About Us

Discover La Salle Academy

La Salle Academy's Mission

List of 1 items.

  • To educate young men and women from diverse backgrounds

    with a special concern for the working-class and poor, in the tradition of St. John Baptist de La Salle’s ideals of faith, service, and community, in a Catholic college preparatory school.
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At a Glance

An independent, co-educational, Catholic college preparatory school accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

List of 8 items.

  • $4.1 million

    in Financial Aid and Scholarships (approximately)
  • 1,460

    Total Student Enrollment
  • 1:1

    Male/Female Ratio
  • 12:1

    Student/Teacher Ratio (High School)
  • 1871

    Year Founded
  • 21

    Average Class Size (High School)
  • 50

    Extracurricular Clubs & Activities
  • 64

    Athletic Teams

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  • Additional Facts

    • Under the direction of: De La Salle Christian Brothers
    • High School enrollment: 1,311
    • Middle School enrollment: 197
    • Religious orientation of students: 83% Catholic 17% Non-Catholic 
    • Graduates: 99% of recent graduates matriculate to higher learning.
    • Number of living alumni: 16,000 (approximately)


La Salle Academy History

List of 11 items.

  • Overview

    Founded in 1871, La Salle Academy is an independent coeducational Catholic college preparatory school located in Providence, Rhode Island.  In 2015, De La Salle Middle School was added, serving grades 6-8.  The two schools work to provide students with a quality education by encouraging curiosity, rewarding hard work, and fostering a life-long love of learning.  The La Salle community does this in the tradition of St. John Baptist de La Salle: a man whose ideals of faith, service, and community are honored every day through the La Salle curriculum and culture.
    Accordingly, an essential part of the Academy’s mission is the religious formation of each student. Their community of faith guides students to an awareness of God’s presence in their lives. Our faculty and staff proclaim the gospel of Jesus and accompany their students as they grow towards a deeper appreciation of their own faiths.
    La Salle Academy operates in the President/Principal Leadership Model. This is a premier, high-performing institution with a rich Lasallian ethos that is warm, welcoming, and inclusive.
  • Origins

    The mid-1800s was a time of great upheaval for Catholics in Rhode Island. The entrenched population of the state was unwelcoming and hostile to the steadily rising tide of immigrants, many of whom were Catholic. The state legislature had even amended the Rhode Island State Constitution to limit the voting rights of these new arrivals and also sought to deny them any say in the governance of their communities. On March 23, 1855, in the heart of downtown Providence, several thousand angry “Nativists” marched to the Mercy Sisters’ convent with the intention of burning it to the ground. Backed by several hundred Irish workers, Bishop Bernard O’Reilly and Mayor Edward Knowles confronted the mob and implored them to disperse, which they eventually did.

    This was the hostile environment confronting the Catholic population of Rhode Island as the 1870s began. In general, these new Americans were a group of people struggling to find success in the New World. They were proud of their new country and convinced that their children needed an education that would help them thrive in a land full of more promise and potential than their native lands.

    As a community, these immigrants were convinced that the path to success lay in an education that would allow their children to succeed in ways that they themselves could not. Many sought an education that was also rooted in the Catholic faith and values that they knew to be true and eternal. This dream was best summed up by United States Senator John Pastore, who would one day send his own son to La Salle Academy, when he said: “Let me put it this way. Most of our ancestors, and I refer to my own parents and grandparents, were people of the earth. They were poor. And they left their native lands because they thought there was great opportunity here for their children. When they came, their one aspiration and their one dream was to give their children an education and make them something better than they had been.”

    That desire was the impetus for the Brothers of the Christian Schools to begin their long association with the Diocese of Providence, the poor and working class of Rhode Island, and the thousands of young men and women who have graduated from La Salle Academy over the last 142 years.
  • Growth Years

    Soon La Salle Academy faced a growing demand to meet the needs of the students of the Diocese of Providence. The school was bursting at the seams with students and it became clear to both the Brothers and the Diocese that the Fountain Street building was not big enough to meet the desire for a Lasallian education.

