About JACS

Mission & Values

Mission Statement

The Joplin Area Catholic Schools System provides students a strong academic and Catholic faith foundation. Our goal is to teach young people to integrate Christian values into all aspects of life.

We provide students with educational and social skills needed to be active, productive members of the community and Church.

We endeavor to graduate young adults who are effective witnesses to the presence of Christ in the world.


Catholic schools have been in existence in Joplin since 1885 when twelve Sisters of Mercy came to Joplin from Louisville, Kentucky and started a school in the Edward Zelleken home, also the convent on 9th and Pearl Avenue. This building functioned as the Catholic school in Joplin until the construction of St. Peter’s Grade School in 1924 on 8th and Byers Avenue.

In 1948, St. Peter’s Catholic High School (now McAuley Catholic High School) was built adjacent to the Zelleken home on 10th and Pearl Avenue. St. Mary Catholic Church built a parish school on 25th and Moffet in 1958 which was run by the Daughters of Charity, Leavenworth until 1972.

At that time, the decision was made to make a consolidated school system with St. Mary’s serving as the kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school, St. Peter’s as the sixth through eighth grades middle school and McAuley educating ninth through twelfth grades. While the Sisters of Mercy remained in administrative and teaching positions in the schools, all responsibilities of the schools were given to the area parishes, Sacred Heart, St. Mary’s and St. Peter’s and governed by a school board. The three schools continued to function in this capacity with the addition of a preschool program and construction additions to both St. Mary’s and McAuley over the years.

In May 2011, a tornado devastated the St. Mary’s campus which led to the relocation at a temporary school at 10th and Byers Avenue for three years on the campus of McAuley.

In the fall of 2015, St. Mary’s opened their new school for preschool through fifth grades on 32nd Street and Central City Road and St. Peter’s Middle School relocated to the temporary campus of St. Mary’s in order to be closer to the high school and better accommodate students for the 21st century.



Our recognition of a mandate from Christ leads us to the following principles:

1. That all human beings of every race, condition, and age enjoy a specific dignity as human beings and have an inalienable right to an education that is in keeping with their ultimate goal. A true education aims at the full formation of every individual.

2. We believe that a democratic society is the most desirable way of life for civilization as we know it.

3. We believe that this way of life is perpetuated through the education of the members of this society. Society will benefit by fitting our educational goals to each student’s developmental level, ability, interest, and desire.

4. We believe that individuals should be useful members of a democratic society, and that such membership implies acceptance of responsibilities as well as privileges.

5. We hold that each Catholic school should strive to realize the threefold purpose of Christian education: to teach doctrine, to build community, and to serve. The Catholic school is a most effective means for the education of children and young people.

6. In fully helping students develop mentally, physically, emotionally, socially, spiritually, and culturally, we believe teaching is a cooperative effort among administrators, parents, teachers, and students.

7. We believe that learning is most effective when the individual is the focus. This is enhanced when the individuals involved are working toward clearly defined goals and objectives, and the individuals are interested in and concerned about the materials they are going to master.