Who We Are

Mission & Values

“Instilling Catholic values and promoting academic excellence by nurturing mind, body and soul.”

This mission complements our previous mission, "To Teach as Jesus Did". This is a call to our staff, parents and community as to how we are to teach. The goal of our teaching is expressed in the new mission statement. Thus, as we strive "To Teach as Jesus Did", our goal is "Instilling Catholic values and promoting academic excellence by nurturing mind, body and soul."


The Aberdeen Catholic School System is accredited by the state of South Dakota. This accreditation confirms the school system is in compliance with state laws and administrative rules, and has in place a comprehensive plan that promotes sound educational practices for the purpose of continuous improvement.

The Aberdeen Catholic School is also accredited by the AdvancedEd Association. This voluntary Accreditation was developed more than 100 years ago by American universities and secondary schools. Accreditation engages the school community in meeting high quality standards, implementing a continuous improvement process, and engaging in quality assurance through an internal and external review.

Learn more about AdvancedEd.

Continuous Improvement NCA Goals:

  1. All students’ math proficiency will increase. The focus of this goal will be to improve students’ math application, problem solving and reasoning skills.
  2. All students and staff will experience a safe and welcoming environment that instills Catholic values and nurtures mind, body and soul.

Roncalli school entrance sign


Catholic education has served Aberdeen for over 135 years. The first Catholic school was established inside Sacred Heart Church in 1886, and a freestanding school was built a few years later.

St. Mary's and Sacred Heart parishes each built elementary school buildings, serving grades 1 through 8, in 1912 and 1913 respectively. The Benedictine and Presentation Sisters were the primary teachers in the schools for many decades. Roncalli High School was established in 1964. Roncalli Junior High, grades 7 and 8, was established in 1969 at Sacred Heart School. In 1988, those students moved to the high school, which became Roncalli Junior/Senior High School.

In 1980, the Aberdeen Catholic School System was consolidated and Sacred Heart and St. Mary's Schools were renamed Roncalli. Kindergarten was also added to the educational program. In 1988-89 school year, the Roncalli Sonshine Patch Preschool/Daycare Program was created. In 2002-2004, ACSS demolished its elementary buildings and built Roncalli Primary School (preK-2) and Roncalli Elementary School (3-6).

In 2023, ACSS reconfigured its layout and created a true middle school (6-8 grade) to better align with the developmental and emotional needs of all students. Currently, the Primary school houses PreK-1, the Elementary school houses 2-5, and the Middle/High school houses 6-12.

Roncalli is the family name of St. Pope John XXIII (Angelo Roncalli) who captured the imagination of the entire world and changed the hearts of millions in a short space of time. Elected Pope on October 28, 1958, he was expected to be only an "interim" pope, but he changed the course of modern Christianity by summoning the Second Vatican Council to deal specifically with the question of Christian unity. Under his leadership, many sweeping changes were made to help the church meet the challenges of modern times.

When first opened in 1964 the high school was known as Central Catholic. However, the students petitioned then-Bishop Hoch to consider the name Roncalli for their new school. In his letter of approval, Bishop Hoch wrote, "It is singularly significant that the generation of Catholic youth in Aberdeen was so keenly aware of his (Roncalli's) greatness that they chose his name to be the name of their high school."

Roncalli is dedicated to the same objective as that of St. Pope John XXIII - equipping Catholic youth to meet the challenge of modern times educationally, socially and spiritually.

Learn more about our history and faith >