Saints JFX believes that cultivating the many gifts of its students is central to forming confident and successful learners who feel equipped to make a difference in the world. In addition to enforcing a high academic bar, faculty and staff work wholistically and lovingly to develop talents, encourage healthy risk-taking and wise choices, model personal responsibility, provide ample supports, and push students outside their comfort zone. Support services at Saints JFX encompass resources spanning Occupational Therapy to Social Emotional support. Arts, athletics and other extracurricular offerings include Middle School sports, Irish Dance instruction, After School Clubs, service opportunities, and more. Up-to-date technology tools, engaging specials curriculum, and a diverse line up of enriching programs and services ensure that students are well prepared and families well supported.
After School Clubs
With support from the HSO, Saints JFX offers a variety of after school clubs for the enrichment of students in Jr. Kindergarten through eighth grade. Clubs are offered immediately following dismissal and run roughly one hour. Classes are offered once each semester, with sessions lasting a total of seven or eight weeks. Club experiences help students take healthy risks, build friendships and learn new skills. Past clubs include Tasty Treats, Cheerleading, Debate, Chess, and more. After-School Clubs are run by faculty to provide opportunities for instruction and fun in areas of particular interest to our students. This program is offered for a nominal fee, with a significant portion of costs defrayed by the HSO.
The values and lessons instilled in private, Catholic education are unparalleled, and our mission is to provide our students with opportunities to grow academically, spiritually, socially, and athletically. Athletics is an integral part of our growth, spirit, leadership, and camaraderie. However, above all else, sports provides an outlet that allows us to have fun and exhibit pride for our school. The athletic department offers various programs throughout the school year to students in 5th through 8th grade, and our school competes enthusiastically in the Council II 3-A Catholic League of the North Shore.
While we encourage widespread program participation, athletics is viewed as a privilege, not a right, of all students. Student-athletes must maintain superior grades and demonstrate upstanding conduct in order to participate in sports. At SFX we adhere to a coaching philosophy and skill development standards that have been adopted by Council II 3-A. These standards are applied across all sports.
Student-athletes in 5th, 6th, and 7th grades enjoy equal playing time. The central focus of these teams is fundamental development, sportsmanship, and a passion for the sport. In 8th grade, our athletes progress to a higher level of development and competition. While our athletic department operates under a no-cut policy, players are allocated playing time based on ability, and coaches manage with a “play to win” philosophy. Wins and losses are tracked by the Council II-3A league, and playoffs are held at the culmination of the season.
In the fall season, boys compete on the football field as part of Wilmette Catholic, and girls are invited to participate on the cheerleading squad. Girls also take the court in volleyball, and both boys and girls have the ability to join the cross country team. During the winter months, boys and girls basketball teams are fielded, which is the longest-standing tradition in our athletic department. The academic year concludes with the spring season, where boys take the court for volleyball, and both boys and girls are invited to compete on the track team. Our athletic department also forms a golf team as opportunities are provided seasonally through our council.
Saint Francis Xavier is constantly striving to upgrade and enhance the student athletic experience. Clinics, tournaments, camps, and engagement events are operated at various times throughout the year to expose our community’s children to a healthy, active lifestyle, as well as to further their passion for specific sports. Our athletic booster club functions as a resource of the athletic department, providing opportunities to enhance our sports experiences and plan for the future of our program. Athletics programs provide our youth with outlets to achieve a healthy lifestyle and to build relationships with their peers, and Saints JFX parents, coaches and staff work hard to provide meaningful athletics opportunities for our 5th-8th grade students.
Before & After Care
SFX is pleased to offer a before and after care program staffed by Saints JFX faculty members. Our programs provide an excellent way to bridge child care needs while also ensuring an enriching and structured environment for students beyond regular school hours.
Every Kindergarten through eighth grade student is assigned to a Crusader Community for the duration of his or her time at SFX School. Older students are challenged to mentor their younger community-members while young children develop confidence and skills by learning from the eldest members of their respective Crusader Community. Each community is assigned a dedicated teacher to lead the group, which consists of cross section of Kindergartners through eighth graders. Students are organized in their communities for most school events, including weekly liturgies, field days, all school assemblies, and special projects. Crusader Communities are a living embodiment of the Crusader Covenant, a promise students make to themselves and others to be the best they can possibly be. The Crusader Covenant draws on the four principles of harmony, integrity, benevolence and faith to encourage the growth and development of a healthy and supportive educational community.
The spirit of Exploration, Play, Invention and Creativity are housed under the EPIC framework at St. Francis Xavier School. EPIC lends these themes shape, scope and purpose so that faculty can make intuitive connections between our school’s mission, its curriculum, and our desire to engage and inspire students of all ages.
The principles of EPIC come to life through an infrastructure of support in which Educators and Parents are called to Inspire our Children to be EPIC—to grow and develop into tomorrow’s critical thinkers, leaders and change agents. The active participation of parents and teachers is a critical component of our vibrant learning community. When families and faculty embrace the joy of learning and exploration, it’s contagious.
