Discover St. Mark School

Since 1897, the mission of St. Mark Catholic Grade School has been to foster the academic life and spiritual growth of its students and to teach children the Catholic faith. St. Mark School has a dedicated, highly trained faculty and staff. Our teachers are supportive, encouraging, and committed to helping students succeed. Visit St. Mark School and see for yourself all the wonderful opportunities we have to offer your children!

Mission & Philosophy

The missions of St. Mark School, with the help of God, are to foster the spiritual growth and academic life of its students and faculty and to teach students, with the cooperation of parents, the Roman Catholic Faith.

The goal of St. Mark School is to provide instruction and experience the Catholic faith so the graduate will:

  • Have learned God’s message as proclaimed by the Church.
  • Realized Jesus’ presence in prayer and worship, as well as plan and participate in prayer service and liturgies.
  • Have prepared for and received the Sacraments of Reconciliation, Eucharist, and Confirmation.
  • Have learned elements of appropriate behavior in the Church as well as knowledge about and appreciation of other Christians and non-Christian faiths.


St. Mark’s School offers a challenging, comprehensive curriculum that recognizes the unique talents of each child, combined with educational technology to motivate and engage the students.

Our students score well above national norms on standardized tests. Our classrooms are centered on learning and produce students who achieve excellence and are well prepared for the future.


Students build a math foundation by using manipulative materials to develop math concepts and solve meaningful problems. Students in all grades work to achieve fluency and accuracy in computation, especially as applied in problem solving situations.


Our science curriculum strives to incorporate a hands-on approach that is inquiry based for the students to be able to explore and investigate their world and utilize problem-solving skills.  We also provide an embedded IMSA (Illinois Math and Science) curriculum to selected students in order to increase students’ interest, involvement and literacy in science and mathematics.


The religion curriculum engages students in hearing and understanding the proclamation of the faith and invites the student to respond through deeper openness to a relationship with God. This relationship is expressed in active participation in the life of the Church as a disciple of Jesus Christ.


Students construct meaning and make personal and textual connections as they learn from and about reading. Students learn effective comprehension strategies that they apply to fiction and nonfiction texts. Components of the reading curriculum include a teacher directed mini-lessons, shared reading, interactive read-aloud, independent reading, reader's response, guided reading groups, literature study groups and share time.

Social Studies

The goal of the Social Studies curriculum is to help create historically literate and well informed citizens who actively participate in a democratic society. 

In addition...

We also offer Art, Music, Computer, Physical Education, and Library.

Shadowing Program

Shadowing is the process of following a student through all or part of the school day to gain insight into what a student experiences within the school setting. This allows the student to experience firsthand what it’s like to be a part of St. Mark’s School family! Contact the school office to schedule your shadowing visit today.

Preschool Program

St. Mark’s School offers full day and half day Pre-K programs for three- and four-year olds. Our Pre-K classroom is closely involved with Bradley’s Psychology Department’s Pre-K Child Study Center.


Recognizing the need to teach the whole child: mind, body, and soul, St. Mark’s School fosters a spiritual growth with a sound foundation in Catholic teaching and tradition. We embrace the Gospel values, which we teach in religion classes as well as incorporate throughout the entire curriculum. St. Mark’s is a warm, welcoming school where respect, compassion, and responsibility define the environment.

Along with daily religion classes, students participate in:

Sacramental Preparation

Weekly Mass



Altar Server

Community Service


Since 1897, the mission of St. Mark’s School has been to foster the academic life and the spiritual growth of its students and to teach children the Catholic Faith. St. Mark’s School has a dedicated, highly trained, faculty and staff. Our teachers are supportive, encouraging, and committed to helping students succeed. Visit St. Mark’s School and see for yourself all the wonderful opportunieties we have to offer your children.

Read more about our history …

The first St. Mark’s School, a two-story brick building, was built in 1897, directly behind the church on College Avenue and Underhill Street. Up to the completion of the convent, east of the school facing College Avenue, the Dominican Sisters came from St. Bernard’s parish to teach the students at St. Mark School. The enrollment did not require a teacher for each grade at first, so four sisters under the Superior, Sister Mary Bernadine, taught the eight grades. The new convent was built in 1911 and as the parish grew, more teachers were added.

Steady growth of the parish made it necessary to build a new school. The original section of the present St. Mark School building, erected in 1922 and 1923, costing $100,000 was completed at its present site and dedicated in 1925.

The new school, facing Bradley Avenue with 130 feet on Underhill is “built of brick with Bedford stone trimmings, it is one of the finest grade schools in the state outside of Chicago, Illinois. It contains eight large airy rooms, rest rooms, supply room and gymnasium and showers in the basement. It is modern in every particular, equipped with radios in each room, a large kitchen for serving hot meals to the children and all parish functions and an auditorium with theater appointments and properties.” “In the school proper, a suite for clinical examinations is found to be expedient. The parochial health nurses, doctors and dentists are high in their praise of the school arrangement. The curriculum includes eight grades of work according to state requirements.” In 1962, again because of the growth of the parish, an addition was built to accommodate the overcrowded school.

Today, in 2010, there are over 230 students in Pre-school through Grade 8. Classroom size averages around twenty students per grade level. The school continues to be recognized by the state of Illinois and meets all state curriculum guidelines. The school is staffed by an exceptional staff of highly trained and dedicated men and women.


St. Mark’s School contributes to the development of the entire child by offering an array of extracurricular activities that build teamwork, confidence, leadership skills, and perseverance.

Academy of Reading and Math: An interactive software program designed to supplement classroom programs for both for at-risk students and for enrichment.

