"We are best known for academic excellence and balance."
Students enrolled 760
Hours 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
School leader Sharon Taylor
Transportation options Yes
Before school Yes
After school Yes

Contact this school

7 Pursuit
Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

School website
(949) 448-9027
(949) 448-0605
Nearby homes for sale
Map of St. Mary's School address.

4 stars
Based on 84 ratings

Let others know what you
think about this school

August 19, 2014
This is a school for SAHM that have a full time job in managing image . It is my sincere wish with the recent changes (or firings) , more Christian values and heart are invested in promoting an accepting Christian community. I respect other comments about their experience with admissions and getting introduced/welcomed to the community. We had a start contrast compared to those families. I understand the strategy was to cater to high income families, I wish I had know this before signing up my children into lower school, we are middle to upper- middle class christian non pretentious family. Although we can afford this school comfortably, we left in spite of the good academics, beautiful campus, good teachers. It is not the environment and values I want to raise my children, they are now in a good cost effective private christian school, and I now see how much Christian values were left behind at St Mary s . This is a beautiful campus and I think they mean well, but they need to figure out what they want to be: 1) school for the rich and wanna be famous, or 2) Good ol' American middle to upper middle class families with Christian Values?

- submitted by a parent
August 06, 2014
Many families left not only because of the constantly increasing tuitions but the low academics. We had high expectations coming from another private school but were quickly disappointed /disillusioned.. No personal attention to kids in difficulties despite low teacher-students. No personal feedbacks other than the routine teacher meetings at the end of the semester. Unacceptable excuses like "teacher is coaching sports" therefore not available for over 2 months for after school tutoring!! Thank god we realized our kid's level when compared to public schools and took action. Very little return for all high expectations of the "only IB program of OC"...Yes, nice campus but who cares when there is little substance behind? Constant fund raising process!! Perhaps this "business" approach explains why the head of the school was fired this year? Finally our child was bullied all year long and despite multiple complaints not much progress was made. They were not aware nor cared when informed. The amount of "foul language" and inappropriate words with " sexual contents" learned during this year at SMMC deserves a 4 stars rating for the school! Great job of teaching kids Christian values!

- submitted by a parent
May 20, 2014
We chose St. Mary's over two of the best NB priv schools and have been so happy with our decision. Our child is at the end of her kindergarten year and it's unbelievable to see her growth both academically and socially. Her teachers are passionate and transparent, involving us regularly with regards to her learning/social development. St. Mary's checks all the boxes: Small class size...check! Art, music, science, spanish, STEM, PE...check! Christian enrichment, service learning, focus on values kindness, helping others/the earth...check! Global perspective, IB curriculum...check! Our child had severe separation anxiety entering kinder and it lasted all of one week! Now she LOVES her school and has gained so much confidence. I disagree with the reviews that the school is materialistic and exclusive. We are not "wealthy" but in fact make sacrifices to send our daughter here, and we have NEVER felt out of place or excluded. Just the opposite. One of the things I love about SMAA is the sense of community...that it's not just a "drop off" school...that you walk your kids in and get to know their friend's parents. The best gift you can give your child is a good education.

- submitted by a parent
May 13, 2014
We came from another private school, Harbor Day to be exact, and this school has been a dream come true. Everything my children so badly needed; a diverse and multi-cultural demographic, an enriching curriculum which didn't bore them to tears with mundane repetition, and happiness.....that key word that makes us parents do anything for our children.....it all has happened here at St. Mary's. The IB program is multi-faceted and allows children to be exposed and take interest in real life issues while learning all about prepositions, math facts, and composition.....all critical to a great foundation. Everything you can imagine is being addressed. The enrichment classes alone were one of our main deciding factors...from football, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, cheerleading, chess, ceramics, dance, literature, language, origami, robotics, and too many instruments to mention....this school is literally like a small college campus. but the MOST amazing thing about the school for us is that they are receptive.....receptive to ideas and receptive to parent's and children's needs. Finally, a private school that listens!

- submitted by a parent
May 08, 2014
We couldn t be happier with St. Mary s for our 6th grade son. I have been so impressed by the teachers. They are creative in their teaching style not just lectures, notes and a test. In addition, the teachers are available after school if students want extra 1x1 help. Finally, his report cards include several paragraphs from each teacher. The teachers know exactly who he is, how he learns and what he needs to do to reach his potential. In addition, we have been struck by how warm and welcoming the St. Mary s community is. Since he entered as a 6th grader, I expected the transition to be a little rocky, as he was leaving good friends behind at our neighborhood school. Instead, he has been extremely happy since day one. There is a pervasive sense of warmth and kindness from students, teachers, and other families. Finally, the extra-curricular activities are terrific. Our son has joined the after school sports teams. He has played sports he has played for years and tried new ones. It has been a fantastic way to get to know his class-mates, while doing something he loves. And he loves playing for his school so proud to be a Falcon.

