- Mission Statement
- Vision Statement
- Portrait of an SJA Graduate
- Portrait of an SJA Faculty Member
- Alma Mater
- Leadership (Administrative Team)
- Additional Contact Information
- Handbook Acknowledgment Form
- Personally Identifiable Information
- Custody Information
The mission of St. Joseph’s Academy is to educate young women as responsible and unifying members of the world community. In the spirit and charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph, St. Joseph’s Academy offers opportunities for faith development in the Catholic tradition, academic excellence and personal growth.
St. Joseph’s Academy is a secondary school for girls owned and operated by the Sisters of St. Joseph and staffed by the Sisters and dedicated laypersons. Primarily a college-preparatory school, St. Joseph’s Academy strives for high standards of excellence in its academic program and its religious orientation within the Catholic tradition. The school believes in being responsive to the times while being faithful to the best that tradition has to offer. It affirms the principles of American democracy and especially attempts to foster responsible freedom. By the development of a critical understanding of society and its values, the school hopes to prepare students to serve as responsible citizens who will make positive contributions to society. St. Joseph’s Academy seeks to broaden the perspective of students so that they see themselves as planetary people and stewards of the earth’s resources.
The faculty recognizes parents as the primary educators who extend to and share with the school the responsibility for the education of youth. The home and family are viewed as the basic educational environment where values are communicated and character formation is begun and continued. St. Joseph’s Academy affirms the importance of open lines of communication between parents and educators and sees collaboration as essential.
The Academy values education that is seeking the development of the whole person. It recognizes the importance of the quality of relationships among students, teachers, administration and the staff of the learning community. The faculty is concerned with learning that makes a difference: making for more sensitive living with a greater range, variety and richness because of the underlying confidences of the student in her own self-worth and her ability to live life fully.
The school’s philosophy of education centers on the principle that the student, not the teacher, needs to be the primary agent in the education process. The teacher’s key role is that of organizing and designing effective learning experiences and facilitating the student’s learning. Learning means acquiring both cognitive skills (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation) and affective skills (appreciating, valuing and responding).
The school recognizes that the gospel values Jesus taught and lived are at the heart of its religious orientation and that these Christian values are often at odds with those of society. The faculty affirms the importance of personalizing the Catholic Christian tradition and heritage in an atmosphere of community and service. The school endeavors to assist students in their moral development and in becoming life-affirming, life-loving, life-sharing persons after the model of Jesus.
The program of studies, co-curricular activities, Academic Counseling Center program and total learning environment attempts to respond to the characteristics and needs of students as adolescents in their physical, emotional, intellectual, social, cultural and spiritual development; as members of an affluent society; as young women seeking to form realistic and personally fulfilling career plans within the context of becoming contributing members of society.
St. Joseph’s Academy offers a college-preparatory curriculum which includes the theoretical and practical sciences, the arts and humanities and theology studies. The program of studies is planned to prepare students to continue their education in ways that best suit their needs and talents. A variety of methods and community resources is used in dealing with the various subject areas. The faculty recognizes the importance of both the content of a particular discipline and the processes which provide order, direction and opportunity for active learning. Faculty, parents and students are open to thoughtful experimentation and innovation which promise more effective achievement of educational goals.
Co-curricular activities are provided for the development of interests and talents. Desirable outcomes of such activities are growth in leadership, initiative, responsibility and cooperation. Students are encouraged to use their gifts and abilities not only for their own enjoyment, but also in service to others.
The school’s discipline system is designed to uphold the dignity of the individual, to provide an atmosphere conducive to study and to respect the needs of all members of the school community. What is essential and desirable at all times is that each student assume responsibility for her own actions.
The faculty, parents and students of St. Joseph’s Academy believe that those in the school are both capable of and responsible for creating a life-enhancing environment. They affirm the importance of giving attention to the quality of life for everyone in the school, not just for students, but for all who live there each day. They believe that striving to live the values of Jesus -- love, justice and service -- is truly the way to grow in the art of living.
