As America’s first Catholic schools, our background spans many momentous periods throughout the history of the southeastern Pennsylvania region.
Late 1700s The first AOPS Catholic school is established at St. Mary Parish in Philadelphia, the second church built in the city.
1830-1851 Bishop Francis Kenrick begins the first push for a wider network of Catholic schools.
1851-1860 St. John Neumann calls for and oversees the opening of 17 elementary schools in Philadelphia.
1890 The first Catholic high school for young men is established.
1912 John J. Hallahan High School, the first of its kind for young women, is established.
1912 Archbishop Ryan School for Children with Deafness opens, setting a new precedent for special education.
1953, 1954 St. Katherine Day School and Our Lady of Confidence School are opened, respectively, as a response to a parents’ petition to create opportunity for children with mental impairments.
1955 St. Lucy Day School for Children with Visual Impairment is founded.
1900-1930 AOPS schools greatly expand, to 124 schools in Philadelphia and an additional 78 in four surrounding counties.
1945-1965 An additional 62 Catholic elementary schools are established.
1989 The first archdiocesan regional resource room program for students with learning disabilities is established, later expanded to two programs across three secondary schools.
1998 Bishop Shanahan High School relocates from West Chester to a new diocesan building in Downingtown.
Today Our archdiocese now includes 119 elementary schools, 17 high schools, and 4 schools of special education!