God, in his infinite grace, blessed the work of early leaders: entrepreneurs who dreamed big and took courageous risks to establish a Christian environment for children.
1872 - St. Marcus School was founded to serve the families of its growing community.
1894 - St. Marcus became the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod’s largest school with over 400 students.
1913-1955 - After a decline in enrollment during the war years, mission-focused leadership drove the school to begin admitting children from outside the congregation.
1950s-1970s – St. Marcus remained committed through the tumultuous years of the Civil Rights Movement, staying the course of racial integration despite the flight of much of the population to the suburbs.
1980s - After hitting a low of 54 students, St. Marcus’ enrollment began to climb again.
1998 - The school’s leadership voted to accept students from the Milwaukee Parental Choice Program, which resulted in an increase of the student body to just over 100 students by 2000. Seats were beginning to fill with children living in the surrounding neighborhood.
2002 - Continued growth and entrepreneurial spirit led St. Marcus to occupy an old YMCA facility nearby for one year with 220 students while a new campus at North and Palmer was constructed with the capacity to serve 300.
2003 - A new building opened under driven, vigorous leadership who articulated and propelled a vision to create one of the best Christian schools in America by combining the power of the Gospel with a rigorous, no excuses philosophy of education.
2005 - As enrollment rose to meet capacity, the Schlueter Center, an expansion of the lower level, was added to allow St. Marcus to serve as many as 360 students.
2008-2013 - With hundreds of students on the waiting list, St. Marcus decided to expand again. A bold vision, unwavering faith, and generous supporters resulted in raising $13 million. This campus expansion allowed St. Marcus to double in size: serving over 740 students in K3 through 8th grade, and graduating 60 students a year fully prepared for high school and positioned to excel in higher education. This expansion added a dedicated primary school building, connected to the 2003 building and a recreational and community space, the B. Bruce Krier Center.
2014 - St. Marcus set its sights on expansion once again to answer the urgent call of increasing early childhood waiting lists. The North Campus, located at the former Centro Educacional Aurora Weier Center four blocks north of St. Marcus’ main campus, opened in the fall of 2014. The North Campus provides access to high-quality education for 100 students in K3 through 1st grade.
2015 - Two new classrooms are constructed at the North Campus during the 2015 summer. Allowing for all K3 classes to be located at the same location and to add a 2nd grade classroom. 160 students in K3-2nd grade were served at the North Campus during the 2015-2016 school year. 700 students in K4-8th grade were served at the Main Campus during the 2015-2016 school year.
2016 - The Courage to Commit comprehensive campaign supports the growth and operations of St. Marcus School with a preliminary goal of $18.8 million. Of that $18.8 million, $10.5 million is expanding the North Campus into a educational center that will have the flexibility to serve 350+ students from K3 to 8th grade; additionally, it will serve as another community resource for school families and neighborhood residents. The C2C capital portion of the campaign also funds property acquisition, Main Campus renovations/additions, green space and an outdoor environmental learning center.
Groundbreaking occurred in December 2015 and two of the four floors opened in August 2016. Build-out of the full site plan, which envisions additional property acquisition and full furnishings, is slated to continue as investments are secured. 200 students in K3-3rd grade are currently enrolled at the North Campus.
This history marks the development of the largest and most successful Lutheran elementary school in the nation. St. Marcus remains one of the oldest operating schools in the city of Milwaukee with a track record of perseverance through change, and positive action in the face of adversity, further serving as an impetus for educational reform in the city of Milwaukee.