St. Thomas the Apostle is a Catholic elementary school in Old Bridge, New Jersey, and Diocese of Metuchen. Not only do we offer a quality Catholic education for Pre-K to 8th grade, but we align our curriculums with 21st C. Common Core Standards. We are commited to Educating both Minds AND Hearts.
Our students feel safe and cared for in our inclusive family atmosphere. From Pre-K to 3rd grades every classroom boasts both a Teacher and an Instructional Aide. Having another adult in each classroom adds to the implementation of differentiating instruction. We are also proud to offer FastForWord, a web-based reading intervention program for students who need additional individualization.
The Block Schedule in our Intermediate grades and Middle School allows indepth learning opportunites with an emphasis on Language Arts and Math. Additionally, Middle School students belong to a unique multi-grade House Program. House points are earned through service and competitions that celebrate all intelligences such as athletics, math, music, linguistic, spacial, and art.
Technology is used in every classroom. In addition to IPads in the younger grades to Kindles in the Middle School, laptops in our Science Lab, and a new Digital Technology Lab, every room is equiped with an Interactive Whiteboard.
Finally, St. Thomas is dedicated to teaching moral discipline to every student. – choosing the right path, not the easy one. By staying true to our core values of faith, service, and respectful leadership, we create opportunites for our students to grow in the tradition of a loving and learning environment.
For more information, call the school at 732-251-4812 during school hours: 8:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. weekdays.
- St. Thomas School welcomes students of any race, color, national, or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities, generally accorded or made available to students of the school.
- Saint Thomas the Apostle School does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national, or ethnic origin in administration of any school programs.
- The parish elementary school includes Pre-K (Little Saints) through Grade 8.
- “Before and After School Care” is provided at a reasonable cost for students of working parents.
Open House is the last Sunday in January during Catholic Schools Week. Registration for the upcoming year is held in March .
Saint Thomas the Apostle School educates minds and hearts through the integration of a challenging curriculum and a firm faith in our Lord and our God. We do this for our students by supporting diversified achievements, respectful leadership, and Christian service to God and Community.
And where there is God…
Catholic schools provide a community where students learn and grow as Jesus did in faith, knowledge, and compassion for others. In this nurturing environment, students are given an opportunity to use his or her gifts and talents while learning to appreciate the contributions of others. It is in serving others that our students learn to give of themselves and practice the values they have been taught. We provide opportunities for personal prayer and pray together as a family on a regular basis through our Masses, services, and daily prayers. Students are able to freely practice their faith and express themselves in a way which encompasses all aspects of their lives. In addition to academic excellence, students are encouraged to develop character and integrity through Christian values. This culture helps to prepare the children to become successful and faithful in their professional and personal lives.
Statement of Philosophy
The teacher exerts a significant influence on the life of the student. He/She is director or shaper of experiences that allow students to gain not only basic skills but an appreciation for the rich fabric of creation.
Through positive interaction and mutual trust, a teacher creates an atmosphere that promotes student growth.
Collegial relationships are a source of emotional and spiritual nourishment that allows each teacher to function in an optimal manner. We strive to support one another, to exchange ideas, to provide feedback and to offer practical assistance whenever the situation warrants.
We encourage our students to be confident in their own abilities, to seek positive solutions to life’s problems and to accept responsibility for their choices. It is our goal that each student recognize, enjoy and utilize every aspect of his/her uniqueness and incorporate these into a positive self-image and outlook on the future.
History of St. Thomas School
During the 1950’s Madison Township (now Old Bridge Township) and East Brunswick Township experienced a dramatic transformation from rural to suburban communities. Thousands of young families, many of which were Catholic, moved into the area from North Jersey and the New York metropolitan area. Many of the new Catholic families that settled in the Old Bridge area became members of St. Thomas the Apostle Church and expressed a strong desire to have their children receive a Catholic education.
Father Walter French, then Pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Old Bridge, became committed to the establishment of an elementary school. In November 1957, he acquired 11.7 acres of land in Madison Township, to serve as the new location of a church, school and auditorium for St. Thomas the Apostle Parish. In late January 1958, Father French received a verbal commitment from Mother M. Fidelis, Provincial Superior, that the Daughters of Divine Charity would take on the responsibility to staff a new elementary school in Old Bridge.