Altar Server Training: 5th - 8th Grades

Band: 5th - 8th Grades

Declamations: A speech and recitation program and competition for students; 5th - 8th Grades

First Lego League: A robotics and engineering program; 4th - 8th grades.

Foreign Language Academy: Courses after school in Chinese, and French.

Girl Scouts & Boy Scouts: Opportunities for students of all ages.

Illinois Math & Science Academy - Fusion: An after-school science and math enrichment program for students who qualify. 4th - 8th Grades

Scholastic Bowl: A group for Jr. High students who participate in academic competitions.

S.M.A.R.T. Kids: An after-school litter pick-up and recycling program. 3rd - 8th Grades

Spring Musical: A fully produced musical. 4th - 8th Grades

Student Government: 4th - 8th Grades

Tutoring: Title I - Grades K-8, Title I ESL - Grades K-8, Bradley University “America Reads” - Grades K-5, & Afternoon Tutoring & Homework Help - Grades 5-8

Soccer - Boys & Girls

Cross Country - Boys & Girls

Baseball - Boys

Basketball - Boys & Girls

Volleyball -Girls

Track & Field - Boys & Girls

Cheerleading - Girls

Organizations & Opportunities

St. Mark School prides itself on not only educating children, but involving parents in their child’s education. There are several organizations available to the parents of St. Mark students.

Parish School Association: The PSA is an organization for both the parish and the school that holds a variety of events and fundraisers for SMS.

Room Parents: This group of parents help plan classroom parties and events throughout the school year.

Men’s Club: This group is also made up of parishioners and school parents who hold events and fundraisers for the SMS.

Sons of St. Joseph: Sons of St. Joseph is a parish organization of men that meets every other Saturday to join in prayer and discussion regarding family life and fatherhood.

St. Mark Auction Committee: Each year the school holds an annual auction as one of the school’s largest fundraisers.

Athletic Coaches: All sports at SMS are coached by volunteers.

Concessions: Another way SMS raises funds is through concessions at sporting events. Help is needed before, during, and after events.

SCRIP Program: A year long school fundraiser where gift cards are sold to buyers with a percentage of the sale going to support the school.

Bible Study: This group meets every Friday morning after mass, and includes both men and women from the school and parish.


St. Mark School is accredited by the State of Illinois, the Diocese of Peoria, and the North Central Association/AdvancEd.

St. Mark School has earned continuing accreditation from the North Central Association Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement (NCA CASI), an accreditation division of AdvancED.

NCA CASI provides nationally-recognized accreditation, the purpose of which is continuous school improvement focused on increasing student performance. To earn accreditation, schools must meet NCA CASI's high standards, be evaluated by a team of professionals from outside the school, and implement a continuous process of school improvement. Accreditation is granted on a five-year term.


When the decision came as to where to send our children to school we decided on St. Mark’s. We felt strongly about supporting our neighborhood school and having our kids schoolmates also be their neighborhood playmates.

St. Mark’s has provided our children with a solid education, instilled in them a love of God and a respect for others, while challenging them to reach their full potential. They have enjoyed many extra curricular activities: sports, foreign languages, First Lego League, school musicals, and more! Our children have grown academically as well as in their faith.

Most importantly, our children love the school! Their teachers are supportive and encouraging. They understand children and are committed to helping them to succeed..
I love to see the past graduates of the school still coming back to visit with their teachers…once a Marksmen, always a Marksmen! Our children are blessed to be a part of the St. Mark’s School family!

Our family LOVES Saint Mark School……with one recent graduate from SMS and 3 currently attending we cannot think of a better school for our children! We have been at SMS for 11 years! The instruction throughout the school is outstanding and with our recent addition with Dr Noreen Dillon as principal our school is rapidly moving as a number one choice for parochial schools in the Peoria area. Our religious curriculum is one I believe that stands out from any other in the area as well. Teachers here are encouraging to the students in utilizing their unique talents and strengths. There is a very active parent/family involvement at SMS, we are a small school with a family oriented atmosphere! Overall, Saint Mark is a great school and we are please to be a part of such a wonderful family there.

Choose? Select? I don’t recollect a selection process. St Mark has been the only viable option for me for as long as I can remember. Why? Fundamentally, St Mark’s parish and school is home just as the West Bluff has always been home. Why have we chosen to stay home when others have left the old neighborhood? Because your home is where you are sheltered, fed and loved. St. Mark parish and school have provided shelter, food and love to three generations of my family and four generations of my wife’s.

I am confident my children are sheltered at St. Mark school. Sheltered physically and spiritually in the care of the teachers, staff, volunteers, administration and priests of St. Mark. Sheltered in the sturdy old building which has welcomed over a million students since its founding. Sheltered in an environment where Christ is Loved, Excellence is expected and Character counts.

I know my children are being fed at St. Mark. Fed physically because of the favorite lunch menu items which are anticipated each week. These discussions inevitably lead us to discuss the favorite menu items from our time in grade school. Fed spiritually when I attend all school Mass and watch them participate and sing along and when I get to discuss their faith formation curricula with them over homework or reviewing graded schoolwork. Fed intellectually when I check their homework throughout the week and see their natural curiosity stimulated by the work they are doing in class.

My children are loved at St. Mark. I see this in the friendships which are blooming with classmates. I see this in the care that the older students show for the younger ones. I see it in the way the teachers interact with all of their students. I see it and hear it in the homilies of our priests at Mass and in the genuine care and affection they express for our children. I know my children are loved at St. Mark because we have chosen to make the sacrifices necessary to provide them with this conduit of God’s grace which is St. Mark school and parish.