St. Joseph’s Academy’s history began 154 years ago, shortly after the Civil War. The Sisters of St. Joseph were asked to take over an orphanage that cared for 11 children left parentless by the war. On October 22, 1868, four Sisters arrived by boat from New Orleans. The leader of the group was 21-year-old Mother Albina Thollot from Bourg, France. In less than two weeks, she established a school on what is today Seventh Street and named it St. Joseph’s Academy. In 1869, the school was moved to Fourth and Florida streets.
In 1875, SJA was granted a charter under the laws of the state of Louisiana. In 1877, the Academy had its first graduate: Josephine Bahlinger.
As the Academy continued to grow, Mother Albina realized that new facilities were needed. She bought the property on the corner of Church and Florida streets. The original building was moved to the back of the property and became the orphanage. On the bottom floor, she opened a steam laundry to help raise funds for the new school. The laundry was sold to Kean’s in 1910.
The school Mother Albina built cost $35,000. The first student enrolled was Carrie Elder Gibbens. By 1910, there were 340 students, 39 boarders and 30 orphans.
SJA was accredited by the state of Louisiana in 1926 and achieved membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools in 1931. SJA has been continually accredited by SACS ever since.
Mother Alice Biguenet was named principal of SJA in 1930. At the time, enrollment at the downtown Academy topped 500, and the student body had outgrown the collection of makeshift buildings which served as classrooms. Mother Alice acquired a 15-acre tract on Broussard Street, and in September of 1941, the new St. Joseph’s Academy opened its doors.
In 1947, Mother Alice oversaw the construction of Medaille Hall, and in 1965, she directed the building of the new convent, children’s home, cafeteria and chapel complex. She died shortly before the Sisters moved into the convent, named Mother Alice Hall in her honor. Today, her picture hangs in its lobby.
In 1966, the Sisters appointed lay advisors to serve on the SJA Advisory Board. The SJA Foundation of Baton Rouge was established in 1968, as part of the school’s 100-year celebration.
Kindergarten was closed after the 1969-70 school year, and plans were made to phase out the elementary grades. In 1977, SJA became a high school, educating students in grades 9-12 only.
In 1988, dedication ceremonies marked the completion of the Activity Center and the renovation of the former gym and stage areas into the library and foreign language department.
In 1990, the Sisters dissolved SJA’s Lay Advisory Board and established the SJA Board of Directors, a policy-making board responsible for the viability of the school. Corporate members were charged with ensuring faithfulness to the mission.
In 1991, SJA was named a Blue Ribbon National School of Excellence by the United States Department of Education. The school would be acclaimed as a Blue Ribbon School again in 1996, 2002 and 2016.
SJA’s laptop computer program was introduced in 1998. Wireless internet access was installed campus wide, and construction began on the Irene W. Pennington Science Center, which opened in 1999.
In 2002, SJA was one of three schools in the nation to be recognized by the United States Department of Education for excellence in technology.
The Mission Effectiveness Team (MET) was established in 2003 to ascertain the effectiveness of the SJA mission and ensure a balance between its three pillars of faith development, academic excellence and personal growth. The MET ensures faithfulness to the mission through understanding, planning, assessing, informing, validating and assuming responsibility for the sustainability of St. Joseph’s Academy.
On June 1, 2004, SJA implemented a new president/principal administrative model, with Sister Adele Lambert, CSJ, a 1954 graduate, becoming SJA’s first president and Linda Fryoux Harvison, class of 1966, becoming the first lay principal. The name of the Board of Directors was changed to the SJA School Board; the Corporate Board (comprised of Sisters of St. Joseph) was renamed the SJA Board of Directors.
In August of 2005, the school’s enrollment grew to more than 1,000 students as SJA accepted 250 New Orleans-area students displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Nearly all returned to their homes and schools for the start of the spring 2006 semester.
