St. Joseph Hill Academy

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St. Joseph Hill Academy
850 Hylan Boulevard
New York City (Arrochar, Staten Island), New York 10305
United States
Coordinates 40°35′59″N 74°4′15″W / 40.59972°N 74.07083°W / 40.59972; -74.07083Coordinates: 40°35′59″N 74°4′15″W / 40.59972°N 74.07083°W / 40.59972; -74.07083
Type Private, All-Female
Motto Summum Bonum
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic;
Daughters of Divine Charity
Patron saint(s) St. Joseph
Established 1919
CEEB code 335385
Chairperson Sister William McGovern
Dean Jennifer Pla
Principal Angela T. Ferrando
Grades 9-12
Enrollment approx. 460 (9-12) (2010)
Campus size 14-acre (57,000 m2)
Color(s) Blue and White         
Mascot Koala
Team name Hilltoppers
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Publication "The Peak"
Newspaper "The Summit"
Alumni Kelly Baffoni, Maria Conte
Service Director Madeline Paladino
Campus Minister Sister Denise
Athletic Director Janice Philipps
Tuition $7,300 per year (+ additional expenses)

St. Joseph Hill Academy High School[2] is a private girls' school in the Arrochar neighborhood of Staten Island, New York. Located on a scenic 14-acre (57,000 m2) campus (which eponymously stands atop a hill, providing views of the Manhattan skyline), the school serves approximately 400 young women in the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th grades and is accompanied by a coeducational wing for students in pre-K through 8th. The school was founded and is operated by the Daughters of Divine Charity; a majority of the school population is Roman Catholic, although the school is independent of the Archdiocese of New York.


The school began in March 1920, with the purchase of the 14-acre (57,000 m2) estate of William Knauth by Reverend Mother M. Kostka Bauer. In May of that year, the Daughters of Divine Charity arrived on Staten Island and in the fall inaugurated tutoring classes for a group of twenty-five children who had come to them during the summer. These classes led to the institution of the Academy. During the school's early years, it was also a boarding school The first secondary level classes of the Academy were begun in 1930, and the first official Commencement Exercises were held for six high school graduates in June 1934. At that time, the Academy was affiliated with the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. In 1938, the high school department of St. Joseph Hill Academy received its charter of recognition and full accreditation from the Board of Regents of the University of the State of New York. Since its foundation, multiple projects have been undertaken to provide for the ever-growing needs of the Academy. The rapid pace of the school’s growth was the prime factor which influenced Mother M. Fidelis Babos, then Provincial Superior of the Daughters of Divine Charity, to formulate plans for the erection of a new high school wing to be added to the already existing elementary school building, which had been dedicated in 1953. Accordingly, on August 26, 1956, the groundbreaking ceremony took place for the erection of the present building. On March 23, 1957, Most Reverend Joseph M. Pernicone, Auxiliary Bishop of New York, laid the cornerstone. The formal dedication of the high school building took place on May 22, 1958, conducted by Francis Cardinal Spellman, Archbishop of New York. A new construction project begun in 1999 was completed during the 2000-2001 school year. A new gymnasium, four additional high school classrooms and a distance-learning lab, to enhance our WITAC program, were added to our facilities. In 2009 an annex building, Madonna Hall, was added, named after the Virgin Mary although its students joke that it is a reference to the singer. Drivers' education classes are also held on campus in this building.[3] Through the 1950s the school also offered a coeducational elementary school program.


In 1999 St. Joseph Hill Academy designed and implemented the WITAC (Women Integrating Technology And Curriculum) program. The program requires that all students purchase laptops for use in each of the major curriculum areas.

In September 2002 a videoconferencing and distance learning center was set up. The school intends to form partnerships with other high schools, colleges, and universities to provide and receive otherwise unavailable content and instruction.


The course of studies at St. Joseph Hill Academy is primarily academic, designed to fulfill college entrance requirements. It conforms to the directives of the New York State Board of Regents. In accordance with a college preparatory course of studies, students are expected to earn a Regents diploma with advanced designation.

  • Religious Studies I,II,III,IV
  • English I,II,III,IV, A.P. English (Literature); A.P. English (Language)
  • Global Studies I & II, American History, Government/Economics, A.P European History, A.P. American History*, A.P. Government,/Economics
  • Algebra or Alg/Geo, Geometry or Geometry/Alg 2, Algebra 2/Trig or Trig/PreCalculus, A.P. Calculus, Honors Calculus, PreCalculus/College Algebra*
  • Biology, Chemistry, Physics, A.P. Biology, College Physics*, Forensic Science*/Archaeology* (Online Course), Anatomy & Physiology
  • Modern Language I,II,III,IV (Spanish, French, Italian); College Spanish Conversation
  • Music Appreciation
  • Computer Applications
  • Health and Physical Education

ELECTIVES: Accounting, AP Art History, Creative Writing, Introduction to Law*, Sociology*, AP Psychology*, World Religions*, Theology*, Musical Theatre*/Opera*, *may also be taken for college credit.

Regents diploma with advanced designation is earned by scoring 65 or above on the following Regents Examinations: Math A, Global Studies, Living Environment, English, American History, Math B, Foreign Language and Physical Setting (Chemistry) and a minimum 22 credits. Students maintaining a 90% average in these exams will earn a Regents Diploma Advanced Designation with Honors.[4]


The school uniform has not changed much since its inception. Today, it consists of a postman blue skirt and matching blazer with a white shirt, white stockings, and saddle shoes. Postman blue pants are worn the winter, with a navy sweater. Simple black or navy wool coats are worn in the winter and must at least cover the knees; and students may only use white, black, gray, and navy accessories. Accessories are limited to one set of gold or silver posts (earrings), a simple cross (necklace) or religious medal on a gold or silver chain, and a simple hair-tie. Only Juniors and Seniors may wear the school ring and use a moderate amount of lipstick and blush of appropriate shade. All other types of make-up and accessories are prohibited. Hairstyles must be simple and hair coloring must look natural. Major changes in hair coloring are prohibited.


St. Joseph Hill Academy High School was recognized for Academic Excellence by the National Catholic High School Honor Roll. Hilltoppers won the 2006 Golden Apple Award sponsored by the New York City Department of Sanitation.[citation needed] They won first prize in the city and the award for the borough of Staten Island.[citation needed] The school's Trashbuster team cleaned up the Staten Island beaches and Clove Lake Park, removed graffiti, and cleared litter in the neighborhood around the school on a regular basis. In addition, the girls planted bulbs and plants throughout the year. The $6,000 prize will be used for beautification and educational purposes.


On February 8, 2015, the St. Joseph Hill Cheerleading team won the Super Varsity Division II National Championship at the Universal Chearleading Association's (UCA) National High School Cheerleading Championship (NHSCC) at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. They were the first team from New York City to win a Cheerleading National Championship and the first team in New York State to win in the Super Varsity Division.