Upon the appointment of Father James P. McElligott to Sacred Heart Parish on February 9, 1953, it became his important distinction to formulate and complete the final arrangements and plans for the building of Sacred Heart School at Cooper and Oak Streets. On August 23, 1953, after four weeks of preparation, a massive parish-wide campaign was held by volunteer workers for subscriptions for building funds for the school and convent.
On September 13, 1954, the school was opened with 169 students registered in the first four grades. The teaching Sisters came from the order of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary. The order was founded in France in 1866 and has many houses in Great Britain and Ireland. Five nuns of the order arrived in America in 1953 to teach in Atwater, and in 1954, five Sisters of the Sacred Hearts came to Turlock as the faculty of the new Sacred Heart School.
Sacred Heart School has been established to assist parents in properly directing their children’s spiritual, intellectual, and social growth. Within the context of Catholic education, Sacred Heart School promotes the dignity of the human person, nourishes the gifts which have been given to the children of God, and provides for a society based in justice, service, and love.
Sacred Heart School teaches the children of our community the principals and doctrines of their Catholic faith, prepares them to proclaim the Gospel and live it daily, promotes within them a sense of justice and a desire for peace, provides them with a quality education in preparation for a productive, caring, and purposeful future; and above all, fosters a community of faith, hope, and love.
Sacred Heart School is a ministry of Sacred Heart Parish. The school was established in 1954 when Father James P. McElligott was successful in securing the Sisters of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary from Chigwell, England, to staff and operate the school for the first four grades. Each year a grade was added until the school was comprised of Grades one through eight. Kindergarten was added in 1982. Other additions include an Extended daycare Program which was established in 1986, and the Sacred Heart Preschool which was added in 1988. Since the departure of the only remaining Sister of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary in 1998, laity has been entrusted with the education of the children. For many families, the enrollment of their children marks the third generation of families to attend Sacred Heart School.
Sacred Heart Catholic School is accredited by the Western Catholic Educational Association (WCEA). WCEA accredits Catholic elementary and secondary schools in nine western states (26 (arch) dioceses) and the US Territory of Guam. WCEA co-accredits and is in partnership with three Regional agencies (WASC, NAAS, NCA CASI) and two private agencies (CAIS and HAIS). WCEA began in 1957 in San Francisco and has a long and successful history of assisting school improvement through the accreditation process.