St. Thomas Aquinas School is a Catholic elementary and middle school for pre-kindergarten through eighth. Enrollment is approximately 425 students with one full-day pre-kindergarten class, two full-day kindergarten classes and two classes each of grades 1 – 8. There is a maximum of 25 students per class in K – 8th and 15 students in the pre-k class. The typical school day is from 8 am to 3 pm.
St. Thomas Aquinas strives to provide a well-rounded, holistic education for its students. Core subjects include religion, reading, math, language arts, science, and social studies. Core subjects are taught in a challenging and developmentally appropriate style. Art, music, computer and gym courses are also offered. Students learn the traditions and tenants of the Catholic Faith through daily instruction, prayer, services, and participation in the liturgical life of the parish. Daily recitation of the Rosary and Scripture sharing are part of the development of the spiritual nature and life of students.
St. Thomas Aquinas School originated from requests for a Catholic school in the city of Rio Rancho by parishioners of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. The parish, under the direction of Msgr. Douglas Raun and with the blessing of Archbishop Michael Sheehan, established a school feasibility committee which surveyed the parish and sought to obtain a site for the school.
Msgr. Raun wrote to the Religious Teachers Filippini requesting sisters be sent to establish and staff a school in his parish. Sr. Frances Lauretti, MPF, Provincial Superior, obtained permission from the General Superior of the Religious Teachers in Rome, and granted the request. Sr. Frances and her council selected 4 sisters for the establishment of a new mission in New Mexico: Sr. Alma Blume, Sr. Dolores Jensen, Sr. Anne Louise Abascal, and Sr. Mary Klersey.
On June 30th, 2000, the parish was able to finalize the purchase of the former Puesta Del Sol Elementary School located at 1100 Hood Road in Rio Rancho. The school is set on 10 acres of land. The facility has 24 classrooms, a cafeteria, gym, library, chapel and two fully equipped playgrounds, as well as a science lab, computer lab, art room, and music room.
That very day the sisters sought volunteers for the cleaning and preparation of the building. Parents, parishioners, and local residents came to paint and assist the sisters with the needed preparations. Despite flood, fire and vandalism our doors were ready to open on time. When the school opened on August 14, 2000, there were 3 kindergarten classes, and one of each grade from first through fifth grade.
On August 15th, during a beautiful Mass celebrated by Archbishop Sheehan, our school was blessed and dedicated. The entire school body of 143 was present as were many parents, guests and area dignitaries.
The school registered 100 new students for the next school year. It would double its grades and open a 6th grade in 2001. In 2004, the first 8th grade class graduated from St. Thomas Aquinas.
In the words of St. Lucy Filippini, “If a work is of God, He Himself is bound to sustain it.”
Our school is an integral part of the ministry of St. Thomas Aquinas Parish. We share its mission of giving greater honor and glory to God and seeking the salvation of souls. We are in total commitment and absolute obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ, in full communion with His Holy Catholic Church and all her teachings. Thus, we seek to educate and empower our students with a traditional Catholic view; which recognizes the sacred dignity of each individual and equips our students to grow personally in holiness and to influence the world in a truly Christian manner.
Empowering each other as educated Catholics to build the kingdom of God today and forever.
The understanding, appreciation and development of self in relation to God and others compel students to influence the world in a Christian manner. Through interaction with others in a positive and loving environment, integrity, and self-mastery will be achieved.
- Development of spiritual formation of students and staff
- Teachers will integrate effective strategies to cultivate classrooms that are caring, thought-provoking, challenging and successful
- Continue the Six-Trait Writing program
- Incorporate writing across the curriculum and provide opportunities to enhance writing
- Develop and implement critical thinking and problem solving skills based on Bloom’s Taxonomy for mathematical accuracy
Accreditation and Recognition
Our school is accredited by the State of New Mexico and the Western Catholic Educational Association. ” The mission of WCEA is to promote quality Catholic education for students in our member elementary and secondary schools through an accrediting process that assures the primacy of faith formation and educational excellence.” (From the WCEA website at www.westwcea.org.) Accreditation by the WCEA signifies that our academic program has been evaluated by a team of educators and found to meet the high standards established by the Association.
In 2003, St. Thomas Aquinas received the Piñon Recognition from Quality New Mexico. The New Mexico Quality Awards Program recognizes New Mexico educational organizations that demonstrate performance excellence, improvement, and a commitment to use quality concepts and principles. Our school is also a member in good standing in the National Catholic Education Association.