Mission & History

Philosophy/Belief Statement

Founded in 1842 by the leaders of the Oxford Movement in the Episcopal Church, Saint James School remains faithful to our historic identity as a Church School, maintaining the spiritual witness and discipline of regular worship, and continuing our attention to the spiritual and moral formation of our students. As an Episcopal school, Saint James welcomes students and faculty of all faiths, supporting each in our common pilgrimage of life.

Believing that young people are raised best in close relationship with each other and with adults who care for them, we remain committed to our enduring character as a small coeducational boarding school with a limited number of day students predominantly in the younger forms. In educating our students, we seek to develop and nurture all their talents and intelligences, challenging them to grow academically, athletically, artistically, socially and morally in the context of a close and supportive residential community.

To this end, we offer a substantial and appropriate college preparatory program in small classes maintained by a low student to teacher ratio. We require a rigorous core curriculum in English, math, science, history and foreign languages, with additional electives in each discipline. We require full participation in athletics and offer a broad program for interscholastic competition in three seasons, which emphasizes team participation and individual athletic development. We also require participation in the arts, offering opportunities for academic study in art and music, as well as opportunities for extracurricular participation and performance in drama, visual art and instrumental and choral music.

Faculty at Saint James are expected to care for their students and to teach for their success. Students at Saint James are expected to treat each other and their teachers with respect, to assume responsibility for their own actions, to follow the honor code and to obey the School's rules. These rules are designed to preserve the character and decorum of the School as a society for learning and to protect the safety and dignity of each individual member.

Every student is expected to set the right example as a member of our society and to contribute to the community of the School. As students grow older, they are called to positions of responsibility and leadership in their various activities and in the residential life of the School. These positions are intended to challenge and develop these students as leaders for good and to empower them to serve and help their fellow students.

By maintaining a school which is both traditional and tolerant, small and diverse, we hope to establish in microcosm our vision for a better society at large. By challenging our students to lead for good within our community, we hope to prepare them to lead for good in the world. By requiring all our students to serve others outside the School even while they are with us, we seek to remind them of the greater opportunities for service which await them as occasions for grace and fulfillment in their lives.


Saint James School is the oldest Episcopal boarding school founded on the Oxford model in the United States. Founded by Bishop William Whittingham in 1842, the School originally included a preparatory school and college. In the years following the Civil War, the college was eliminated and Saint James evolved toward its present shape.

Located in a rural setting, the Georgian-style campus of Saint James sits on 689 acres of farmland containing a natural spring, fields, and streams. The campus lies 5 miles southwest of Hagerstown and is approximately 70 miles from both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. The region offers many cultural and historic points of interest including the C&O Canal, Harpers Ferry, and Antietam and Gettysburg Battlefields. Faculty and students enjoy the cultural resources of the Baltimore-Washington metropolitan area on regular field trips.

Throughout its history, Saint James has remained committed to the precepts of sound mind and body, emphasizing the spiritual, intellectual, physical, and moral development of each student through challenging academics, daily athletics, extensive activities, and community service. At the start of each academic day, the entire School gathers for Chapel, providing an opportunity for thought and reflection for faculty and students of all faith traditions. Simultaneously challenged and supported, Saint James students study a traditional curriculum, which provides a solid foundation for strong academic achievement at the collegiate level.


The mission of Saint James School is to prepare young men and women for academic success in college, and to challenge and inspire them to be leaders for good in the world. We seek to do this within a small and familial residential community which values the moral and spiritual development of our students.

Saint James School Diversity Statement

Saint James School is an Episcopal boarding school which is committed to the academic, moral, and spiritual education of our students and to the Church’s vision of a just society. As such, we believe in fostering a diverse, inclusive, and safe community wherein all students, faculty, and staff are supported and encouraged to learn and grow in respectful relationship with each other. We are therefore also committed to having difficult conversations in which we explore our differences of experience and perspective in good faith and in the firm belief in God’s love for all of us.

Non-Discriminatory Statement

Saint James School does not discriminate on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, sexual orientation, physical disability, ethnic origin, or any other protected category in the administration of its educational policies, admission policies, financial aid program, athletic and other School-administrated programs, or employment practices in accordance with applicable Federal, State, and local laws.