Student Life

Our student body is a family of faith.

St. James students grow in academic excellence in an environment rich with Catholic virtue. Our caring and supportive staff provide a rigorous curriculum with opportunities for extracurricular activities and service work.


At St. James School we guide our students to form an authentic relationship with Christ and a true sense of discipleship. Our Catholic faith is present in all that we do in the classroom and as a school community.

  • Daily religion classes help students engage with the history, tenets, and social teachings of the Catholic church.
  • Students in K-8 plan and lead all-school masses which is an integral component of the St. James experience.
  • Prayer Buddy activities give middle school students opportunities to serve as mentors to primary students in faith-based projects and service.
  • Middle School students are invited to start their day with a weekly Bible study before school.
  • Students fully prepare for and receive the sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Holy Communion, and Confirmation.
  • Students participate in Catholic traditions such as praying the rosary, Stations of the Cross, Eucharistic Adoration, and Reconciliation.
  • Religious Retreats draw students closer to their faith, deepening their relationships with each other and Christ.
  • Service opportunities are made available for students to spend their time and talents helping others.


Specials are classes that take place during the day, but provide an enriching classroom experience beyond the typical core subjects.


  • Grades 1-8 have weekly art class with many opportunities to create visual artwork using a variety of art mediums and techniques
  • Students develop motor, social, risk-taking, and critical thinking skills through art expression, knowledge, and visual literacy
  • Students gain perspective by studying the work of artists past and present


  • General music offered to PK-8th Grade developing motor skills, language development, self-confidence, visual learning, cultural awareness, and academic performance
  • Development of music skills and knowledge through body movement, playing percussion instruments, singing to a steady beat, sight reading, studying composers, music genres, theory, melody, and rhythm
  • Incorporating iPad Music Technology allows students to branch out into audio/visual projects, better help with technical aspects of the theater program, and prepare them for advanced music classes in high school
  • Music performances include our Christmas concert, end of year concert, and the traditional 8th grade May Crowning and graduation performance
  • Third graders explore instrument interest and potential with instruction on recorders


  • Spanish is considered a core subject in Junior High and is a full class period, 5 days a week
  • Spanish Club is offered every week
  • Students make connections with hispanic culture and their own faith through celebration of Día de los Muertos, All Saints/Souls Day, and a yearly bilingual all-school mass
  • Many students enter into their freshman year in Spanish 2

Physical Education

  • PreK through grade 5 has PE bi-weekly, 6th-8th has daily PE
  • PreK & Kindergarten practices locomotor skills, personal space, taking turns, and following directions through low-organized games and parachute play
  • Grades 1-4 play low-organized games with different skill sets emphasizing sportsmanship, active participation, and Christlike feedback to teammates
  • Grades 5-8 units include skill acquisition, promotion of fitness, decision making, and safe social interaction
  • PE Enrichments: Downhill Ski Trip (7&8); Ballroom dancing (8); Bowling trip (5-8); and Golf trip-par 3 course (7&8)


  • All students in Pk – 8th grade visit the library regularly. All students are able to borrow materials from the library and learn to be responsible for returning books on time.
  • Library curriculum includes:
    • Book selection and care and genre exploration
    • Digital research
    • Holiday/national days
    • Digital citizenship
  • Students learn to locate books using the Destiny Discover database, recognize call numbers, and learn the Dewey Decimal System.
  • Library highlights include the Battle of the Books (grades 3-8) and the Catholic Schools Week Book Fair co-hosted by the library and our FSA.


  • Our one-to-one iPad program allows for technology integration in context at all grade levels. Students incorporate the use of technology as a learning and assessment tool.
  • A priority on technology balance is placed in grades K-5, while the junior high emphasizes technology use for engaged learning and high school preparation.
  • All grades receive age-appropriate instruction and project-based learning and assessments on the topics of digital citizenship, keyboarding, coding, document creation, and presentation skills.
  • Google Workspace for Education provides the platform for hands-on project work involving documents, slide presentations, forms, and spreadsheets.
  • Additional multimedia applications offer opportunities for optimum student engagement and creativity for:
    • Poem publishing
    • Video Presentations
    • Website Design
    • Newspaper Publishing
    • Stop-Motion Videos
    • GIF Creation
    • Graphical Analysis
    • Green Screen Technology


  • Our new STEM Lab exceeds the curiosities of even the most tech-savvy student. With a curriculum that is designed to meet Standards for Common Core, College and Career Readiness, NGSS, ISTE, and CSTA, students rotate through learning stations where each engagement is a new experience.
  • Our students will be critically thinking, creatively solving problems, and collaborating for success! Our Smart Lab, equipped with a variety of engaging educational technology, will be visited once per week by all K-8 students.
  • Students will experience
    • Circuitry
    • Digital illustrations
    • Animation
    • Coding
    • Robotics
    • Simple machines
    • Engineering design
    • 3D printing
    • Renewable energy


Co-curriculars are clubs or activities that supplement classroom learning and occur outside of regular class time.