With the beginning of the 2005-2006 academic year, the Academy began to build upon its fine arts program by adding new electives in the visual and performing arts as a complement to the academic core curriculum. SJA was designated as Baton Rouge’s first Local Historic Landmark by the Metropolitan Council of the City of Baton Rouge and Parish of East Baton Rouge. The school hired its first full-time college advisor.
The SJA Foundation Board was reestablished in 2006. A full-time campus minister was hired for the 2006-2007 school year. SJA was named the winner of the 2007 Outstanding School Team Achievement Award by the Consortium of School Networking.
For the 2007-2008 academic year, SJA moved from Dell laptop computers to Toshiba tablet computers in order to provide more integration of technology into the curriculum. SJA was the 2007-2008 winner of the Southern Quality Ford Cup as the most outstanding overall athletic program in Class 5A. SJA is the first all-girls school to win the competition.
SJA celebrated its 140th anniversary during the 2008-2009 academic year. The Academy also marked the 10th anniversary of its laptop computer program and student-run Help Desk.
In November 2008, SJA announced and kicked off the public phase of the Always the Academy Capital Campaign. The campaign is the significant element of the overall Master Plan, and the goal is to construct an Arts Center to bring even greater balance to SJA’s outstanding core curriculum. The project focuses on providing a superior facility for classes in fine arts, music, dance and drama and commits SJA even more solidly to the mission of educating the whole person.
During the 2009-2010 academic year, renovations to Mother Alice Hall were completed, transforming the Sisters of St. Joseph’s former residence and children’s home into spacious classrooms for theology and visual arts, a cooking lab, sewing lab, art lab and gallery and weight room. The use of Mother Alice Hall is a gift from the Congregation of St. Joseph valued at $6 million.
To honor its patron, St. Joseph, the original Academy building was renamed St. Joseph Hall.
SJA is the recipient of the 2010 Spotlight School Award from the Lausanne Laptop Institute. The award recognizes schools whose laptop/tablet computer programs serve as international models of innovation and expertise.
In June of 2010, SJA rolled out the new Fujitsu T730 tablet computers to students, faculty and staff. The process to select new units began in the fall of 2009.
Following a March 2011 site visit by a Quality Assurance Review Team of the Council on Accreditation and School Improvement, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), SJA will continue as an accredited member. SJA has been continuously accredited by SACS since 1931.
SJA hosted a ground-breaking ceremony for the Academy Arts Center on May 2, 2011. The building, which is anticipated to be complete in August 2012, will house a choral studio, dance studio, black box theater, four large classrooms, lobby and gathering spaces to accommodate SJA’s rapidly expanding visual and performing arts curriculum.
The name of the SJA Development Office was changed to Mission Advancement. The change reflects the Academy’s commitment to ensuring that all work is undertaken in support of the mission of the Sisters of St. Joseph and the school.
Academy President Sister Adele Lambert, CSJ, retired at the end of the 2011-2012 academic year. She became the first president in the school’s history when it moved to the president-principal model of administration in 2004. Jan Rhorer Breen, class of 1969, was named Sr. Adele’s successor. She is the Academy’s first lay president.
The 2012-2013 academic year began with the much-anticipated opening of the Academy Arts Center, a 29,000-square-foot facility that houses SJA’s vibrant visual and performing arts curriculum. A record 804 students were enrolled in an arts elective during the year.
SJA partnered with St. Vincent de Paul during 2013-2014 to help fight hunger in the Baton Rouge community. Over the course of the year, students, faculty and staff provided approximately 5,000 brown bag lunches, called Sticker Sacks, for distribution each Tuesday.
Technology continued to play an integral role in SJA’s educational philosophy. When icy roads closed school for three days in January 2014, SJA held a virtual school day, utilizing a full array of technology tools to enable students to learn from home.
Principal Linda Fryoux Harvison ’66 retired at the end of the 2014-2015 academic year. She became the first lay principal in the Academy’s history in 2004. Dr. Michele Lambert was named Mrs. Harvison’s successor. SJA also welcomed Dr. Jason Hanks as dean of academics.
