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Why The Basilica School?

Here at The Basilica School of Saint Mary, we have a steadfast commitment to fostering the spiritual and academic growth of each child. We strive to prepare the whole child for a life of faith and lifelong learning.

At A Glance

  • 1869 St. Mary Catholic School is founded
  • 1950 Current school building opens at 400 Green Street
  • 2009 U.S. Department of Education names St. Mary a National Blue Ribbon School
  • 1st In age: St. Mary is the oldest school in the Diocese of Arlington
  • 1st In enrollment: St. Mary is the largest elementary/middle school in the Diocese of Arlington
  • 90% Percentage of 8th grade students who enroll in a Catholic high school
  • 53% Percentage of faculty who hold a graduate degree
  • 715 Average annual enrollment
  • 422 Average number of families with children enrolled each year
  • 26 Target class size
  • 3 classes per grade (Avg. 78 students per grade)
  • Kindergarten-2nd grade has a Teacher and Instructional Assistant in each class. Starting in 3rd grade there is an Instructional Assistant shared for each grade level.
  • Our students score above the national average on standardized assessments, with the majority of our students performing in the top 25th percentile.

Religious Events

We place a priority on our children’s spiritual development in the Catholic Faith. Religion class is taught every day at each grade level. Our parish priests visit classrooms weekly. Students attend Mass weekly and on Holy Days of Obligation. Each school day begins and ends with prayer. Other opportunities for prayer include Stations of the Cross during Lent and school-wide retreats. Students receive preparation for the sacraments of First Reconciliation, First Eucharist, and Confirmation. Students have the opportunity for Confession at school. Service projects and extracurricular activities, including Eucharistic Adoration, the Annual March for Life, and Corporal Works of Mercy, emphasize Catholic values.

  • Weekly Mass held in the gym (PreK - 8th grade)
  • First Friday Mass – The entire school walks to the church on Royal Street for Mass. Kindergarteners join in First Friday mass starting in January. PreK students only attend mass in the gym.
  • Mass on Holy Days
  • Adoration held every Thursday in the school chapel
  • Stations of the Cross during Lent
  • Confessions – 2nd -5th grade 4x/year. 6th, 7th and 8th grades optional every Wednesday
  • First Reconciliation
  • First Communion
  • Eighth grade Confirmation retreat
  • Confirmation
  • Daily Prayer
  • All Saints Parade for grades K-2
  • May Procession
  • School-wide Holy Thursday retreat
  • Weekly priest visits
  • Children’s Sunday Mass at 9am in the gym when CCD is in session


For specific subject area curriculum information please click here.

Areas of differentiation include:

  • Differentiated Instruction: We practice differentiated instruction, particularly in language arts and math, to meet the needs of our diverse learners.
  • 21st century learning environment: We provide our students with a 21st century learning environment, which includes a state-of-the-art science lab in the middle school, SMART boards in all classrooms, classroom work stations for the Accelerated Reader Program, weekly computer classes in our well-equipped computer lab, mobile technologies such as laptops and iPads, and a web based learning management system to support school communication.
  • Encore Classes: We offer instruction at every grade level in Spanish, music, art, computer technology, library and physical education.
  • The Basilica School of Mary School follows the Diocese of Arlington approved guidelines for all subject areas
  • SMART board technology available in Kindergarten – 8th grade, including Encore classes.
  • Mobile technology in the classroom includes laptops and iPads
  • State-of-the-art middle school science lab – incorporation of S.T.R.E.A.M principles
  • Empowering Writers instruction in kindergarten through eighth grade with grade level benchmarks
  • Advanced math is offered to qualified middle school students
  • Spanish classes for students in pre-K through eighth grades
  • Weekly Encore classes in library, music, art, computer, and physical education for students in kindergarten through eighth grades
  • Book-In-The-Bag Reading program for kindergarten and first grade
  • Christian Awareness and Respect Education (C. A. R. E.)
  • Curriculum based field trips

Other Offerings

  • Hot lunch, made in-house, available for purchase daily
  • Registered nurses available in our school clinic 
  • Our Learning Center meets the individual learning needs of our students. The center is staffed by an occupational therapist, reading specialists, and Learning Center teachers for students with special needs and/or students requiring learning support
  • Two full-time school counselors who are licensed clinical social workers
  • Extended Day Program for after hours care


Extracurricular offerings are abundant and varied. Students participate in activities that focus on spiritual growth, intellectual development, student leadership, the arts, sports, and more.