Bulldog Chorus

St. James School’s student choir is open to students in 2nd through 4th grade. This group of singers performs at Pep Rallies, School Mass, and the Variety Show. By developing musical skills and performing in public, the students acquire poise, increased self-esteem, and an understanding that discipline and hard work bring rewards.

School Music Ministry

Student Cantors & Instrumentalists

Students in grades 6-8 are invited to cantor at our school mass. Students will prepare for masses with the guidance of the music teacher before school and meet with the music teacher prior to school mass to review music. Students are also welcome to audition to play instruments and be included in leading the student congregation in song.

Slide Squad

Students interested in serving with the music ministry during mass can offer to provide technical support as a slide operator. Students on our slide squad follow along with the mass to offer lyrics to the congregation.

Broadway Bulldogs

The Broadway Bulldogs is our junior high theater group bringing musical productions to the stage each winter. The overall production is led by talented parent volunteers. Students in grades 6-8 are invited annually to be part of the production. Students can audition to be in the show or assist with stage crew or lighting and tech. No student is turned away! Those involved develop a wide range of skills as well as friendships and lifelong memories as they display their talent on the St. James stage.


Our band program is open to students beginning in 4th Grade.

  • Students are provided with individual and group instruction to take them from being beginners on their instrument, working at finding notes and rhythms, to being full-contributing members of a band ensemble.
  • Students perform in concert three times per year for both school and parent audiences. Additional opportunities evolve through the program, allowing students to further develop their musical talent and showcase their progress.
  • Students have performed during the Arlington Heights Memorial Day parade, for residents at the Lutheran Home and Village, during school masses with music ministry, and also as the “bucket band” during our annual variety show providing lively, heart-thumping music.
  • Our band program consists of a Beginner Band (4th Grade), Junior Band (5th Grade), Senior Band (Junior High), and Jazz Band (5th-8th Grade).


The Saint James Athletic Program teaches and encourages Christian values as it promotes physical development, athletic skill, team camaraderie, good sportsmanship, and school spirit. Any student in grades 5-8 may participate in SJS athletics. All sports are non-cut rosters and if we have sufficient numbers, we enter two teams for some sports in order to accommodate all of the student athletes.

For the majority of sports, SJS competes in the Northwest Catholic Conference (NWCC).

Poms Girls, grade 4 & 5 Fall/Winter Perform at school events & basketball games
Volleyball Girls, grade 5-8 Fall
Cross Country CoEd, grade 5-8 Fall JV (5th/6th), Varsity (7th/8th)
Soccer CoEd, grade 5-8 Fall North Shore Catholic School Soccer League
Basketball Boys, grade 5-8 Winter
Basketball Girls, grade 5-8 Winter
Track & Field CoEd, grade 5-8 Spring JV (5th/6th), Varsity (7th/8th)
Softball Girls, grade 5-8 Spring JV (5th/6th), Varsity (7th/8th)
Volleyball Boys, grade 5-8 Spring


As a ministry of our parish, our school echoes the mission to “Be disciples of Christ and Make Disciples of Christ.” Providing service to others is discipleship in action and our students experience the joy of serving others in various capacities.

  • Opportunities to serve are offered during Mass as altar servers, lectors, gift bearers, and musicians.
  • Opportunities to serve within our school community are offered through class jobs within each homeroom, Bulldog Buddies, our homework helper program, and our Student Leadership program.
  • Service opportunities for our neighbors and community are offered through special events and Catholic Schools Week projects for non-profit organizations such as Arlington Cares, Sock’N It To Cancer, Help USA Troops, Rush Road Home, Toys for Tots, Sandwich Ministry, Lutheran Home and Village, PADS, and Bernie’s Book Bank.


At St. James School, we pride ourselves in creating an inclusive learning environment for all students.

  • Our Student Services program provides support to students who are eligible for an IEP or a 504 Plan (Accommodation Plans). Student Success Plans are written for qualifying students. These plans document specific accommodations and goals targeted to meet each individual student’s classroom needs. Special education teachers collaborate with general education teachers to implement these plans.
  • We have several Learning Behavior Specialists and teaching assistants who provide our diverse learners academic and behavioral support in small group resource classes and in our inclusive general education settings. Teachers use evidence and researched-based instructional methods and materials to optimize student growth.