SJA continued its partnership with St. Vincent de Paul, providing Sticker Sacks each week to help combat hunger in the local community. SJA also joined forces with Catholic High School for a food drive in conjunction with the Challenge Day competition. The two schools collected more than 95,000 pounds of nonperishable food items for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank, drawing Twitter support from talk show host Ellen DeGeneres.
The Andrea Clesi McMakin ’74 STEM Lab was dedicated in June of 2015, and the academic year began with students utilizing the lab to explore cross-curricular, hands-on learning opportunities in the fiends of science, technology, engineering and math. The latest technological tools are incorporated into students’ work, including laser cutters and 19 3D printers. Teachers bring students to the STEM lab to work on projects in all areas of study; the STEM director offers one-to-one help as students bring their projects to fruition.
The 2016-2017 academic year began with the opening of the Innovation and Design Lab, a project-based learning resource for all SJA students. Using the Innovation and Design model, students take an idea from inception to completion. Employing design-based thinking (identify, interpret, ideate, invent, implement, improve), students create possible solutions to problems using the 21st century skill of collaboration, critical thinking, communication and creation. Distinctive qualities include the potential for failure and how students regroup/respond for a solution. Another feature is empathy; projects involve solving a problem in one’s community or world.
SJA was named a National Blue Ribbon School for the fourth time in school history. The Academy was among just 50 private schools in the country to be recognized in 2016 as a National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education. SJA is one of only nine schools in the country to have achieved Blue Ribbon status four times: 1991, 1996, 2002 and 2016.
Stacia Andricain was named principal of St. Joseph's Academy in September 2017. She began her career at SJA in 1996 and became a member of the school's administration in 2002.
Throughout the 2017-2018 academic year, construction continued on the Academy Student Center, which will be dedicated on August 8, 2018, to kick off the year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of SJA’s founding in 1868 by the Sisters of St. Joseph. The state-of-the-art complex will enable SJA to enhance its health and wellness curriculum; expand its intramural athletic program; continue its outstanding interscholastic athletic program; further the wellbeing of each student through exercise, conditioning and learning opportunities focused on healthy lifestyles; and create much-needed space to celebrate masses and other school events with extended families, grandparents and friends.
SJA was the winner of the 12th annual Louisiana High School Online Technology Challenge. SJA has competed in the state-wide event since its inception, and this year marks the first time an Academy team finished first.
The SJA Cheerleaders won the 2018 National High School Cheerleading Championship in the Super Varsity Division.
During 2018-2019, St. Joseph’s Academy celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding in 1868 by the Sisters of St. Joseph. A year’s worth of activities commemorated the milestone year, including the dedication and blessing of the new Academy Student Center; a mass of Thanksgiving to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Sisters in Baton Rouge; a Day of Service for students, alumnae, parents and friends; and a speaker series featuring internationally known author and death penalty opponent Sister Helen Prejean; New York Times bestselling author Laura Schroff; Olympic gold medal-winning gymnast Mary Lou Retton; the Catholic Institute’s Dr. Allen Hunt; and political strategists James Carville and Mary Matalin. The year culminated on April 27, 2019, with the 150th Anniversary Gala at Raising Cane’s River Center.
The Academy was honored as the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award winner by the Greater Baton Rouge Chapter of the Association of Fundraising professionals.
Three hundred-eighty five students took AP courses, with 82.1 percent scoring a 3 or higher on their AP exams to earn college credit. SJA had a record 125 AP Scholar Award winners, including two National AP Scholars.
The fall of 2019 saw the swim team win its ninth consecutive Division I-Class 5A state championship and the cross country team win its fourth consecutive Class 5A state title. The track and field team made history by winning the indoor state championship for the first time in school history (February 2020).
In the spring of 2020, SJA responded to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) and suspended on-campus classes beginning on March 13. All schools across Louisiana remained closed for the remainder of the school year. SJA developed a Continuous Learning Plan in order for students to continue their schoolwork remotely for the fourth quarter. End-of-the-year events and all summer on-campus activities were held remotely or cancelled.
