Lacordaire Academy’s campus is located on three acres of land at the corner of Lorraine Avenue and Park Street in Upper Montclair. The Academy celebrated its 95th year in the academic year 2014-2015. The campus includes the Convent, two academic buildings, the Carriage House and Lacordaire Hall, as well as a large play area in the back. The Academy has two computer labs, three science labs, a Harkness room, an art room complete with kiln and pottery wheels, a library, a cafeteria, and a gym/auditorium where our theatrical performances and liturgies take place. The convent has a chapel that is used for retreats, small liturgies and the Sacrament of Reconciliation.
The land and its buildings were acquired by the Sisters of St. Dominic of Caldwell, NJ, who proceeded to open a selective French-English school for girls in the main house under the name Lacordaire School on September 15, 1920. The school was named in honor of Pere Henri Lacordaire, a 19th century Dominican priest, educator and member of the Academie Française.
On September 15, 1920 the principal, Sister Concepta, Sister Aloysius, the high school teacher, and Sister Andrea, the grade school teacher, welcomed their first two students. By September 1923, the combined registration in the grade school and high school, known as the Lower and Upper Schools, was 30 students. As the student population grew, core classes were held in the convent while music, physical education, art and theatre were taught in the Carriage House. In the late 1940’s, through the generous gift of an alumna, an addition was built onto the Carriage House to create additional classrooms.
By 1958, Lacordaire had a total of 132 students in the Upper School and had outgrown the original mansion of the estate. That year, a request was made to the leadership of the Sisters of Saint Dominic to raise money for a new Upper School building. On September 5, 1961, the cornerstone for a new building was laid and dedicated.
1974, the name of the school was changed to Lacordaire Academy, with a Secondary and Elementary Division. In 2009, Lacordaire Academy was accreditated as a single Academy with a new Head of School presiding over the entire academy. Instead of Elementary and Secondary Divisions, the Academy now has a Lower School for grades Pre K to 4, a Middle School for grades 5-8 and an all girls Upper School for grades 9-12. Classes for grades Pre K to 5 are held in the Carriage House and classes for grades 6-12 are held mainly in Lacordaire Hall.
Over the last 95 years, Lacordaire Academy consistently provides a rigorous faith-based curriculum. The delivery of the curriculum and the integration of technology across the curriculum are evaluated yearly, enabling the Academy to stay current and to continue to meet the needs of our students. Teacher-centered practices have been augmented with inquiry and project-based learning, and every classroom has the lastest technology and access to wifi. Initiatives such as Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (S.T.E.M.) and S.T.E.A.M. (just add an A for Arts) incorporate all the lastest best practices as demonstrated by the lastest research. However, our tradition of a values based, challenging college preparatory curriculum and our belief that all students can reach their potential and find success have remained for nearly a century.
Lacordaire is committed to the total development and education of its students, regardless of race, creed, ethnic or socio-economic status. We endeavor to unite our students in respect and concern for themselves and others. We hope that each student becomes strong in faith and spirituality, and are prepared to share the Gospel message of peace and justice through example, word and service. We strive to assist in our students’ physical, emotional, and intellectual growth and are committed to develop lifelong learners who lead with conviction, compassion, and intelligence. We just do it with state of the art technology!