Housed on Columbus Avenue in the former Sacred Heart-St. Peter School building, St. Martin's opened in 2005 - the first Catholic school to open in the City of New Haven since the 1950's! The Academy is a faith-based, independent school serving children of families of low income throughout Greater New Haven. It is a Catholic school committed to a belief in the dignity and worth of every person.
In a neighborhood where others see poverty, St. Martin's sees possibility! A middle school serving 5th through 8th graders, St. Martin's follows the unique and highly successful Nativity-Miguel model of urban education -- one of 64 such schools in cities across the nation. Its mission is to transform lives through education and opportunity, thus breaking the cycle of poverty in under-served communities.
As its 10th Anniversary year begins, St. Martin de Porres Academy lists these among its many achievements:
· Its school family has grown to 180 with 65 students in middle school, 83 in high school, and 32 pursuing higher education in college, technical school or military service
· It enjoys a 97% attendance rate and 100% graduation rate
· Its graduates have earned over $2 million in scholarship dollars to private high schools and colleges
· With two teaching fellows in each classroom, it offers a 1:9 teacher-student ratio for individualized support
· Its extended day and year program allow opportunities for community engagement with students participating in: sports through partnerships with Yale, Southern Connecticut State University and University of New Haven; service through partnerships with Christian Community Action, Downtown Soup Kitchen and the Catholic Worker; and, a variety of co-curricular clubs such as Peace & Justice, Drama, and chess.
The model is a successful and time-tested one, with the first Nativity school established on the Lower East Side of New York City in 1971 by the Jesuits. The Nativity Mission Center, as it was called, provided their middle school-aged boys with an educational program in which they could excel academically, socially, and spiritually. The extended 10-hour school day almost doubled that of the local public school, a low student-to-teacher ratio ensured time for one-on-one instruction, and a summer academic program extended learning year round. They made a commitment to support their graduates through high school and guide them on to college and a successful future.
The Nativity Mission Center flourished and by the 1980s had attracted the attention of Catholic educators nationwide. Replications followed, creating the Nativity Network of Schools. In 1993, the Christian Brothers opened the first San Miguel School in Providence, Rhode Island. In 2006, these two networks merged to form the Nativity-Miguel Network of Schools, allowing for a more efficient way to lead member schools to excellence in education for the underserved.
All students qualify for admission to St. Martin’s through federal free and reduced lunch guidelines that determine income need, and students attend the school on scholarship. Family participation is one of the core tenets of a Nativity school so it is not unusual to see adults helping to transport students, volunteer around the building and attend required meetings with administration to check in on student progress. Families make a commitment of time and pay a modest monthly activity fee, but 95% of the school’s operating expenses must be raised through other sources such as donations from individuals (55%), corporate and foundation grants (25%), and special events (20%). The school’s success – and that of its students – depends upon the generosity and support of people who believe in the promise of education to break the cycle of poverty.
Following in the example of its patron, St. Martin de Porres, students provide ongoing service in the community as part of their extended day and year schedule. Throughout the year they are active in the Rotary’s Interact Club, and through the Peace & Justice Club may be found at Amistad Catholic Worker, Downtown Evening Soup Kitchen, Christian Community Action or New Haven Home Recovery.
Perhaps the St. Martin’s Honor Code, recited daily during an all-school assembly, best describes the Academy experience as it is lived and professed as school community: “I am a child of God. I will be truthful, honest and respectful. I will work to the best of my ability to develop the gifts and talents God has given me. I will endeavor to share my gifts and talents to make my family, my school and my community a place of justice and peace.”
Please visit the school online at www.saintmartinacademy.org or call 203-772-2424 to arrange a visit and tour.
Student quotes on Social Justice:
“Social justice means making sure that everyone is treated equally and fairly,” says 5th grader Judah.
“Sharing what you have – volunteering time, donating food or clothes -- to make sure that people’s needs are being met. We are all brothers and sisters,” exclaims graduating 8th grader Jason.
“Social justice means reaching out to help people in your community,” states 7th grader Royaunte
“Everyone can work for social justice! When you see something wrong, even if no one else says or does anything about it, you can speak up,” writes 7th grader Gypsy.
OCSJM Congratulates St. Martin de Porres Academy on 10 years of service!