- submitted by a parent
May 07, 2014
Our son has been attending the middle school program since the fall. We came from a public school looking for a smaller classroom experience. St. Mary's has provided more than we could have imagined. The academics are terrific - we were a tad nervous that the IB program and middle school scheduling might prove to be exhausting and overwhelming but we are watching our son thrive. His writing has improved tremendously with a very strong understanding of the fundamentals of structure and an expanded vocabulary. He is well supported in the classroom, online (fabulous interaction from home) and the teachers are very available after school daily. The teachers are passionate and there is a true dedication to each student's success that is heartwarming. Socially, St. Mary's provides a place where kindness and consideration are paramount. The after school sports programs are terrific. As a parent, it is a joy to send my son off to school everyday knowing that he is in a caring environment along with being exposed to thoughtful tools and broad knowledge that are the building blocks to a rich education that he will carry forward for a lifetime.

- submitted by a parent
May 07, 2014
We rate St. Mary's as Excellent! In reading the last few reviews, I see that some parents may feel differently which is unfortunate. We've been at St. Mary's for a year and chose it because of it's IB program, it's incredible ratings & reputation and their teachers. Those factors still remain constant. As is the case in any school, there are children with behavioral issues of course. Those children are treated in a Christian way with the same love and respect all others are given. They practice the Christian morals they preach daily. Parents that make an effort to be connected certainly are connected. I received a call from a host family immediately upon entering the school and my daughter participates in all the programs the school offers as do I. We are very connected. Our communication with teachers is excellent and my child is flourishing at St. Mary's. We are also a scholarship family so money is not their only focus. We couldn't be happier at St. Mary's school and highly recommend it.

- submitted by a parent
March 22, 2014
As a previous post stated, we need to give credit where it's due - our children have learned a lot! Academically, St. Mary's is a superior school. However, administration plays favorites - money talks at this school. In the last year, we've seen a lot of kids with major behavior problems get admitted because their parents money. It seems there is no longer any regard for school climate - just raising money for a build-out and high school. There is limited interaction between teachers and parents - twice a month we get a very generic grade specific email stating 3 things they did in school that week. Otherwise, there is no sense of community or any feeling that our teachers have any sense of who our children are at heart. In fact, one teacher has done nothing in regard to the bullying she knows is going on in her class. Do your research-they are selling Disneyland, but in reality it's more like Stepford. At the end of the day, it's all about money, which is terribly disheartening to see in a so-called "Christian" school. It's a very materialistic place - surely not what Father Sillers had in mind when he started the school - they've really lost sight of Christian values....

- submitted by a parent
March 11, 2014
As the other posted stated, asking about a private jet and yacht have no place in regards to a school application!! If your vision is for elitism with no substance, this might be your place. Adults are competitive and it makes me sad that that's what is being taught to children...People aren't serving the right God. Materialism prevails as usual. This school is aimed at money, just like many of the parents... It's sad that even parents are so insecure that they have to compete even when they are grown.

- submitted by a parent
February 27, 2014
We have been at St. Mary's for three years and are very happy with the education and environment. Our kids look forward to going to school each day and are have smiles on their faces when they come home. The sense of community is strong and the IB curriculum is outstanding. Our teachers have been approachable and really care about the development of the children. They only complaint is the rapid rise of tuition. We want our kids to have the best education possible and hope we can continue going to this wonderful school. It would be sad to see a lot of good families leave due to the increasing tuition.

- submitted by a parent
February 04, 2014
This school is awesome!! My daughter attended public elementary school and is now attending St. Mary's for Middle School. This school has exceeded our expectations. The faculty and staff are beyond caring and go out of their way to make sure your child is happy and on target academically. The kids and parents are also really great too. I am so happy we decided to send her to this school. And yes paying the tuition is tough but way more affordable than other private schools and all of the extras like study hall until 6:00 PM and tutorial are great because they are included in the tuition. I way paying a ton of money to support her when she was in public school - arts classes (because they are non existent in public school) tutoring (because her public school teachers were awful because they were overworked) language classes (again not offered at public school) and aftercare. So I feel I am getting a lot for tuition. But most of all peace of mind. Happy child=happy mom and dad!