Construction of the new school began in July 1959. The Sisters arrived in late August of that year. The old parish hall in East Brunswick was renovated to house classrooms. The modest building served as the “first” St. Thomas the Apostle School. Classes began on September 15, 1959 with 154 children comprising grades one, two and four. Sister Agnes served as principal and was assisted by Sisters Gerard and Dorothy. The Sisters lived temporarily in a farmhouse on Cottrell Road until October 1960 when Father French bought a new house on Barkley Road to serve as a convent. A year later, a second house was acquired next door to enable additional Sisters to serve the school.
After a series of delays and in spite of a heavy downpour, the new school, with 16 classrooms, opened on September 19, 1960, to accommodate 736 students in grades one through six. According to Sister Agnes the students who transferred to the new school came from 27 different schools. At first, classes wee held on Saturdays to make up for the days lost by the construction delay.
An endeavor that brought St. Thomas the Apostle School national acclaim and publicity came to be known as “The Great Green Stamp Collection”. Sister Ignatius made a suggestion to Father French and the Saint Thomas P.T.A. – to acquire a school bus by collecting the green stamps, which at the time were being awarded by supermarkets, drug stores and other retail stores. The entire Old Bridge community supported the effort that began in May 1960. It took several months to acquire the 5,000,000 stamps needed to win the bus, which carried 66 passengers and was worth $8,000. On Saturday, October 7, 1961, the new bus was presented to Father French and Sister Agnes in the parish parking lot.
The school enrollment jumped to 920 students for the 1961-1962 School Year. The following year, the enrollment grew to 1170 students. During the 1962-63 School Year St Thomas School rented four classrooms in the newly constructed St. Bartholomew School building in East Brunswick The new building was known as the St. Thomas School Annex and included 240 students. The first graduation of 8th grade students was held on June 16, 1963. The graduates were awarded diplomas signed by Bishop George W. Ahr, the Bishop of Trenton, Monsignor Thomas Frain, and the Diocesan Superintendent of Schools, Father French and Sister Agnes. The school enrollment reached its all-time peak the following year when 1270 students were enrolled.
The growing number of applicants for St. Thomas School began to decrease around 1965 since by that time a number of neighboring parishes established elementary schools. These included Immaculate Conception School, Spotswood, St. Bartholomew School, East Brunswick, Corpus Christi School, South River and St. Ambrose School, Old Bridge. However, an additional 8-classroom addition for St. Thomas School was completed for the 1966-67 School Year.
As the enrollment began to decline steadily throughout the 1970’s, a full-day kindergarten was begun in September 1976. The decline was affecting all Catholic schools for a number of reasons: tuition costs began to increase, public schools in the suburban communities were meriting improved reputations, class sizes in parochial schools was a concern to some parents and the attitudes of many Catholics about the importance of a Catholic school education had changed after Vatican 11. Another factor that contributed to the decline was the reduction of both men and women Religious who served as Catholic school teachers. The enrollment of St. Thomas School for the 1976-77 School Year reached 605 students.
In September 1989, St. Thomas School introduced a full-day pre-kindergarten program and an after-care program. These programs were introduced to provide an important service for working parents.
In May 1991, Sister Stephanie Szody, the Provincial Superior of the Daughters of Divine Charity, informed Monsignor John B. Szymanski, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Church, that the Sisters, because of severe personnel shortages, were forced to withdraw from St. Thomas School, effective June 1991.
Miss Thomasina J. Wyatt became the first lay principal of St. Thomas the Apostle School in September 1991, which was now comprised of a faculty of lay teachers.
In June 1993, St. Thomas the Apostle School graduated 42 students thus bringing the total of the school’s graduates since its establishment to more than 2000.
In April 1994, St. Thomas the Apostle School received Middle States accreditation.
In August 2007, after 40 years of service to the St. Thomas community, Monsignor Szymanski retired. In November 2007, Monsignor Richard Behl was installed as the new pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle.