Skip Navigation

Faith and Service


As the only Archdiocese of Atlanta Catholic elementary school “in the Jesuit tradition,” we are committed to the Jesuit ideals of academic excellence, the service of faith, the promotion of justice, and the education of the whole child - mind, body, and soul.


We welcome students of all faiths to join our community to learn from each other and grow in our faith. 

“The mission of schools and teachers is to develop an understanding of all that is true, good, and beautiful.” - Pope Francis

Teachers volunteering
Young boy holding soup cans
Students with car full of non-perishable items for DEAM
Blessing Bag
Middle school boys with Blessing Bags they made
Middle school girls making Blessing Bags

What ‘Faith and Service’ mean to us

While teaching our students the doctrines of the Catholic Church, we also strive to inspire a global sense of understanding, respect, and compassion for others and the courage to put our faith into action. We encourage students to “find God in all things,” and, above all, we teach that God loves them unconditionally simply because they are, and not because of what they do. We demonstrate through scripture and service that God’s Truth is directly connected to our social justice. We are called to reach out to each other to demonstrate an understanding of human dignity, the Common Good, solidarity and subsidiarity.

Our approach

1. Study

Religion classes are taught every day, but to develop their spiritual life, we do more than teach our students the doctrines of the Catholic Church. We hope to lead students to a closer personal relationship with God and a deeper understanding of the Catholic principles and virtues through regular prayer and spiritual conversation. When teaching, we place ourselves in the Gospel lessons, so each child learns how to live their faith. In other words, we teach our students to become “people for others” in the manner of Jesus.


We are inspired by the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd, a Montessori-based approach of teaching young children about Jesus through tangible materials with a Biblical basis, for our religion lessons.

Kindergarten – 5th grade

Beginning in Kindergarten and continuing through 5th grade, students learn about God’s love through Catholic prayers, Catholic practice, and Catholic tradition. Instruction begins by learning basic and fundamental biblical stories and progresses throughout their grade school experience by spending time understanding the Beatitudes, vocations, and the Seven Sacraments of the Catholic Church.

Our 2nd graders spend the majority of their school year learning about and preparing for their First Reconciliation and First Holy Eucharist. Our teachers prepare the students in many meaningful ways so when the time comes to participate in this special sacrament, the students fully understand the beautiful gift in which they are about to partake.

6th grade - 8th grade

During the middle school years, students continue their faith journey by digging deep into the Old Testament and how the Old Testament prepares us, as Christians, for a meaningful and personal relationship with Jesus Christ (We discover that the New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament and that the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament. This leads us to a greater understanding of Salvation History and how we are part of this history. God sends us His saving grace, and we respond by seeking a relationship with Him.).

During the 7th and 8th grade years, the children spend time analyzing and processing the Gospel using faith and reasoning. The students come away from middle school with a deep understanding of Christ’s teaching, particularly in the area of humility and service to each other, regardless of other’s faith backgrounds. Middle School includes a focus on the Mass Readings of the Liturgical Year as we discover themes of service, social justice and our Conversion Journey. Students are also better prepared for that week’s Mass or service.

The Daily Examen is a prayer which St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, used to recognize the presence of God in his daily life. This prayer allows our students, faculty, and staff to consider moments for which they are grateful, in which they were challenged, and in which they may have fallen short. During this prayer, we recognize God is in all these moments, we are thankful for each day, and that we will strive to do better the next day. The Examen is often used as a teaching prayer as we explore our journey to understand gratitude, social justice, “God moments”, our moral compass, and our relationship with God.


2. Worship

As part of the process of learning and growing, our students’ religious faith is integrated into the day-to-day activities of the school, as well as regularly scheduled, student-led religious practices such as weekly school masses, a monthly school rosary, Community Prayer, Stations of the Cross, and spiritual retreats.

- Weekly All-School Mass (student-led)
- Monthly Community Prayer (student-led)
- All-School Rosaries (student-led)
- Spiritual Retreats
- Sacrament of Reconciliation
- Adoration
- Bibles and Biscuits 

3. Service

Service to others is integral to the Jesuit ideal of educating the whole person, and “reaching out to the world as the hands of Christ” is part of our school’s mission statement. Our students learn to have a heart of compassion as they serve others through school-wide community outreach projects and mission-related activities throughout the school year. (We focus on removing the “obligation” notion of service and that it is through our efforts that we discover God’s Kingdom on Earth.)

  • Empty Bowls Dinner” at the close of a multi-month project in which STM students serve as host and hostesses and funds raised support the students at The Good Shepherd School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. (We also focus and teach our responsibility to respond to Global Hunger.
  • Christmas Giftbox creation for the students of Global Village Project, a school serving refugee children being resettled in the Decatur area.
  • Veterans Day Celebration - a school-wide, student-led event during which students honor the service of the those who have served and are serving in our armed forces.
  • Regular food and toiletry collections for local poor and homeless in cooperation with the Decatur Emergency Assistance Ministries (DEAM)
  • Individual “Blessing Bags” assembly with food and other items for distribution to the homeless the students may encounter in the course of their day.
  • “Thank You” card creations during the year for different entities: first responders, nursing homes, retired religious, STM parishioners and others in our community thanking them for their prayers and support of the school.
  • “Pennies for Patients” collection through which students learn about the disease of cancer and the research being done to combat it; the program involves regular student-led prayer, listening to the stories of cancer patients, and fundraising for cancer research.   

Outside of the service work we do together as a school community, quarterly, our sixth-grade students are required to complete one service project, and our seventh and eigth graders are required to complete 8 service hours. (The focus is on simple acts of service to others done on a regular basis.)

4. Assessment of Religious Knowledge ® (ARK)

The Assessment of Religious Knowledge ® (ARK) is given annually to students in grades 3, 5, and 8. ARK allows STM to see how individual students are learning with longitudinal records and growth scores to track performance. It offers belief and behavior questions linked to the six domains of the Faith to better assess Catholic Identity and culture. Results of the ARK are used by Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Atlanta to guide the implementation and development of religious instruction and formation.




What if I'm not Catholic?
  • Approximately 20% of our students come to us from outside the Catholic faith
  • We welcome students of all faiths to join our community to learn from each other and grow in our faith
  • When teaching about other religions, we acknowledge and recognize similarities and differences within faith communities, so we can begin to be more inclusive and understand one another on a deeper level as we are all children of God
What does it mean to be a Catholic school “in the Jesuit tradition?”
  • In 2016, St. Thomas More Church became the first ever Jesuit parish in Atlanta. With that change, our school became the only Archdiocesan Catholic elementary school in the Jesuit tradition
  • The Jesuit tradition is dedicated to educating the whole person – mind, body, and soul – and developing competent, compassionate, and committed leaders in the service of the Church and the larger society. Our school is joyfully working to embody, teach, and share the signature spirituality of the Jesuits: Finding God in All Things.
Who are the “Jesuits?”

The Jesuits are the Society of Jesus, a Roman Catholic  of order of priests and brothers founded by Ignatius Loyola, now known as St. Ignatius of Loyola. They seek to “find God in all things” and are dedicated to the “greater glory of God.”