Frequently Asked Questions
We know the search for a school can be an overwhelming process filled with questions. We’ve tried to anticipate many of them to make the process easier, but are happy to address topics that may be of particular interest to your family!
1. How many students attend STA?
Over 250 students are enrolled in preschool through 8th grade.
2. What is the average class size?
In K-8, the average class size is 18 students. We generally limit enrollment to 24 students per class.
We follow NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) recommendations for preschool. An overall ratio of 10-to-1 is maintained with a lead teacher, a second teacher and two assistants.
3. What extra-curricular activities do you offer?
Co-Educational Sports: Flag Football (4th-8th), Basketball (K-8th), Volleyball (5th-8th) and Track (3rd-8th).
After-School Programs: Gospel Choir, Yoga, Guitar and Piano, Science Club, Cooking Club, Acrobatics, Cooking Club, and Chess Club are just a few that have been offered recently. Programs may vary depending on the level of student interest.
4. Do students have to be Catholic to attend STA?
No, we welcome students of all faith backgrounds. As a Catholic school, however, we integrate our faith throughout the day, including daily religion classes. Religion is considered one of the core classes in our students’ curriculum. Students are expected to participate in faith-based activities as part of the overall educational experience.
5. How often do students attend Mass?
Students attend an all-school Mass each week and are encouraged to attend 4 Sunday Family Masses. Special Masses are also celebrated throughout the year, e.g. Ash Wednesday. In addition, STA students have the opportunity to participate in many beautiful Catholic traditions. They may serve as lectors, altar servers and as members of a gospel choir at Mass.
6. What are the school’s hours?
School is in session from 7:45 am – 3:30 pm daily for all grades.
7. Do you offer before and after school care?
Yes, before school care is available from 7:00 am – 7:45 am and after school care from 3:30 pm until 6:00 pm. Costs are currently $1.50 per fifteen minutes of care per child. Any part of 15 minutes is considered a quarter-hour and will be charged accordingly.
8. Do students wear uniforms?
Yes, students in preschool- grade 8 wear uniforms that can be purchased at Martinelli’s in Evergreen Park or Schoolbelles in Bridgeview. Students have the opportunity to dress out of uniform on school spirit days and N.U.T. days (No Uniform Today). Detailed information about STA’s dress code/uniforms is available on the school’s web site and is provided to all registered families.
9. What are student lunches like?
Students may bring lunch from home or purchase a hot lunch provided by the Food Service Professionals Program (FSP). Hot, nutritious, lunches are available each day for participating students. Monthly menus and order forms are distributed to families; lunches are paid for in advance. Depending on their income, families may apply for free or reduced lunch.
10. How much does it cost for a child to attend STA?
Please refer to the tuition/fee payment summary provided in our information packet and on the school’s web site. Compared to other private schools in the area, we think you’ll find STA’s tuition is quite reasonable. We know you’ll find it a valuable investment in your child’s future.
11. Is tuition assistance available?
Any family interested in applying for financial aid must apply through FACTS. STA has a scholarship committee that meets monthly to review applications for aid and award needs-based scholarships. The scholarship committee does not see the names of the applicants when determining awards. Families will be notified via mail about any possible award and must submit the scholarship acceptance letter by the listed deadline. Families applying for financial aid are encouraged to apply early, as we award more scholarships during the spring and early summer.
12. What about fundraising?
Like all private schools, St. Thomas the Apostle utilizes fundraising to help us maintain reasonable tuition rates yet still plan for enhancements to our academic program, building repair and maintenance, and technology upgrades. Families are asked to participate in various fundraising activities of our advancement office: Reach for the STArs annual appeal in the fall and STArry Night, our spring gala. In addition, STA’s Home & School Association occasionally partners with the parish for activities like our annual St. Nicholas Market-Breakfast with Santa event. Fundraisers such as these help build a sense of community throughout St. Thomas the Apostle while supporting improvements to the overall educational program.
13. Are parents welcome at the school?
Parent participation is considered an integral part of the education process at St. Thomas the Apostle. Parent involvement is crucial to creating a positive learning environment for our students. Families are asked to complete 20 service hours each year to ensure the success of the school. Parents have many opportunities from which to choose; in school, at home, and through the Home & School Association. Parents are also invited to meet with the Principal at regularly scheduled morning Coffee Klatches.
14. Where do STA graduates attend high school?
Many of our students continue their education at Catholic high schools including Mount Carmel,
St. Ignatius College Prep, Seton Academy, Mother McCauley Liberal Arts High School, Josephinum Academy, Brother Rice, Fenwick High School, Marist, St. Rita and De La Salle Institute. Others attend selective Chicago public and private high schools such as the Chicago Academy for the Arts.
15. What is the registration process?
Registration packets are available in the main office. Families first submit a formal Application for Admission along with a recent report card, standardized test scores, birth, and if the child is Catholic, Baptismal certificate. After the application has been reviewed and accepted by the school administration we may request that you interview with the principal. Then we will mail a packet detailing the remaining steps including the payment of a registration fee.
More questions? Please call us! We love to tell the story of our extraordinary people and programs!