A Brief History of Notre Dame Primary School
By Elizabeth Scheibl
Tau Volunteer Program
In 1996, Notre Dame Middle School was founded as an all-girls counterpart to Nativity Jesuit Middle School (now called Nativity Jesuit Academy), which was an all-boys middle school at the time. Originally housed in the St. Wenceslaus Parish School Building at 1420 W. Scott St. Notre Dame enrolled 27 fifth and sixth grade girls its first year, with plans to add a grade and twenty students each year.
Many of the students who entered Notre Dame Middle School were behind academically, so Notre Dame Primary School was created to meet the need for a strong education for elementary school students. The co-ed student body would receive a bilingual and bi-literate education to serve the mainly Latino population. Notre Dame Primary School opened its doors in 2012 with two K5 and first grade classes of 20 students each. By 2014, Notre Dame had enrolled 203 students in K5 through fourth grade, necessitating a change of location from the St. Patrick School Parish building at 1115 S. Seventh St. to the former Hmong American Peace Academy (previously St. Lawrence Parish and School until 1999) at 1418 S. Layton Blvd.
At present, there are 225 K4 through third grade students enrolled in Notre Dame Primary School. In 2017, a boys’ middle school program was started with six boys. There are now 49 boys in fourth through sixth grades, with plans to add seventh grade next year. The school is also working on a multi-million dollar expansion project which will greatly increase the size of the current facility to make room for a boys’ middle school campus serving fourth to eighth grade students in addition to the K4 through third grade elementary school. Click here to learn more.