By developing students’ ability to solve problems, think out-of-the-box, and value creativity, EPIC draws upon the tenets of our Crusader Covenant, which calls us to be the best we can possibly be. It also supports an underpinning goal of a St. Francis Xavier School education—to prepare students so that when they leave our doors they are equipped and motivated to make the world a better place. EPIC fosters a curiosity for all that the world has to offer, builds critical thinking skills, emphasizes fundamental STEM principles, and unlocks our ability to make a difference by developing a rich toolbox of skills and talents.
The school views Fine Arts as essential to the development of the whole child, reflecting its mission to produce students who are leaders and change agents. Saints JFX believes exposure to the Fine Arts fosters positive social behavior as students share ideas, take risks, develop confidence, and find their voice. s such, Music and Art are required areas of study during the school day, and supplemental programs including After School Clubs, Irish Dance and Band provide additional opportunities for growth and exploration.
Saints JFX is proud to have assembled a talented group of specialists who form our Learning Support Team. A full time social worker aids in the areas of social integration, navigating friendships and supporting the emotional needs of students. A part time speech therapist assists students with basic speech needs, and in the identification of opportunities for additional support. An occupational therapist works with teachers to develop strategies to meet learners where they are and work together toward successful academic and emotional outcomes. A behavioral learning specialist provides pull-out support, incremental and diversified learning instruction and student evaluations to identify best-outcome solutions. Several Reading Specialists collaborate across our K-4 Elementary School to provide support and identify areas for additional practice. Additionally, many of our Early Childhood and Elementary School teachers leverage their degrees as Reading Specialists to advise and consult, to share information and to develop strategies that benefit students across grade levels.
The EPIC fund supports acquisitions in the area of Learning Support that make a meaningful difference in the lives of our students. Through specialized furniture and tools, organizational systems stemming from a partnership with Rush, a relationship with Northwestern’s Audiology Department, and access to specialized professional development, our team draws on wealth of resources and tools designed to support our kids.
The school libraries provide a dynamic learning environment with a collection of over 5,000 titles, integrated technology, and a fully automated catalog. The library provides access and resources that enhance our curriculum, and support the research and reading needs of our students and staff. Our Destiny online system allows patrons access to the Saint Francis library catalog from any internet source at school or from home. It also provides access to our growing e-book collection and the ability for patrons to manage and personalize their individual user accounts.
The library curriculum includes a regular library period for preschool through eighth grade students. For younger students, the curriculum builds skills and proficiency to access library resources and services. The focus is on instilling a love of books and learning. Older students work to become independent users of the library resources, with an emphasis on developing informational literacy skills. For middle grade students, the curriculum emphasizes information literacy, integrated technology and the expansion of access to information in a responsible manner. The library circulates over 800 titles per month and is staffed by a full time librarian. Nationally celebrated author visits, campaigns including Respect Each Difference and One Author, One Community, Battle of the Books programming, and Blue Stem and Caudill reading challenges are just a few of the rich offerings supported by the school library.
The purpose of the Physical Education program at SFX School is to guide students to become active for a lifetime. The Physical Education curriculum teaches teamwork, participation and respect in an environment that emphasizes health and fun. Regular physical activity has been shown to promote academic success, to help prevent obesity, to further motor skill development and to provide the opportunity to start healthy goal setting. Through the development of a robust P.E. program, our school hopes to support every student to succeed both academically and socially and to acquire life skills to last a lifetime. Students learn how to cooperate, how to learn and follow rules, and to become a team player in sports and life while also learning to be gracious in defeat. PE curriculum also emphasizes the value of practice and commitment, leadership and self-improvement, and the importance of accepting and respecting differences in physical abilities.
SFX-Foy School of Irish Dance
The SFX Irish Dance Club is affiliated with the Foy School of Irish Dance. The Foy School was established in Chicago by Geraldine Foy, T.C.R.G., in 1974. Geraldine is a member of An Coimisiun le Rinci Gaelacha, Irish Dancing Teachers Association of North America and Irish Dancing Teachers Association of Mid-America. At Foy, students enjoy performing and competing all over the world. Foy currently has locations in Chicago, Geneva/St.Charles/Batavia, Des Moines, Oak Park and Wilmette. The SFX Irish Dance Program began in 2008 and is run by Kerry Siefer.
SFX students perform in various dance recitals throughout the year including the school’s talent show, the St. Patrick’s Day Party, at Irish festivals and sites across the city, and in Chicago’s famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Our program offers four levels of dance class: beginners, advanced beginners, intermediate, and advanced dancers. Students are able to move up a level once they have mastered appropriate steps, and advanced dancers may take instruction in hard shoe.
Classes are open to students in grades K and up. We offer both soft shoe and hard shoe classes. Dancers in the intermediate and advanced dancer levels are encouraged to participate in competitions and all dancers perform in shows throughout the year. SFX instructors accompany our dancers to feiseanna to provide support and instruction. Registration is open year round. Visit our Instructor, Costume and Feis Information (need to add this info to this site, then link to the new pages) pages to learn more about our teachers, where to purchase the SFX Irish Dance uniform, and how to register for upcoming feiseanna recommended by Mrs. Siefer.
Our school fosters a robust 1:1 technology program across grades K-8. Technology is woven into every aspect of curriculum with the application of SMART Boards, laptops, iPads, and other tools so that students apply techniques universally, and across all subject areas. A SMART/Interactive White Board is installed in each homeroom and iPads and Chromebooks are distributed across our student population.