Founded in 1960 by the Reverend G. Ernest Lynch, St. Richard’s has a distinctive academic tradition in Indianapolis. The only independent Episcopal day school in Indiana, it was patterned intentionally after the parish day schools of Great Britain and incorporates the best aspects of that educational system (see). In keeping with the British tradition, St. Richard’s introduces skills and concepts to students at an earlier age than its public and private counterparts, and the curriculum reflects unusual breadth and depth as well as high academic expectations. Foreign language instruction is required at every grade level.
The original faculty members were British, brought to the United States specifically to teach at St. Richard’s. The British influence carries over into the school’s architecture. Like adjoining Trinity Episcopal Church, with which it is affiliated, St. Richard’s is built in the medieval English Country Gothic style.
The school has long-standing ties to the city’s African American community, welcoming racial diversity since its inception. Socioeconomic diversity also has been important to the St. Richard’s community.
Starting with a kindergarten of 18 students in the autumn of 1960, St. Richard’s encompassed transitional kindergarten through the eighth grade by the early 1990s. In addition to honoring St. Richard of Chichester, an English saint and scholar, the name Richard also commemorates the then retiring Episcopal bishop of Indianapolis, the Right Reverend Richard A. Kirchhoffer, who was interested in education and the parish school concept. No other school in the United States has the name of St. Richard’s. The school includes three sections: Early Childhood, Lower School, and Middle School.
In 1998, school governance was altered to make it more autonomous. This change of policy led St. Richard’s to become financially independent from Trinity Episcopal Church in 2004. The school acquired property on 33rd Street for expansion and initiated a major fundraising campaign in 2017. To carry out this expansion, five properties on Meridian Street between 32nd and 33rd streets were demolished.
The expansion included an Early Childhood Center, with two pre-kindergarten classrooms, two junior-kindergarten classrooms, and flex space for additional classrooms and activities. The expansion also included state-of-the-art science classrooms and laboratories and creative space for the arts, as well as campus improvements and beautification. The project cost over $5 million and was completed in 2019.
In 2021, 32 percent of St. Richard’s 283 students were children of color or from a non-majority culture. The school remains dedicated to its policy of diversity, equity, and inclusion.