Sacred Heart Schools has served the Louisville area community for nearly 140 years, committed to helping students to grow from learners to leaders.  Click on the tabs below to learn about our long and illustrious history.


A request for teachers to the Ursuline Sisters of Germany came from Louisville. Three young Ursulines answered the request, traveling to Louisville to teach German immigrant children at St. Martin’s school. By 1859, the Sisters had established Ursuline Academy at the corner of Shelby and Chestnut streets.


The Sisters incorporated the Ursuline Society and Academy of Education.


In the 1870s, more space was needed to accommodate the growing number of sisters, students and boarders. The community purchased property on Workhouse Road (later known as the Lexington Road campus).


In October, classes began in an existing farmhouse, and the Academy of the Sacred Heart opened for grades 1 through 12.


Fire severely damaged the original Academy of the Sacred Heart building.


Sacred Heart Junior College, offering two-year degrees, was established on the campus.


The Academy became two schools: Sacred Heart Academy, a high school for girls, and Sacred Heart Model School, a grade school for boys and girls. Student teachers from Sacred Heart College performed their teaching practicum at the school, which is the reason for the word “Model” in the school’s name. Two years later, construction began on SHA’s own building. Construction also began on Ursula Auditorium.


Sacred Heart Junior College became a four-year college and was renamed Ursuline College.


In the 1940s, additional land was needed for the growing student population. Six additional acres of land known as the Barker Place on the eastern edge of the Lexington Road campus was purchased.


By the early 1950s, the Model School had outgrown the 100-year-old building where it was housed. Without funding for new construction, the sisters decided to close the school.


Parents and the Ursuline Sisters were determined to save the popular school, and on May 27, 1955, the cornerstone was laid for a new Sacred Heart Model School.


A third Ursuline high school was built near St. Lawrence Church in Shively, Kentucky. It was named Angela Merici High School.


On January 16, 1962, ground was broken for a new Sacred Heart Academy. It included a cafeteria, auditorium/gym, chapel and convent.


The Ursuline Special Education Center for children with learning disabilities opened thanks to generous donors, including WHAS-TV’s Crusade for Children.


The Ursuline Montessori School (now Sacred Heart Preschool) opened in September of 1967. Modeled after the classic work of Dr. Maria Montessori, the school’s aim is to nurture and cultivate each child’s own natural desire to learn. One year later, the Ursuline School of Music (now Sacred Heart School for the Arts) opened to serve the various schools on the Ursuline Campus and in the community. The school is open to students of all ages.


Ursuline College became part of Bellarmine College and moved from its Ursuline Campus location.


Recognizing the need to provide additional childcare for working parents who had children enrolled in SHMS or the Ursuline Montessori School, the Ursuline Sisters opened the Ursuline Child Development Center (now Sacred Heart Preschool).


After studying the feasibility of sponsorship (a ministry of influence) and separately incorporating their community-owned schools, the Ursuline Congregation proposed that some schools and programs on the Ursuline campus be separate from the Ursuline Society and Academy of Education.


On June 26, 1990, Ursuline Campus Schools, Inc. became a separate corporation sponsored by the Ursuline Sisters of Louisville and included Sacred Heart Academy, Sacred Heart Model School, Ursuline Child Development Center, Ursuline Montessori School and Ursuline School for the Performing Arts.


On August 15, 2008, Ursuline Campus Schools officially changed its corporate name to Sacred Heart Schools at Ursuline Campus (SHS). From this evolved the following school names: Sacred Heart Academy, Sacred Heart Model School, Sacred Heart Preschool and Sacred Heart School for the Arts.


In May 2010, Sacred Heart Schools announced it had surpassed its $9.55 million Ursuline United Capital Campaign goal. The campaign, just the second and by far the largest undertaken by the school, kicked off in November 2004. The capital campaign projects included the state-of-the-art renovation and expansion of the Ursuline Arts Center and Tom and Barbara Thieneman Atrium; construction of a new Sacred Heart Model School gym; renovation of Sacred Heart Academy’s four science labs; construction of the Cissy Musselman Connector and fitness room at SHA; redesign of SHA’s front entrance, which includes a lit tower; creation of the R. F. Joseph Amphitheater and a piazza with a life size statue of St. Angela; and, construction of two new roads to link the east and west sides of campus.


Sacred Heart Schools was granted District Accreditation from the AdvanED Accreditatino Commission. Sacred Heart Schools, and each of its four member schools, are now recognized across the nation as a quality school system.

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