New Sunset District Middle School

07/14/17 - posted by Frank Dunnigan - dunnigan<at>

Six weeks from now, on August 25, 2017, the Father Sauer Academy will open on the 37th Avenue campus of St. Ignatius College Prep with 26 brand-new 6th grade students. Named for Fr. Anthony Sauer, SJ—S.I.’s longest-serving President from 1979-2006—the Academy is a full-scholarship middle-school for academically-gifted boys and girls from low-income families who are presently enrolled in the San Francisco public school system.

Karen Hammen, former Vice-Principal at St. Peter’s School in the Mission District, is the Academy’s first Director. She has already hired the Academy's two teachers: Deonna Smith for math and science, plus Connor Geraghty for language arts and social science—both with extensive teaching backgrounds and fluent Spanish language skills, as nearly one-third of the incoming students have Spanish as their first language.

Only the 6th grade will be in place this year, with new groups of 25 students added each year as the present students advance into grades 7 and 8. The Academy is expected to reach its full enrollment of 75 students in August of 2019. It is anticipated that Academy graduates will transition directly into S.I. for grades 9—12.

This is not S.I.’s first experience with middle school. (NOTE: Builder Henry Doelger was a graduate of "St. Ignatius Grammar School" until he left prior to attending St. Ignatius High School in order to work and support his widowed mother and siblings.) Grade levels 6/7/8 were included in the school’s early years on Market Street (1855-1880), Hayes & Van Ness (1880-1906), and Hayes & Shrader (1906-1929). In the 1920s, with the expansion of San Francisco’s K-8 parochial school system, S.I.’s curriculum was re-focused solely on grades 9—12.

Best wishes to the Sunset District’s newest middle school!

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