SJA began the 2020-2021 academic year with a hybrid plan of on-campus and online learning. Each student was on campus two days a week and learned remotely two days a week. Wednesdays were at-home work days for students for virtual group collaboration, homework, assignments and Zoom meetings with counselors, teachers and support services personnel.
Aggressive mitigation efforts and a robust approach to environmental cleaning helped keep the Academy community safe, and students returned to five days a week of on-campus learning on September 14. Safety measures and protocols were tightened, and large gatherings were put on hold. SJA used the gift of technology to celebrate schoolwide Liturgies of the Word with virtual ceremonies originating from the school's chapel.
With the start of the spring semester, the administration created strategies to host end-of-the-year events, especially for the senior class of 2021.
SJA began the celebration of the Year of St. Joseph with a virtual Feast of St. Joseph prayer service and food collection for St. Vincent de Paul.
As the 2021-2022 school year began, campus life returned to normal. Social distancing was discontinued, and the mask mandate was lifted. Regular school activities and events were reinstated.
SJA continued the celebration of the Year of St. Joseph through December 8, 2021, and incorporated the Examen into the daily schedule. The entire school community paused at 1:53 each afternoon to pray the Examen, a sharing of the heart which helps us review the day with God, grow in faith and become aware of God's sustaining presence in our everyday lives.
Ground was broken in February on the Student Commons. Completion is anticipated in the fall of 2022.
Standing on a firm foundation of our Catholic faith and traditions,
With arms wide open to the challenges of the world;
Focusing her eyes on the choices and diversity before her,
With ears listening to all sounds, the voices of the needy;
Serving with a compassionate heart, “the dear neighbor.”
With a mind and the discerning spirit that embraces life-long learning in an ever-changing world,
Living as the good steward of Earth, so that “all may be one,”
The journey begun at the Academy in sanctity, joy and action,
The SJA graduate leads her family and community as a “woman for others.”
Embracing the mission of St. Joseph's Academy, the faculty member is grounded in personal integrity and faith, being a role model while striving for excellence in all endeavors.
Welcoming a diversity of learners, serving in "gentleness, joy and peace" while creating a student-centered environment;
Committed to life-long learning, an expert in a chosen discipline of teaching;
Leading in building a community of faith and solidarity with worldwide colleagues, the SJA faculty member reaches out to the "dear neighbor" so that "all may be one."
Lyrics by Cecilia Marks '54 and Margo Kirsch '54; music by Patricia Marks
Lift up your voices to our Alma Mater.
Pledge her your loyalty as long as she may live.
Always remember the spirit and the way
Of Sanctity, Joy and Action,
High fly her banners to the world proclaiming
Immortal standards in colors red and white:
Red for devotion, white for purity.
Imparting her wisdom through the years,
This is SJA.
Jan Rhorer Breen, President
email@example.com; (225) 388-2210
The president, as a representative of the Congregation of St. Joseph, articulates the mission and ensures the charism is alive in the school. The president gives direction to the Board of Directors and the SJA Foundation Board as well as oversees the fiscal administration of the Academy and the investments. The president partners with Facilities, Communications, Finance and Mission Advancement and represents the Academy to its various publics.
Stacia Bordelon Andricain, Principal
firstname.lastname@example.org; (225) 388-2217
The primary duty of the principal is to effect a community environment in which the mission of the school can be realized. The Principal is responsible for all aspects of school management and is invested with the authority to require that all goals, programs and objectives are in harmony with the mission, philosophy, policies and traditions of SJA.
As the primary representative of SJA, the principal is the academic leader of the school community; provides leadership in developing and interpreting the mission, philosophy and objectives of the school with faculty, staff, parents and students; maintains a constant presence to the school community by interacting regularly with students, faculty, staff and parents; and works with the Administrative Team to facilitate the day-to-day operation of the school.
