Sharp Minds, Kind Hearts
Our Core Values
This is my commandment: love one another as I have loved you
Let us not grow tired of doing good, for in due time we shall reap our harvest, if we do not give up
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ for the good works that God has prepared in advance
Therefore, encourage one another and build one another up, as indeed you do
1 Thessalonians 5:11
St. Matthew's Catholic Parish is located at 1773 Blanding Boulevard, Jacksonville FL, conveniently located to Avondale, Lake Shore, and Ortega. The parish consists of 13 acres of church and school facilities. Additionally, a new rectory was built for the pastor this year adjacent to the school property. Fr. Joseph Corde established the parish in 1949. The original church was formerly a chapel relocated from Camp Blanding. This historic building currently houses the Knights of Columbus, Father Maher Council #648. In early 1950's, the Sisters of St. Dominic of Adrian, Michigan, arrived as the administration and faculty of the school. A kindergarten class of 36 students became the first students of St. Matthew's Catholic School.
In 1951, the south wing of the school and convent were built. Additionally, in 1964, an administrative office and rectory were constructed. A gymnasium was built in 1975. Sporting events of the school, parish, and neighboring church and civic organizations, are hosted in this airconditioned facility. Furthermore, a full stage area with theater lighting provides for school events including the annual talent show, student project displays, pep rallies, fun runs, physical education classes, summer camp activities, and interactive classroom happenings.
The construction of Schiavone Hall, the Religious Education Department of the parish, school administrative offices, teachers' lounge, and media center consisting of a library and computer lab was completed in 2009.This addition to the campus increased parish and community socials, as well as, spiritual andeducational event workshops. May of 2017 brought a major remodel of the gymnasium. A new roof, interior and exterior painting, remodeled restrooms, new tile around the parquet flooring and stage area, soundproofing and the installationof a state-of-the-art sound system were completed. Moreover, the PTO assisted in the funding to add video capabilities which include a projector and screen. A new extended walkway from the school office was constructed in the front entrance of the school buildings. The 2018-2019 school year began with much anew. Seven new members join our faculty/staff as long-time educators retired, relocated to a different part of the country or school, ere added or changed positions within the school. Additionally, a new position was created for student support and a resource teacher certified in Exceptional Student Services (ESE) was hired.
St. Matthew's Catholic School has been led under the direction and guidance of many pastors committed to the integration of faith and knowledge in every child's educational experience. Beginning with Father Joseph Corde, Father Daniel Hegarty, Monsignor John P. Burns, Father Luke McLoughlin, and our current pastor, Father Jose Kulathinal, all of these pastors have strived to make Catholic education affordable to all parishioners. This goal remains a focal part of the church's largest ministry: Catholic education. Students participate in liturgical events throughout the school year at the children's Mass, celebrated every Friday mornings at 8:30 am. The Rosary, Stations of the Cross, May Crowning, Adoration, Parade of Saints, Rosary recited in the multiple languages of our students, prayer services initiated by various grade levels, Grandparents' Day special service, highlight the grace, love and gifts bestowed by Our Lord.
Technology has come a long way since the introduction to the school in 1991. Most recently, Chromebooks have become the device of choice for student use in the middle school. IPads are provided for all teachers, and are available in middle and lower school grades for instruction and text book content. The computer upgrades of the lab were made possible by a very generous donation of a current, and longtime parishioner, who wishes to remain anonymous. Students in grades 5-8 are assigned a Chromebook for their use throughout the middle school years. All other grades have access and use of Chromebook and iPad carts located in the middle and elementary school buildings, as well as the computer lab. The instruction and use of the most current technology integrated across the curriculum provides for student directed learning among the disciplines.
The Parent - Teacher Organization, PTO, is a supportive group of parents offering time and talent as volunteers. Over the years, these parents and parishioners have organized fundraising and social events, to bring church and school together and provide enhancements to the facilities and classrooms. The School Board has long been an advisory collaboration of parents and parishioners, offering expertise and observation to the pastor, principal, and finance committee chairperson to improve and sustain the educational program.
The FL Catholic Conference first began an accreditation program in 1969. This accreditation body approves and regulates specific criteria of spiritual and educational programs, policies, administrative and teacher credentials, and community development of the school. The school was awarded re-accreditation in 2021.