The early years: 1890s to 1914
St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, Upper Greenpoint was established in 1896. Its first premises were located on 12 lots on the corner of Driggs Avenue and Humboldt Street which were acquired by Fr. Leon Wysiecki who later became its first pastor. The building which presently exists is commonly known as “old school” (189 Driggs Avenue). In September, 1895, the first elementary school for Polish children from Williamsburg and Greenpoint started was organized with an enrollment of 60 students. The school was staffed by three nuns from the Congregation of The Holy Family of Nazareth. It is not certain where the Sisters lived, or even where they taught the children. In 1922 Polish Vincentians came to the Parish with popular missions and in 1923 it was handed over to them.
The school proper was erected in 1896 to which children were admitted in the Fall of the same year. This new building housed also a temporary church and chapel, in which the bishop during Confirmation ceremonies, announced to the people that as of this date the Parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka was formally in existence.
In 1896, there were one hundred and fifty students in school, within a few years the figure rose to above four hundred. In the year of 1909-1910, a seventh grade was added, and in 1912-1914, the school was remodeled and enlarged with an eighth grade being opened for the following year. Five hundred and six children were taught in these eight grades.
June of 1914 saw our first four graduates. The graduates were Anthony F. Zasowski (who later became a prelate), Leonard Piasecki, Konstanty Chrzanowski, and Mary Baranowska. At this graduation the pastor proudly stated, “Whoever from the eighth grade would wish to go to High School will receive a diploma signifying completion of Parochial School training.” This year closed the first era of the school’s life. Throughout this period, the school served the needs of the Polish population of Greenpoint and Williamsburg. The period experienced the loss of our oldest Polish School, begun in 1883 in the Parish of St. Casimir’s on North 7th Street in Williamsburg. After the opening of St. Stanislaus Kostka School, she no longer had any reason to exist, since all her duties were taken over by our school. It can be claimed with natural pride, that St. Stanislaus Kostka’s roots reached back to the year 1883.
1920s to 1960s
As the Parish of St. Stanislaus Kostka grew so did the school enrollment. As can be readily seen by the school enrollment of 1019 students during 1923-1924, the children were everywhere. They were down in the lower church and up in the school hall. The conditions were crowded and oppressive. The number of children in one classroom was so great it was unbelievable. In the school hall two classes were separated by movable partitions. The second grade had ninety-eight pupils in the years 1927-1929, and in the sixth grade the pupils numbered one hundred and twenty. On Saturdays and Sundays, the school hall was used for all sorts of functions designed to raise money for a new school. Before every function, everything had to be removed. Very early Monday morning the hall had to be aired out and readied again for classroom purposes. A new school was a real necessity. In 1929, this dream was realized with the building of a new school dedicated to the advancement of education. There were eighteen classes, a new hall, and several extra rooms. It was a great leap forward. The efforts of the parishioners, who accomplished this, were amazing. Everyone rejoiced; those who planned, those who built and those who paid off the debts. To this day the building is a source of pride and joy.
The building of the new school on Newell Street in 1929 brought the parish to its most current period. The Parish now had school buildings with a significant number of classrooms and equipment which gave greater possibilities as we proceeded into the future. Naturally, this does not preclude the necessary interior and exterior upkeep to maintain the buildings in proper order, for which large sums of money were expended. The current times, however, necessitated different categories of improvements.
In 1966, television sets with a closed circuit station assigned by the diocese was installed. A school Library was opened in 1968 replacing a former classroom. As the enrollment slowly declined, classrooms became available for other uses. A science lab and central computer room were opened as the school moved ahead to keep up with educational and technological advances of the times.
1970s to Present
Along with the decrease in student enrollment St. Stanislaus Kostka School saw a decrease in the number of Sisters in the classrooms. As the number of lay faculty increased the school began to become a financial concern of the parish. However, just as the people of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish supported the financial burden of building a school in 1926, they continue to support it today. Through the continued support of the parish family students are offered classes in Art, Music, Gym and Computer in addition to the core curriculum. A well founded English Second Language (ESL) program as well as remedial services are made available through the efforts of our retired Sisters. In addition funds are received from the New York State government to assist with needed supplies and services for our school. Though, St. Stanislaus Kostka School has changed greatly since its birth in 1895 it is still striving to educate students spiritually, academically and socially thus enabling them to take their place in a rapidly changing world.
In our educational endeavors, the personal development of the student, as a Christian and as an individual person, are the hallmarks of the philosophy of Saint Stanislaus Kostka School. The school community believes that the primary purpose of the school is to lead individuals to live a Christ-like life by coming to know and love God through the Gospel teachings. The faculty of St. Stanislaus Kostka School believes that knowledge is a value in itself and leads to self-improvement. We strive to develop the intellect of our students by recognizing their individuality. The faculty firmly believes in each child’s learning potential and unique learning style. Hence, curriculum is developmental with emphasis on the whole child.
Our aim is to foster a positive learning experience which will eventually culminate in creating an individual who is an asset to himself, to the community and to humankind. Important to its identity as a Catholic school, various liturgical celebrations are planned. The students participate in monthly First Friday Mass, class masses, seasonal prayer services, class Stations of the Cross, processions for various Church holy days, May Crowning and frequent opportunities for the Sacrament of Reconciliation. In addition, classes preparing for the reception of the sacraments have additional service projects and prayer services to add to the “special-ness” of the sacraments.
Activities take place throughout the school year to add to growth of school spirit, global awareness and nurturing of student talents. The activities include Academic Jeopardy, International Night, Spelling Bees, Christmas Pageants, Thanksgiving Food Drive, World Hunger Day, various events during Catholic Schools Week, donations to the Propagation of Faith and Lenten sacrifices for the poor.
The students are fortunate to have a variety of after school activities open to them. Our children can enjoy being members of the Altar Servers, Athletic League, Children’s Choir, Krakowianki and Gorale, Lectors and Blessed Virgin Mary Sodality. The religious, faculty and parents respect one anothers’ roles as we provide for a healthy environment for our children. An environment which will allow our students to grow emotionally, socially, intellectually and physically as members of St. Stanislaus Kostka School.
The curriculum for Pre-K through grade 8 follows the guidelines of the Diocese of Brooklyn in conjunction with New York State Learning Standards. In addition to the core curriculum of religion, math, reading, language arts, science, and social studies, students are provided with classes in art, music, physical education and computers. Every classroom has Internet access. We are proud of our state-of-the-art computer and science labs.
From a Parish School to a Chartered Academy
In 2008 Most Rev. Nicholas DiMarzio, Bishop of Brooklyn established the Diocesan Reconfiguration Committee (DRC). The committee submitted its twenty-nine (29) regional proposals to ensure the long term vitality and strength of Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Brooklyn. The process entitled “Preserving the Vision” was initiated by the DRC in the beginning of September 2008. It has involved the unprecedented collaboration and input of parents, teachers, principals, Parish and community leaders, pastors and Diocesan employees.
The proposal moves all schools towards the adoption of a two-tiered governance model. Under this model, pastors of parishes aligned with an Academy are members of the Corporation with particular responsibility for the spiritual care of faculty, students and families. A Board of Directors composed of lay-leaders with specific competence is responsible for the fiscal oversight and governance of the new school.
St. Stanislaus Kostka School was among schools chosen for reconfiguration according to “Preserving the Vision” program. After long time of discussion, reflection and examination new charter of the school was prepared. With approval by the State Education Department (P-12 Education Committee) the 2010-11 school year St. Stanislaus Kostka School started as Catholic Academy.