bank and Washington Square, the location of the Tomb of the Unknown Revolutionary War Soldier. St. Mary served children from the early days of Philadelphia for more than a century before closing in 1902 after a devastating fire. In 1968, the school was re-opened by the Sisters of Notre Dame to serve a growing and diverse population of young students from all parts of Philadelphia. The school’s historic associations extend to its parish churches as well. St. Mary was originally the official parish school for Old St. Mary’s Church, Old St. Joseph’s Church and Holy Trinity Church, however, today it receives its unique inter-parochial status by receiving students from parishes citywide in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and its surrounding suburbs.
The designers of St. Mary Interparochial School devoted special attention to the stained-glass doors that welcome all who enter this sanctuary of learning and spirituality. Created in rich colors, the doors depict two intertwined themes: Our nation’s fight for independence and our city’s distinction as an oasis of religious freedom.
Look closely, and you will see depictions of the symbolic “Freedom Ship,” the British occupation of the city, and the Stars and Stripes. Founding fathers George Washington and John Adams, as well as famous figures from Philadelphia’s religious history, are shown as well. Several crosses memorialize the 667 victims of the tragic yellow fever epidemic of 1793 who are buried beneath the current school building. The many religious sisters who dedicated themselves to the care and education of Philadelphia’s children are represented as well, including Philadelphia native St. Katharine Drexel.
At the dedication of St. Mary Interparochial School in 1970, the doors were said to “cast their light upon the children and nuns and speak in a rich variety of color, uniting the entire school in the beauty of holiness. They are beautiful but not dramatic. They portray the message of the faith."