skip to Main Content

history

On January 6, 1906, St. Stanislaus School opened its doors for the first time. The school was established by the community of St. Stanislaus Parish, under the leadership of Reverend Peter Basinski, with the purpose of educating first and second generation Polish immigrants. Sisters from the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Felix of Cantalice (Felician Sisters) would staff the four-room schoolhouse. Instruction was bilingual, in order to preserve the Polish language and customs. The initial enrollment of seventy students rapidly increased. The system of multiage classrooms was developed as a means of accommodating all the grade levels within the building’s structure. Originally, the early childhood classes (K, 1, 2) were in one classroom. The other three rooms accommodated two grades each. In 1967, a new school was built. It contained five classrooms, a multi- purpose hall, and a kitchen, all on one level. The fifth classroom housed a self-contained Kindergarten. The other classrooms were multiage.

In 1985, the Felician Sisters terminated their services due to lack of vocations. Their more than 75 years of presence in the parish community were marked by a singular dedication, which is still remembered by their former students. Over the course of their last years, the teaching staff gradually changed as religious women were replaced by lay professionals. This gradual transformation, and the fact that many of the teachers, as well as the first lay principal, were parishioners, enabled continuity in the mission of the school. As patterns of immigration changed, the school was transformed from being a Polish school to being a school of Polish tradition. This tradition is still treasured today, and is characterized by a Slavic spirituality which, through its devotion to Mary under her title of Our Lady of Czestochowa, guides each of us to follow her example of prayerful listening and joyful response to God’s call. On April 21, 1991, a major fire destroyed the St. Stanislaus Church building. After much deliberation by the Diocese, it was determined that our parish would remain intact. However, the new worship space would have to be built on the school property, which was located across the street from the now-condemned church structure. Plans were drawn up that would transform the multi-purpose hall into the parish worship space. The plans also included the addition of a second floor to the school and the building of a new multi-purpose hall with a basement. While construction was in progress, St. Stanislaus School held classes in the former St. Patrick School. The new building was dedicated on November 29, 1993. In keeping with Polish tradition, each grade level was dedicated to a Polish saint. A new grade level, preschool, was added. A major feature of the new building was the physical connection of the school and the church, enabling the school community to use the church for communal prayer in all seasons. Four years after the dedication, it was determined that the small computer lab on the second floor had become outdated. A new computer lab/library was built in the basement. Two years later, it was apparent that both the first and second grade classrooms lacked adequate space. A new classroom was built in the basement. This would house the 7/8 multiage room. The second grade moved to the second floor, occupying the room previously used by grade 7/8. The wall between the small first and second grade rooms was removed, creating one large room for first grade. The staff was increased in 2003 with the addition of specialist teachers and classroom aides. A major curriculum revision was also undertaken in 2003. A School Advisory Board and a Parent Group were established that same year. In 2005, St. Stanislaus School received sought and received accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Sadly, two Catholic schools in the city of Fall River closed in June 2008. In order to accommodate students from the closed schools who wished to enroll here, the administration at St. Stanislaus decided to change the classroom model from multiage rooms to single graded classes. This required renovation of the second floor, dividing the 3 existing classrooms into five, as well as making dual use of the computer lab and a classroom. Of course, the first item placed in the new rooms was the icon of Our Lady of Czestochowa. At the same time, some alumni expressed a desire that there be a plaque in the school honoring the service of the Felician Sisters. A beautiful wood carving from Poland of St. Felix of Cantalice, which was part of the parish’s art treasures that had been in storage after the fire, was restored by alumni and placed in the school with a plaque that reads, “In honor of the Felician Sisters, whose dedication and sacrifice are part of the living stones which form St. Stanislaus School.” In addition to the single graded model, the 2008-2009 academic year saw the beginning of an inclusion program, with the hiring of a specials needs teacher and the acceptance of students with mild to moderate special needs.

Back To Top