A new vision begins...
In 1994, a group of parents met with a former pastor, Monsignor James J. Haddad, to explore the feasibility of opening a middle school. At the time Saint Joseph Elementary School was a K-8 school.
After careful consideration, Monsignor Haddad decided to move forward with building a new middle school that would offer a rigorous, comprehensive academic program based on the philosophy that young adolescents learn best when exposed to learning experiences that are highly experiential, authentic and interdisciplinary in nature.
Committees were formed to develop plans for the new school and ground was broken for the new building in the Spring of 1995. Saint Joseph Middle School opened its doors to students at the start of the school year in September 1995 while the new building was still under construction. The new building officially opened on March 19, 1996.
A total of 115 students enrolled for the first year. There were six homerooms - one in grade eight, two in grade seven and three in grade six. A new faculty was in place – most newly hired. Four teachers transferred into the middle school from the elementary school and taught social studies/religion, language arts, art and computer technology.
The principal and faculty developed a strong curriculum backed by the acquisition of top quality learning resources. Foreign language was expanded, music was added and the health curriculum was put in place. Science and math curricula were reformed. The school day was lengthened 30 minutes to accommodate the new program of studies.
Enrollment gradually increased over the years which necessitated additional space for classroom instruction. During the summer of 2001, ground was broken for a new Parish Center that now houses a dining room, two science labs, a state-of-the-art technology center and a regulation size gymnasium. The Parish Center opened in late March 2002. During the summer of 2002, the library was relocated to connect the upper school with the lower school and new guidance and health service offices were created.
The middle school, named for Monsignor James. J. Haddad, is a lasting legacy to the pastor whose vision made the school possible. Currently, Monsignor Haddad Middle School comfortably houses three grade six homerooms, three grade seven homerooms and three grade eight homerooms. The student body has increased to 200 students serviced by a staff of 25 professionals. It is considered the flagship Catholic middle school in the Archdiocese of Boston!
Reverend Monsignor James J. Haddad
Reverend Monsignor James J. Haddad died August 9, 2007. He was 74.
In 1988, Monsignor Haddad was named pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Needham. During these years, the parish flourished with more than 40 lay-led organizations. The parish built a new middle school and a parish center, and completely renovated the convent for a new Kindergarten Center. In October 2002, Monsignor Haddad was awarded the Cardinal Cushing Medal for Service to the Missionary Society of St. James. In 1996, he was named the second recipient of the Alumni Award for Excellence in Religion by Boston College. In 1987, he was named a Knight of the Holy Sepulcher and in 1998, he was named a monsignor by the late Pope John Paul II. When Monsignor Haddad retired in 2005, his parishioners and friends gave him a gift in excess of $80,000, all of which he promptly donated to the St. James’ Society to build a clinic and church in Peru.
Our Father, Who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen.—The Lord's Prayer