‘The Greatest Gift our Parents Gave us was Each Other’

November 8, 2019


by Doug Robinson

Nestled deep off the main drag of Route 3A in Litchfield, St. Francis of Assisi School epitomizes every parents’ dream for their child of receiving an education filled with the knowledge and teaching of Christ’s love.

The St. Francis of Assisi campus is located on a “beautiful 14-acre campus, along the rolling Merrimack River in the farming community of Litchfield, New Hampshire,” states stfrancisofassisi.net/school.

St. Francis prides their educational and innovative approach toward education that is both “Balanced with a price tag and curriculum that will accommodate all. We welcome everybody and we will work with everyone to make it work,” according to Principal Mark Schwerdt.

Year after year, student enrollments continue to climb, and families who live up to an hour away travel to St. Francis of Assisi to have their children educated.  With ratios averaging 10 students per teacher, students receive a personalized education and caring attention from St. Francis educators.

Recently, longtime St. Francis teacher, Ann Jones, was honored to receive NH Catholic School Teacher of the Year.  In her acceptance speech, she said, “I want to thank each and every one of your for this recognition.  This award is not about the recognition of an individual.  It is the recognition of a community.  Each of us, administrators, family members, parents, staff, and teachers make up that community.  The whole is far greater than any one part.”

Jones’ words resonate throughout the school as more than 130 students, ages 3 through sixth grade, participate in a learning experience that is not only inclusive, but also inviting.

St. Francis of Assisi has pioneered a curriculum that embodies the respect and the dignity for all children.  “We are the first Catholic education school which not only has invited and accommodated those with special needs, we have also established programs, and policies which will help all incoming students learn to their potential,” continued Schwerdt.

Continuing, Schwerdt stated, “At St. Francis School in Litchfield, we are proud to announce a new program that will help pave the way in New Hampshire for all children to receive the great gift of a Catholic education.  It has always been our express intent to remove any barriers that stand in the way of families who desire a Catholic education for their children.  With our pilot special education program we are now ready to provide children with learning disabilities the opportunity to learn and grow in an environment steeped in faith, hope, and love.”

Three certified special education teachers have been added to its staff, and they are dedicated to the needs of those students who need an individual service plan. Protocols, programs, and service teams have designed programs to fully support the requirements of all students who need a specialized and personalized learning structure.

“We are a community that provides the environment and possibilities for students to succeed.  Ultimately, it is the success of our students that garners the attention leading to this event.  Our students are successful because of the leadership and service each of us dedicates to our education and faith communities,” stated Jones.

St. Francis of Assisi is “a joyful school with a curriculum that provides a lasting foundation in what is good, true, and beautiful.  We offer this at the most formative time in a child’s life, namely, the beginning,” according to stfrancisofassisi.net/school.

“Dedicated teachers and staff who support the intellectual, moral, and spiritual development of each student: Preschool (age 3) through sixth grade.  Enriching extracurriculars in gym, music, Latin, Spanish, natural science, art, library, band, and computer science.”