    By 1921, Bishop William Hickey purchased several acres of land at Hazard Farm in the northwest corner of Providence and began construction of a new building to house La Salle. Like the bishops who preceded him, Hickey worked tirelessly to make sure the new La Salle Academy building would be a success. On September 21, 1925, with 40,000 people present at the ceremony, Bishop Hickey welcomed people to the new center of Catholic high school education in the state. La Salle Academy officially opened at its new location, where it remains to this day.

    For the next sixty years, La Salle Academy continued to grow and prosper. Its alumni grew to include many prominent individuals in various circles throughout the country. Graduates included future bishops, priests, Christian Brothers, United States Senators, advisers to United States Presidents, mayors, governors, judges, Pulitzer Prize winners, an Attorney General of the United States, professional athletes and thousands of alumni, alumnae and benefactors who lived their lives infused with values the Brothers of the Christian Schools had instilled in them.
  • Early Years

    From the 1850s through 1871 the bishops who oversaw Rhode Island (the Diocese of Providence was not formally created until 1872) begged the Christian Brothers to start a school in the state. Repeated requests by Bishop O’Reilly were politely turned down because the Brothers simply did not have enough manpower to start a new school in Rhode Island. The requests continued under O’Reilly’s successor Bishop Francis McFarland. Finally, in 1866, the American Provincial of the Christian Brothers promised that as soon as he could spare them, he would send some Brothers to open a school in Providence sponsored by the Diocese. Filled with hope for the future, Bishop McFarland struggled to raise revenue to purchase property that would be the site of a new school for the Brothers once they arrived. By 1870, McFarland had purchased and renovated a building on Fountain Street and had one of his priests, Fr. Henry Kinnerney, along with a lay faculty begin instruction at this building. But it was a school without identity or direction, an institution treading water until someone could provide it with an identity and mission.

    In 1871, three brothers arrived in Providence to operate the school and instill it with the values of their order’s founder, St. John Baptist de La Salle. Brother Ptolemy (Dandurand) became the school’s first principal. The Brothers gave the school direction and purpose and a set of core values that the school still holds dear today. A school, our school, was born.
    With the Brothers’ arrival in the fall of 1871 a new era was about to begin for Catholic education in the state. In 1876, Bishop Thomas Hendricken, who like his predecessors was deeply impressed by the devotion and dedication of the Christian Brothers, gave the school its official name, La Salle Academy, in honor of the founder of the Christian Brothers.  
  • Merger and Expansion Years

    In 1983, Bishop Louis Gelineau announced that two neighboring all-girl schools, St. Mary’s of the Visitation and St. Patrick’s High School, would be merged into La Salle Academy. For the first time in its history, beginning in the fall of 1984, La Salle Academy would be a coeducational school. La Salle’s student population quickly assimilated to the change and soon the school had its first female class president and class valedictorian. Three years later La Salle adopted the president-principal model of leadership for the school. Brother Jerome Corrigan became La Salle Academy’s first president and Brother Frederick Mueller took on the mantle of principal. The presence of young women at La Salle greatly added to its rich tradition. La Salle wouldn’t be the school it is today without the change. As Bro. Michael Mc Kenery, La Salle’s second president, stated:  “I am more convinced than ever that coeducation was the right choice for La Salle at the right time.”
  • Our School Today

    At La Salle, each student is provided with opportunities to recognize and develop physically, intellectually, emotionally, and morally in a Catholic environment. A challenging college preparatory curriculum is balanced by a co-curricular program of parallel strength, with an emphasis on leadership, an appreciation of the arts, and a wide variety of competitive sports.

    La Salle provides an environment that instills a respect for lifelong learning in each of its students. Young people at La Salle become responsible citizens by developing the ability to think critically, logically, and ethically. They learn to communicate effectively, process information efficiently, and use technology to enhance their educational experience and decision-making capabilities. Notably, the La Salle Academy faculty consistently embrace new techniques to meet the evolving standards of educational technology; their goal is to provide students with the best opportunities to learn and achieve excellence.
    As we looks to the future, the Academy’s vision and its recently completed $14M capital campaign, Generations: The Campaign for La Salle, give the school the framework and resources necessary to incorporate new ideas into today’s curriculum, update classrooms to be more collaborative spaces, retain the flexibility for revisions and modifications to meet its future needs and growth, and allow deserving students access to a Lasallian education. La Salle is committed to providing the resources and technology teachers require while also creating innovative and state-of-the-art spaces such as the engineering lab, the innovation lab (a collaborative educational workspace for student centered learning) and the development of new programming in business and entrepreneurial studies.

