St Joseph School Chinatown

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Coordinates: 40°42′41.6″N 73°59′47.2″W / 40.711556°N 73.996444°W / 40.711556; -73.996444

St James & St Joseph School

St. Joseph School is an inner-city Catholic Primary School in the Archdiocese of New York. It is located at 1 Monroe Street, in New York’s Chinatown, and serves a predominantly Chinese immigrant population. The school’s mission is to provide quality education regardless of a student’s background, religion, or financial situation.[1] St. Joseph is open to students of all faiths, nationalities, and races.


Founded in 1926, the school originally served an Italian immigrant community located on the Lower East Side. As the Chinatown community expanded, partially due the lift of an immigration quota in 1965, the area surrounding the school became immersed with immigrants that eventually developed into the largest Chinese population in the Western Hemisphere.[2][3] St. Joseph School adapted to the new population by adjusting its resources to best serve the needs of the changing community. St. Joseph is now the only catholic school in Lower Manhattan with an English as a Second Language Program, and is one of the few schools in the Archdiocese to admit students who do not speak the English language. Sr. Deborah Lopez is the principal.[1]


About 60% of St. Joseph’s students are Asian, while 20% are African-American and 20% are Latino.[4]

More than 80% of St. Joseph’s students qualify for the federally funded free or reduced lunch program, and more than 50% do not have an English speaker at home.[4]

Although St. Joseph is a catholic school, only 30% of its student body are Catholics. This relatively low number of Catholic students is part of a wider trend among New York City’s parochial schools in which they are shifting away from educating working class Catholics (Irish and Italian) and moving towards becoming viable educational alternatives in New York’s African-American and Latino inner-city communities.[4][5]



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