St. Thomas More School is a parish elementary school located in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Students are enrolled in kindergarten through eighth grades. The school was established in 1969 and had additions built in 1983, 1993, 2010 and 2015. The parish campus consists of a school building, the church, the rectory, Family Center, and the convent.
In order to ease the overcrowding at St. Catharine of Sienna Parish, Bishop McShea announced in May 1966 the formation of a new parish located west of Allentown. Five hundred families at that time formed the core of a parish community to be known as St. Thomas More which was under the direction of pastor Monsignor Robert J. Coll. The current pastor is Monsignor John P. Murphy, and there are currently over 3300 families that make up the parish community.
St. Thomas More School
The main building, which is connected to the Primary Learning Center, houses students in grades three through eight. There are three to four classrooms of students for each of these grades. The junior high grades (grades seven and eight) attend major subject classes in their own two-story wing which includes eight classrooms, Professional Development Library for faculty, and four offices. A second science lab, used by all grades, a math classroom for grades 5-8, and a Project Based Learning space were added in the 2015 expansion connecting the junior high wing to the PLC. The main building accommodates a large computer lab, an expansive library, a large art room, a music room, a large gymnasium/auditorium with a stage and pull-out bleachers for productions, and a science lab. The students eat lunch in the Family Center which is also used for parish receptions and meetings. Student lunches are prepared in a large professional kitchen located off the Family Center. A school administration office, a health suite, a conference room, several learning resource rooms, Student Development Office for two school counselors, two teacher work rooms/lounges, and a separate faculty dining room are also located in the main building.
Primary Learning Center
The Primary Learning Center (PLC), which is connected to the main building, holds the classrooms for kindergarten, first, and second grade. The PLC has its own primary gym, library, and its own computer lab. These classrooms provide a self-contained environment for the students; however, students have lunch in the main building and attend assemblies there. The PLC also has offices for the Primary School Assistant Principal, STM staff and IU 21 Staff.
There are currently two libraries in the school, one in the Primary Learning Center (PLC) and one in the main building. The combined facilities and materials are more than adequate for the students and faculty.
The library in the PLC contains primary books and magazines and is used by kindergarten, first, and second grades. There is adequate seating on steps for one class for story time and/or instruction. A table with eight stools provides an area for student reading.
The main library, which supports third through eighth grades, has seating for an entire class at tables and chairs, as well as seating on
the steps in the story alcove. There is a separate research section with tables and chairs, surrounded by the collection of print encyclopedias and other reference books. Study carrels are set apart from the general area. In addition, an enclosed room with a table and chairs is used for private small group instruction.
Shelving space adequately holds the collection of more than 10,000 volumes with room for expansion. Conveniently located special shelving in the main library holds magazines, atlases, professional and parent materials. There is a large workroom adjacent to the library that has more than adequate space for processing and repairing books and for storage of audio/visual materials.
The school currently has two technology labs. One lab is located in the PLC for kindergarten, first, and second grade classes. This lab is used for a program called Imagination Station which focuses on improving students’ reading skills.
In the main building, the iLab contains 27 MacBooks that are used for computer education programs as well as various STREAM based learning opportunities. The computer lab is also available at other times for teachers to bring individual classes to work on projects.
Students eat lunch in the Family Center, a large dining room that is also used by the parish as a banquet/reception facility. The Family Center is a part of the main building and has a large kitchen attached where lunches are prepared. The cafeteria is run by two coordinators with the assistance of a staff of volunteers. Approximately 750 hot lunches are prepared and served to students and faculty each day. Students may choose a full meal, an entree, or a salad meal and also are provided a selection of nutritious beverages. Carbonated soft drinks are not offered.
There is a large mulch playground next to soccer fields. This playground is enjoyed by various grades at varied times for class recess time as well as during lunch recess. It has a large modern play gym, ample running room and is located next to the soccer fields.
The school grounds also include a set of large soccer fields. These are open to students during lunch recess and are also used for gym classes during appropriate weather.
The school and church grounds are adorned with beautiful flower gardens. Tucked between two parts of the main building is a special garden called the Grotto. Designed after the Grotto at Lourdes, it is a rock garden filled with plants and flowers. A beautiful statue of Mary overlooks the Grotto and all who visit it. A park bench is serenely situated in the Grotto for reflection.