    The Lasallian Educational Mission extends across 80 countries around the world. With more than 1,000 schools and other educational ministries the Lasallian Mission reaches out to almost one million students in formal settings and thousands more in informal educational settings, such as the programs for street children. Over 88,000 Lasallian men and women minister in these educational institutions alongside more than 2,000 Brothers.
    La Salle Academy is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges and the Rhode Island Department of Education.

    The new century dawned with La Salle Academy continuing its tradition of excellence, committed to the Gospel values of Jesus Christ and its patron saint, St. John Baptist de La Salle. 

    Proud of its tradition and heritage, constantly aware of its origin in, and continued dedication to, educating the children of the working class and the poor, and imbued with incredibly strong values, La Salle Academy students and faculty continue to add to the legacy begun in 1871.
  • Our Campus

    The primary La Salle building houses computer-networked classrooms, a 590-seat auditorium/ performance center, a library, the Brother Michael McKenery Arts Center (with a 350-seat three-quarter stadium theater), an arts area that includes a video studio, dance studio, choral room, band complex, art studios, and a renovated administrative office suite.

    Additional on-campus buildings include: the McLaughlin Athletic Center with three full basketball courts; an indoor practice track; a dance studio, wrestling training facility, and the recently renovated Strength and Conditioning Center.

    The Shea Science Building houses 11 combined laboratory/classrooms as well as our student center and cafeteria, Campus Ministry Suite and meditation chapel.

    Outdoor facilities include: Cimini Stadium and Cronin Fields, featuring a synthetic turf for soccer, football, and lacrosse (with bleachers seating 1,800); a synthetic turf baseball field; an all-weather 400m track; tennis courts and outdoor pavilion, a concession stand; and restroom facilities. Construction on a new synthetic turf Softball Field and Track and Field Throwing Complex will be completed for the 2023 Spring season. 
  • Academics

    La Salle Academy offers a rigorous college preparatory program; high school students carry six subjects (freshmen must carry 6.5), as well as physical education.  At the core of the curriculum are courses in math, social studies, world languages, science, the arts, and religious studies.  In addition to passing required courses for graduation credit, students are asked to enroll in elective courses to broaden their education and nurture academic passions.

    A highlight of the La Salle curriculum is the La Salle Scholars Program. Within every academic community, there are students who are blessed with an advanced capacity for learning. The La Salle Scholars Program is carefully designed to optimize the intellectual and personal growth of these gifted high school students, by offering each an opportunity to broaden and deepen knowledge, and to explore a college and career focus. Thus, the La Salle Scholars Program builds on La Salle Academy’s long tradition of educational excellence. Students are invited and recommended by faculty to consider the additional rewards of this extraordinary learning opportunity.
    La Salle Academy also recognizes the hidden potential in some of its students through the Freshman Transition Program. The mission of the Freshman Transition Program is to develop the academic and personal potential of ninth grade students whose prior academic records indicate basic skill deficiencies.
    Likewise, the La Salle Explorer Program is designed for bright students with diagnosed, mild learning differences. This four-year program provides daily one on one teacher-to-student instruction outside of class time, at an additional tuition cost to the families involved.

    In keeping with La Salle’s mission to be an inclusive Catholic school and guide the individual student, both the Freshman Transition Program and the La Salle Explorers Program, provide a safe, caring, and responsive environment designed to help students achieve the academic, personal, and social changes necessary for success. They provide for individual needs using modified curricular design; develop students’ study skills with emphasis on learning how to learn; deal with the basic concepts in each subject area in a disciplined, structured way; provide opportunities to apply content and processes to real life situations; and carefully monitor the academic and social progress of each student.

