St. Paul of the Cross School is a vibrant Catholic community that instills a strong faith foundation in students from preschool through eighth grade. Our rigorous curriculum is inclusive, collaborative and differentiated. St. Paul of the Cross School engages students and families in a comprehensive approach to the social, emotional, physical, and spiritual growth through a variety of co-curricular service, learning, and athletic programs. Our graduates are faith-filled leaders equipped with 21st century skills and prepared to succeed in an evolving global society as committed Christians and loyal citizens.


At St. Paul of the Cross School, we believe that education stimulates the natural inquisitiveness of children and focuses their desire to learn. We believe that each student is a unique individual who must be encouraged to act positively as part of the Christian community and society in general. We believe that through an enriched prayer life, an awareness of the needs of others, and study of our faith, the student will grow in his/her Catholic life. Our ultimate goal is to involve the students in the mission of Jesus, love of God, and love of their neighbor, and to promote in each of our students a healthy self-concept and respect for society at large. To reach this goal, we set the following objectives:

  • To assist parents, who are the primary educators of their child's growth. 
  • To develop spirituality through daily prayer, the study of the Lord's work in scripture, and liturgical celebration.
  • To assist and guide parents in the preparation of their children for the reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation.
  • To recognize all aspects of student growth: spiritual, moral, emotional, physical, and intellectual.
  • To design a curriculum which meets the diverse needs of children with provisions for different styles and modes of learning.
  • To create an atmosphere where learning is fostered by creative methods encouraging the child to be a self-initiated learner.

    “My nine years at St. Paul instilled within me that a well rounded education extends far beyond the classroom walls. St. Paul really provides the opportunity to develop one’s whole self morally, physically, emotionally, and intellectually. My teachers and coaches taught me to dream big. Those dreams began in the classrooms, in the church, and on the basketball court at SPC.” 

          ~Kristen Kelly, University of Notre Dame Class of 2013

In 1911 St. Paul of the Cross Parish was commissioned by Archbishop Quigley to service what was, at that time, a small Catholic population in Park Ridge. The original church, built on the corner of Northwest Highway and Washington Street, was a white wooden building with seating for 350 people. Among the parishioners at St. Paul of the Cross Church at that time was Mother Francis Cabrini. The current church building, with seating for 1,100, was dedicated in 1953.

As the Catholic population of Park Ridge grew, St. Paul of the Cross School was started in 1925 by the Sisters of Mercy and would later be staffed by the Dominican Sisters. The mission of the school was to nurture the adults of tomorrow. At its largest, the student population at St. Paul of the Cross School was 1200 children in 1956, with up to 60 children in a classroom. This large student population led Monsignor Duffin, in 1960, to initiate a funding drive for a Junior High building. This building was opened in 1961 and was renovated and expanded in 2001 to increase classroom space and add much needed meeting space for the parish and school. The original building was also completely renovated at the same time. 

St. Paul of the Cross School continues today to nurture the adults of tomorrow through education and programs serving students from early childhood through adolescence. The school works collaboratively with parents to educate students academically, spiritually, emotionally, and socially.