St. Nicholas School is an independent Episcopal day school for children, grades preschool through five. We began as a neighborhood preschool program at Grace Episcopal Church. Our programs expanded significantly in the early 1970s with the establishment of the Early Learning Center and with the addition of elementary grades. The first class of sixth graders graduated in 1978, and the school became separately incorporated in 1981.
St. Nicholas is founded on the principles of the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal educational tradition emphasizes love and respect for all humans, moral integrity, spiritual growth, compassion, and responsibility. Because we wish to be broadly inclusive of the community we serve, we value and respect differences. Most important, St. Nicholas looks for the values and ideals that unite people as opposed to those that divide. We welcome students, faculty, and staff from all religious and cultural backgrounds.
St. Nicholas School nurtures each individual's intellectual, social, and spiritual growth in order to develop independence, a love of learning, and a commitment to service.
St. Nicholas enrolls students from a variety of racial, religious, cultural, and socio-economic backgrounds. Our teacher-to- student ratios are 1:11 for younger students and 1:18 in the higher levels.
Campus and Facilities
The campus is located on 24 picturesque acres in the East Brainerd area of Chattanooga. Facilities include classroom cottages, a gymnasium, a dining facility and a chapel/fine arts center. Buildings also feature shelter rooms for storms and other emergencies. Students enjoy walking trails, an extensive garden program, a swimming pool and multiple playgrounds.
Our comprehensive curriculum ensures that the St. Nicholas educational program is unparalleled in content and approach. In all areas, St. Nicholas students meet or surpass national standards and benchmarks. Core subjects include language arts, social studies, math, and science taught daily in small classroom settings that encourage investigation, inquiry, and collaboration. Interdisciplinary studies are also central to the course of study. Language arts is coordinated with social studies, and science education is blended with mathematics. Foreign language, music, physical education, and art are woven throughout the curriculum while technology is integrated across all disciplines.
After School Classes
Enrichment classes are available to St. Nicholas students through the Extended School Program (ESP). The ESP offers parents the option of dropping children off as early as 7 a.m. and picking them up as late as 6 p.m. In the afternoons, we offer optional enrichment classes which include: cooking, music, arts and crafts, and sports instruction to name a few. Enrollment is often limited and dictated by a child’s age, and there is an additional fee for each class.
Summer at St. Nicholas Camp is an incredibly fun time for kids ages 4-12, with a camp leadership program for ages 13-15. Day camp is open from 7am-6pm but campers may be dropped off and picked up anytime during those hours. We no longer offer a part time camp option. Campers may attend enrichment classes in addition to day camp or they may opt to do specific enrichment classes outside of day camp. See more about Summer Camp.
Students at St. Nicholas begin taking standardized tests in Level 5 (third grade). This continues in Levels 6 and 7. In the fall the students take the Stanford Achievement Test and in the spring they take the Comprehensive Testing Program 4 (CTP4) produced by the Educational Records Bureau (ERB).
All decisions relative to financial aid are made independent of the admission process and will not impact in any way a child’s possibility for admission. The St. Nicholas financial assistance program is open to students of any race, gender, color, and national or ethnic origin. Application forms for financial aid can be obtained through the St. Nicholas business office or on the school website. The deadline for filing a financial aid application for consideration in the first round of allocations is the first Friday in February. See website page on How to Afford a St. Nicholas Education.
St. Nicholas has a dress code but does not require uniforms. The emphasis on seeing each child as an individual as well as the opportunity for students to make choices are part of the nurturing of a child’s independence and creativity. Our students sit at tables, on floors, or outside on patios throughout the day. They also spend lots of time outside enjoying our expansive campus, garden, and nature trails. Clothing should be appropriate for an active and engaged education (where mud and grass stains have been known to happen!)
Students are required to wear a St. Nicholas collared shirt on field trips and special occasions.