    La Salle Academy demonstrates a concern for each individual student and seeks to provide all students a holistic approach in their education.  Every student is provided with the opportunities to recognize and to develop intellectually, artistically, physically, emotionally, and morally in a Catholic environment. La Salle Academy’s experienced College Counseling team provides comprehensive support to students and their families throughout the college selection and application process. By working closely with class deans and faculty, counselors help students find a post-secondary option that best fits their strengths, interests, and goals.
  • The Arts

    In the Fine Arts Department, La Salle Academy offers students the resources and facilities necessary to express themselves in a creative, healthy, positive, and artistic way. The school provides opportunities for artistic expression in the classroom through Music, Theatre, Dance, Fine and Visual Arts, Video Production, and Storytelling. The Fine Arts Department aims to equip students with the 21st century skills of collaboration, creativity, communication, and expression (respect for all persons). Students are beginning to decide who they are and define their identity within their communities, skills we encourage as part of their development.

    Students enter La Salle in their Freshman year with an Introduction to the Arts course, where they will take rotations of Drama, Music, and Visual Art. From there, they are able to pick an arts track in one of those areas and take advanced coursework in that discipline. Students have the opportunity to further their skills and apply what they learn in the classroom to our myriad after school arts activities. La Salle’s performing arts activities include La Salle Players (theatre company), La Salle Concert Choir, Boys and Girls A Cappella, Dance Club, and Voices Inc. (a performance poetry group).
    In addition to the performing arts programming, opportunities in La Salle Arts offer something for every type of artist. For example, the Film Society hosts special topics symposiums throughout the year. (Past topics have included “Race and Film,” “Women in the Media,” “Celluloid Politics,” and “The Suburbs, from Sitcoms to The Simpsons.”) There is also a group of budding sports broadcasters who run an online broadcast network. Shows on the network alternate between a “sports wrap” program and the WLSA bi-weekly morning news show. For those who prefer to be behind the camera, the Photography Club introduces students to traditional wet darkroom processes, as well as editing processes for digital photography. Club Members are able to share and discuss their work and are encouraged to enter high school photography competitions.
  • Rams Athletics

    La Salle athletics reinforce the school’s mission by providing opportunities for training, physical conditioning, and healthy competition. This programming not only helps students develop their physical talents, but also strengthens their mental dexterity through exploring the strategy and intricacies of a sport. Participation in athletics furthers La Salle’s mission by helping students learn how to make positive contributions by encouraging responsibility, fostering persistent effort, and promoting self- awareness. With all of this in their minds and hearts, the La Salle Rams compete in 30 different varsity sports, and also field many junior varsity and freshman teams. La Salle Academy is a charter member of the Rhode Island Interscholastic League (RIIL), operates within its framework, and also competes against out-of-state teams.
  • Student Life Beyond the Classroom

    Life at La Salle beyond the classroom is rich and vibrant, providing numerous opportunities for students to pursue an existing passion...or discover a new one.

    Currently, La Salle offers more than 60 clubs and activities that allow students to test their boundaries and learn lessons that are impossible to teach within the parameters of a traditional academic curriculum. To be sure, some of these clubs directly complement students’ academic skills, such as the Academic Decathlon team (which competes against other Rhode Island high schools in academic disciplines such as science, math, literature, art, and music), Model United Nations, and Debate Club. Meanwhile, other clubs focus on the Lasallian commitment to serve others (e.g., Lasallian Youth – an international organization of young people who put their faith into action – or the Social Concerns Group—a group devoted to helping the poor of Rhode Island, as well as La Salle’s twinned school in Kenya). Still others invite students to broaden their horizons by learning about foreign languages and cultures or delving into challenging activities like chess or fencing.

    Campus Ministry offers programs designed to minister to the spiritual and religious needs of the entire La Salle Academy family in a manner that is both inviting and respectful of each person’s faith tradition and personal experience. Campus Ministry programs are open to persons of all faiths and denominations. The programs include morning prayer and reflections – offered by both faculty and students; school liturgies, the sacrament of reconciliation, and opportunities for prayer and reflection; a retreat program for each grade level; six service trips over February, April, and summer vacations; ongoing opportunities for service in the local community; and a daily pastoral presence for students in need of spiritual or emotional support throughout the day.
La Salle Academy is a high school rich in history and grounded in the person and teachings of Jesus and the Catholic faith, which are core to the school's life and culture. The De La Salle Middle School provides a strong holistic foundation for students to transition into high school. The high school and middle school provide students of diverse ethnic, economic, and religious backgrounds, a community to foster growth in the tradition of St. John Baptist de La Salle’s ideals of faith, service, and community.