St. John XXIII in Middletown isn’t your typical Catholic elementary school.

It sits on a 17-acre campus on Manchester Road and has classrooms, athletic fields and a gymnasium more suited for a high school than an elementary school.

The pre-K through eight school has occupied the former Bishop Fenwick High School building since 2004 when Fenwick moved to its current campus in Franklin.

“What really sets us apart is this incredible campus, which is unheard of for a Catholic elementary school,” says Principal Dawn Pickerill. “We’re really blessed.”

St. John XXIII is named for the pontiff who was canonized a saint of the Catholic Church last April. The school was created in 1973 with the consolidation of three schools: Holy Trinity, begun in 1867; St. John’s, established in 1880; and St. Mary’s, started in 1952.

St. John XXIII, which has 430 students and a staff of 46, is affiliated with Holy Family parish in Middletown, but draws students from school districts in three counties, including Monroe, Franklin, Edgewood, Lakota, Lebanon, Madison, Springboro, Camden and Germantown.

The large campus, with its own football field and gymnasium, allows St. John XXIII to offer athletic programs unlike many other schools. That includes football, soccer, cheerleading, boys and girls volleyball and basketball, track, baseball, softball and lacrosse, and golf.

“We have a very active athletic board,” says Pickerill. “If there’s an interest, they’ll do everything in their power to play that sport.”

On the academic side, the school has an average class size of 22 students. It offers Spanish in grades K through eight and an advanced math program.

Because of the high school-certified teachers on staff, it is possible for students to earn high school algebra, geometry and Spanish credit for their work at St. John XXIII.

A program for gifted and talented students begins with grade four and the school offers year-round art classes, physical education classes twice a week, and computer lab at least once a week at one of the school’s two computer labs. One is devoted to PCs and the other to laptops. In addition, the school has a roving iPad cart, with 30 iPads for teachers to use in their classes.

“We also have what I consider a phenomenal fine arts program,” Pickerill says. “ We have choir, glee club and an art club. All meet after school at no additional cost.”

Music is a year-round, not one semester, program at St. John XXIII, with band an option for students in grades five through eight.

Other activities include the Accelerated Reader software program to develop reading comprehension, Ohio’s the Power of the Pen program and the Builders Club, a public service activity with the Kiwanis Club.

The tuition is $3,248 for Holy Family parishioners and $4,090 for non-parishioners, and there are opportunities for financial assistance. The school offers several different pre-kindergarten programs and also offers before- and after-school programs.

For more information, contact the school at 513-424-1196 or visit