St. Andrew’s School has an interesting and inspiring history. Having gone through many changes, the school has kept the core values of our founder, the Reverend William Merrick Chapin, that are still as vibrant as they were more than 100 years ago. St. Andrew’s was founded in 1893 by Father Chapin, the Rector of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Barrington. He was a visionary and man of great generosity of spirit. Among his many accomplishments, he founded several churches and two schools.
St. Andrew’s began when Father Chapin found a homeless boy begging at the Providence train station and provided him a home. Without hesitation, he took the boy in and founded a school. The School was incorporated in 1896 as St. Andrew’s Industrial School and it quickly became an almost self-sustaining community. However, Father Chapin never intended for the School to be based only on an Episcopal foundation: he believed that St. Andrew’s should serve any student who needed it, regardless of race or religious background. This thinking continues today, and has created a small community that is truly as diverse as the world in which we live.
In 1950, the Board of Trustees modified the original charter, removing the word “industrial” from the School’s name and the Statement of Purpose. By the 1960's, farming had become uncertain as a potential career and an economical way of meeting the School’s needs—so the farming program was phased out. In 1964, St. Andrew’s was granted membership in the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). In 1976, under Headmaster Stephen G. Waters, the Board instituted a long-range plan that led to a significant evolution of the School’s policies and operations. The function of providing a home for boys was formally dropped and the focus turned to academics. A program of education for students with learning disabilities was introduced and more emphasis was placed on tuition to balance the operating budget. The School admitted young women in 1981 and in 1982, the Middle School program was formalized.
In 2008, a new Lower School was opened serving students in grades 3-5 which brings back St. Andrew’s to its initial foundation as a school. The Lower School was later closed in 2013 pending a reevaluation with the hopes of starting the program again some time in the future.
Throughout our history, St. Andrew’s Mission of helping students who need an individualized approach to teaching and a nurturing, stable environment in which to live and study has remained intact. As Father Chapin did, St. Andrew’s teachers and administration focus on the individual talents and needs of each student, helping them to discover ways to shine—in the classroom, athletic or artistic pursuits, and in life. St. Andrew's has been and will always be a "Home" for our students.