The Private School Advantage
St. Mary’s Prep is a faith-based community which strives to provide the best possible educational experience for all students in a safe and caring Christian environment. A key element of this educational experience is encouraging our students to make the most of the gifts and talents they have been blessed with. The experienced faculty and staff of SMP encourage the development of the whole child, fostering both spiritual growth and academic excellence. They demonstrate a level of dedication to the students which is second to none.
At SMP, we are educating the leaders of tomorrow and, as such, we aim to create an environment that promotes academic excellence and allows students to develop a meaningful understanding of the Catholic faith. I invite you to visit or contact our school so that you may see all that SMP has to offer.
Dr. Margaret McCluskey
SMP offers students the many advantages of a private school education.
Since 1954, St. Mary’s Prep’s mission has been to provide academic excellence enriched with Catholic values. St. Mary’s Prep, the parish school, functions under the auspices of the Diocese of Paterson. The courses of study meet and exceed Common Core State Standards, as well as the Curriculum Guidelines set forth by the Diocese of Paterson. The School’s membership with the National Catholic Education Association provides continuing programs for professional development and evaluation. St Mary’s Prep is accredited by Advanced Ed.
It all began on August 17, 1947, when two Sisters of the Sorrowful Mother started a catechetical school at St. Mary’s Parish in Denville, New Jersey. They taught religious education classes, trained altar servers, and conducted the girls’ choir. This work continued until the school and convent were built in 1953. St. Mary’s School opened its doors on September 22, 1954. Initially, the school housed students in grades kindergarten through 4th grade and was taught by two sisters. The first eighth grade graduation of 39 students took place in 1959. The same year, 66 students graduated from the kindergarten program, and the total school enrollment was 535 students. Msgr. John Furman requested 5 acres of land from the town of Denville for an expansion of the school. Ground was broken for the second school building in October of 1962; and in 1963, the new school building opened. The new building, referred to as Building # 2, housed grades 5-8.
St. Mary’s Prep Pre-School program began in 1977. In 1979, building # 2 was sold to the town of Denville. The proceeds of the sale were used to build an eight-room addition to the original building, thus making it possible for all students to attend school in the same building. St. Mary’s School started its full-day kindergarten program and the expanded pre-school program in 1992. In 2005, St. Mary’s School officially changed its name to St. Mary’s Prep.