Click here to learn more about our extracurricular offerings.

Home and School Association Events and Fundraisers

We have an active and generous parent community. Please click here to learn more about our annual fundraisers and our Families in Service Program.

Traditions and Service

  • Saintly Families - All of our students are placed in a multi-grade saintly family in November of their kindergarten year in order to build community and faith. They have a saintly family teacher and family, students from their grade and other grade levels who join together in learning about their patron saint, working together on service projects, praying and having fun!
  • Walk for the Homeless - Students gather in their saintly families and create posters to carry during the Walk for the Homeless held each fall. The walk brings attention to and raises funds for Alexandria Christ House, which is an important parish mission helping those in need.
  • Saints Parade - On All Saints Day our kindergarten – 2nd grade students parade around the block and onto the blacktop as their chosen saint. The older grades are waiting on the blacktop to cheer them on.
  • Lenten Retreat - Held every Holy Thursday, students gather in their saintly families to begin the Sacred Triduum in a solemn and spiritual way. Dismissal is completed in silence as students are encouraged to pray and reflect as they leave to celebrate the sacred mysteries of our faith.
  • May Procession - The May Procession falls on the Monday after First Holy Communion. 8th grade students elect a May Court including the May Queen and her attendants. Second grade students dress in their First Communion outfits to lead the procession along with the court. All of the students walk
    from school to the church to crown our patroness and queen.
  • Seminarian Sprint - Students along with our Seminarians sprint around the blacktop with their class in a relay style to help raise money for our seminarians’ education fund. The day ends with a rally to support our seminarians with whom students connect the entire year. In conjunction with Vocation’s Awareness week in the Arlington Diocese we also hold a vocation’s awareness assembly in November to complement our support of priests, religious, and men in formation for the priesthood.
  • Field Day - In this all day activity at the end of the school year, students participate in fun activities in their Saintly families to build community and have fun. Lunch and snack are provided. The students gather in the gym before the event to showcase their cheers and after to crown the winning and most spirited families.
  • Food Bus Program - Our school participates in this national program. Students are given the opportunity to donate any unopened and unwanted food that would normally end up in the trash to the Food Bus. The donations are collected after every lunch period and then delivered weekly to Christ
  • Coat Drives
  • Student Council sponsored out of uniform days fundraisers and other special cause fundraising events
  • We Care Week – Every first week of December the school thinks about our needy neighbors by partnering with Catholic Charities Arlington Diocese. We raise money for Catholic Charities through a dress down day and educational assembly. We also partner with Catholic Charities during Lent to raise money for more global concerns as opposed to local concerns.
  • Catholic School’s Week –At the end of every January we take a week to celebrate Catholic schools through an opening Mass, parent breakfast, teacher appreciation day and student appreciation day.The week is filled with fun activities, and we remember how blessed we are to be a part of a Catholic school.
  • Spiritual Opportunities- Every week we celebrate Mass together as a school community, either at the church or in the school gym.We also have tri-annual Reconciliation opportunities for our students, in addition to weekly for middle school students.In October we pray the rosary together as a school in our Rosary Garden, in November we pray for the dead in the cemetery right behind the middle school, every Thursday we hold Adoration in our school chapel and classes visit to spend time with Jesus. During Lent, we have the awesome opportunity to walk down to church for Stations of the Cross.Our parish priests visit our school daily and have scheduled classroom visits as well.We are blessed to have so many opportunities to grow in faith every day at St. Mary.

Recognition and Scholarship

St. Mary School Scholarship Awards

  • Barry Ford Multicultural Scholarship
  • Colin Casey Scholarship
  • Bern E. Hynes Award

8th Grade Graduate High School Scholarship Awards

  • Robert E. Dolan Citizenship Award
  • Eleanor Nugent Scholarship
  • Julia Kenney Petrino Scholarship

Honor Society

  • Father Krempa National Junior Honor Society