The Springfield Dominican Sisters were appointed to open St. Bernadette Parish School in August of 1949. Sr. Benedict was the first principal and Fr. O'Brien was the founding pastor. Seven sisters served the educational needs of 365 pupils in the newly constructed twelve-room school building.
The first graduating class in 1950 consisted of 15 students. By 1952 the three classrooms formerly used as convent housing were needed, so a new convent was built for the sisters. In 1954 a second school building, "The Primary Building", was made ready for use. The total enrollment at that time was 774. The second floor of the primary building was needed for classes by 1959. An additional four classrooms were added to the main building in 1961. Enrollment grew to 1,257 children by 1965. In 1975, St. Bernadette School was one of the first Catholic schools to open a Preschool. In 1994, an Extended Day Program was opened to provide for the needs of working parents.
The Essential Learning Solutions Lab (ELS), a computerized therapy program that strengthens students' learning patterns and permanently improves academic performance, was established at St. Bernadette School in 1996. Sr. Mary Ventura, Dominican Sister, was appointed Director of this program. The ELS enrollment grew rapidly and has made a lasting difference in the lives of many children.
In 2010, St. Bernadette School became a “model” for the Archdiocese and became a multiage academy fostering Inquiry Learning skills and the implementation of technology in all curricular areas. Our school was renamed "St. Bernadette Catholic Academy", an appropriate name, as we became “a school of specialized learning”, the very definition of the word "academy".
Although it was closed in 2014, we are still very proud of the history of St. Bernadette School and the accomplishments of its alumni. Many returned for the final Mass for St. Bernadette School on May 31, 2014, and some even attended the last day of school on June 6, 2014.