Saint John's Expands Middle School to Include Grade 8

Dear Saint John’s Community,

I hope this email finds you and your family doing well and enjoying the start of summer. While we wrapped up our academic year in late May, we have been working diligently, carefully, and thoughtfully to prepare for the fall. Thank you for your continued faith and support of our mission and our school. 

I am writing today to share an important update with you about our brand-new middle school program.

On April 30, 2019, Saint John’s High School announced the opening of the Br. Robert Treanor, CFX Middle School Division with a seventh grade to start this September 2020. After a detailed discernment process that included faculty, staff, administration, students, alumni, and families, the Board of Trustees and administration decided to open this new division as a way to expand our educational model and further fulfill our mission as a school. Since that moment the response and interest in this opportunity for the young men in our community have been outstanding. As of today, we have 60 young Pioneers enrolled in this new seventh grade, a growing number currently in the admissions pipeline, and an administrator and teaching staff who are true middle school experts. The students and families who are enrolled and are considering entering this new division are attracted to this program due, in large part, to our history and tradition of excellence, our thoughtful preparation of the curriculum and middle school space, but also because of the school’s highly-praised transition to our remote teaching and learning platform - Pioneers Online.

After the closing of campuses on March 13, we know that students around the state and in our home communities had a varied experience for the remainder of the school year. In late May, what began as a slow trickle, soon became a pretty steady stream of inquiries coming to me and to the admissions office about whether Saint John’s would reconsider only opening the seventh grade next year. After careful consideration and discernment, including the consideration of significant input from interested alumni, parents, staff, and the Board of Trustees, Saint John’s has decided to open an Eighth Grade High School Preparatory program this fall with a small cohort of students. This decision is a unique solution to a unique need in this unique situation and is directly responsive to the very real concerns and needs of students and families. As the Xaverian Brothers share in their Fundamental Principles, we “are called to a life of constant searching. Let the developments and changes of your times be a source both of confidence and challenge to you.” We are urged “to respond and adapt to the needs of the times.”

The goal of this Eighth Grade High School Preparatory program will be highly personalized in order to meet the individual needs of each incoming student and includes a deep review of academic curriculum and skills missed during the spring semester of his seventh grade year with a focus on preparation for a successful launch to high school. Saint John’s is positioned to make this change because of the number of requests made of the school to date, the strong enrollment in the seventh grade, the deeply experienced and talented middle school faculty we have hired, and our continued and already demonstrated commitment to realizing our mission as a Catholic/Xaverian Brothers sponsored school by responding to whatever challenges (COVID-19 or otherwise) we are presented. It is important to note that as we were discerning this decision, we reached out personally to all enrolled seventh grade families and were overwhelmed by their support.

Please visit the Grade 8 at SJ section of our website for more information on this new and important initiative.

In conclusion, I will be honest in sharing with you that I was probably the greatest proponent of opening our middle school division one grade at a time. We were prepared and excited to do so prior to March, but our personal, professional, and school world changed profoundly since March of this year. I am very proud that our community is able to respond to this immediate need. It is not what we planned, but we are confident we will do it well and are excited to further fulfill our mission in the service of students and families in our community.

Please reach out to Sean Dillon, Assistant Principal for Middle School at or Justin Smith, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management at with any questions.

Be well and God bless,

Alex Zequeira P'19