Aubrey DeJohn, Dean of Academics
email@example.com; (225) 388-2269
The dean of academics, working in collaboration with the principal and dean of curriculum and instruction, directs the academic progress of the school and evaluates students' academic progress with the Counseling Center. She works in collaboration with the Counseling Center, admissions director and registrar on student scheduling and works in collaboration with the principal to hire new faculty members. The dean works to implement the academic policies as outlined in the School and Faculty/Staff handbooks.
Aimee Wiles Urdiales, Dean of Curriculum and Instruction
firstname.lastname@example.org; (225) 388-2215
In collaboration with the principal and dean of academics, the dean of curriculum and instruction provides leadership and vision in the ongoing planning, implementation, development and evaluation of the school's curriculum. She works to ensure that the school's educational objectives are aligned with the school's mission, accreditation, standards and practices to yield the highest standards of student achievement and instructional excellence.
Christina Myles, Dean of Women
email@example.com; (225) 388-2278
The dean of women is responsible for discipline. She administers the discipline system adopted by the school to work with students in a fair and caring manner, correcting students’ behavior in how they are to relate to one another and how they represent themselves and the school.
For additional information about various aspects of campus life, please contact the following staff members. A complete faculty/staff directory is available under the About section on our website.
Ellen Frazier, College Advisor (J-Z)
firstname.lastname@example.org; (225) 388-2251
Mindy Brodhead Averitt, Communications Director
email@example.com; (225) 388-2258
The Counseling Center
Allison Hipwell Bruton, M.Ed., Director
firstname.lastname@example.org; (225) 388-2299
Sharon Cashio, Technology Operations Manager
email@example.com; (225) 388-2246
Pastoral Care/Mission Integration
Sister Chris Pologa, Pastoral Care Minister/Mission Integration
firstname.lastname@example.org; (225) 388-2202
Chelsea Colomb '07
email@example.com; (225) 388-2255
firstname.lastname@example.org; (225) 388-2347
The School Handbook for Parents and Students is being provided to communicate pertinent information about your school. It is your responsibility to read this handbook and to be informed of its contents. Signing and returning the Handbook Acknowledgment Form on MySJA ensures that you have read the handbook and agree to follow and uphold the policies and practices of St. Joseph’s Academy. Your signature also grants permission for your daughter’s photograph, video image, name and/or interview answers to be used for publicity purposes, on the SJA website, in Academy-produced publications and in various SJA and external media outlets, including social media platforms. (See the Communications section of this handbook for complete policy.)
Failure to abide by the regulations and policies of the school handbook by either the student or the parent/guardian may result in the student’s removal from school.
The School Handbook can be amended at any time during the school year. Students will be notified of changes via email; parents will be notified via the Parents Newsletter. Final interpretation of all items is determined by the administration.
The Handbook Acknowledgment Form must be completed and submitted using MySJA by Wednesday, August 10, 2022. If you experience issues with this form, please contact Stacy Rennhoff at email@example.com or (225) 388-2236.
As a non-public school, SJA is not required to abide by the state law which requires parents to make an election at the beginning of each year as to whether you grant or deny consent for this school to collect your child’s Personally Identifiable Information (PII) and disclose it to the Louisiana Office of Student Financial Assistance (LOSFA) for TOPS and other financial aid or to the state’s colleges and universities (institutions) for admissions. We will share this information unless you request through your daughter’s grade-level counselor that it be withheld.
St. Joseph's Academy abides by the provisions of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) with respect to the rights of parents and, in the event of divorce, the rights of custodial and noncustodial parents. In the latter case, absent a court order to the contrary, the school will provide the noncustodial parent access to academic records and other school-related information regarding the student. If there is a court order specifying that no information is to be given, it is the responsibility of the custodial parent to provide the school with a copy of the court order. We do not need the complete court order, only the portion dealing with custody. Please direct questions to the Principal.
Continue to the Faith Development section of the Handbook.
Continue to the Academic Excellence section of the Handbook.
Continue to the Personal Growth section of the Handbook.