- submitted by a parent
January 31, 2014
My child has been going to St. Mary's for 2 years now. It is quite disheartening to see how spoiled the parents and the children are. Most of the parents I have encountered are a little too superficial for me. It reflects on their kids behavior. I want my kids to have a good education but not at the expense of sacrificing their values. Money talks in this school. When I initially filled out our family profile, they were questions regarding, owning a private jet, a yacht, etc., Superficial much? I am taking my child out of this school and I have already found another private school that will nurture him as a person not just as a source of cash.

- submitted by a parent
January 15, 2014
St. Mary's has far exceeded our expectations for our children, in a number of ways, and we could not be happier with our school. We have a child in each division,, and in our three years here each of our children has been inspired, stretched, and appropriately challenged. The IB curriculum, with its inquiry-based, student centered approach, has strengthened their knowledge base as well as their abiltiies to think critically, collaborate with others, and creatively solve problems. They have also benefited from the rich offerings in the arts, athletics, world languages, and other enrichment opportunities. Just as importantly, they have made many good friends, are so happy, and look forward to school every day. The teachers are passionate and dedicated, and we just received word from the school that over 70% of them hold advanced degrees. We did our homework three years ago and visited a number of other private schools in the area. We could not be happier with our choice of St. Mary's as the best school and community for our children. Submitted by a parent

- submitted by a parent
January 14, 2014
We have been at St. Mary's for several years now and have become quite disillusioned with the "vision" and we are looking elsewhere. When we applied, we were told that the tuition is stable - it is NOT! It has gone up every year since we've been here, the latest hike has been 8%. They seem to be in constant fundraising mode. Parents aren't welcome in the classroom on a regular basis -and it pretty much takes an act of congress to get into my daughter's kindergarten class. Some of the teachers are true gems, but this year both of our teachers are cold and aloof - unfortunately the administrators seems to value only the teacher's education and not their basic nature and character. They also seem out of touch with the community they claim to serve. When we joined this school, we loved it - it was a great school that seemed to cater to average, middle-class families who valued community. They are in the process of alienating many of their "average" families in favor of those who have money and title and the former sense of community has been left behind for the sake of elitism. What once seemed like a hidden gem of a school has lost it's luster.

- submitted by a parent
August 28, 2013
My child has attended SMAA for two years now. I diligently searched many private schools throughout Orange County before deciding on SMAA. We have been pleased with our selection. The teachers genuinely care about the students. The administration is always trying to improve the quality of the education. The parents are very involved. The school invests in the facilities and teachers to provide quality education for the students. The school also promotes a sense of community which we really value. Overall, I don't think you will be disappointed sending your child to SMAA.

- submitted by a parent
August 20, 2013
I can't believe this school does not have 5 stars. There is no better K-8 school in Orange County. The programs, the curriculum, the faculty, the IB program. The school incorporates all aspects of children's best learning. There is an excellent fine arts program too. The gym is right out of a movie it's so great. I have 3 children. One graduated 2 years ago and was more than adequately prepared for high school. I have a current 6 th grader and 2nd grader. It is truly a great, great school!

- submitted by a parent
August 03, 2013
This school has a big price tag with little return. We selected St. Mary's because we thought that the IB education would give our children a better advantage over traditional learning methods. We were sadly mistaken. The academics that St. Mary's is providing the children is well below standards. When questioned parents are told to "trust" that they have selected the best curriculum for your children. St. Mary's and their Head Master make it very clear that they run their school like a business. They make the rules and if you don't like it you can go somewhere else. We are greatful that we figured this out early enough to make a difference in our childrens future education.

- submitted by a parent
June 18, 2013
I have been a parent at St. Mary's School for over ten years and am so grateful for the amazing education my children have received. Not only are the teachers and staff excellent, but the community of the school has always been warm and inviting. The IB curriculum has helped form my kids into inquisitive learners who are always excited to come to school. Though my kids are happy to be on summer break, they are already looking forward to the next school year. St. Mary's is an amazing school!

- submitted by a parent
June 18, 2013
My child attended St. Mary's for two years (grade 3 and 4)- she had excellent grades while attending St.Mary's. We were not happy with the school or teachers, and were shocked to find that she was unprepared mathematically for the public school system. So much was skipped over, it was a huge waste of money.

- submitted by a parent
June 16, 2013
This review is not for the faint of heart. Like many others, we had high expectations for St. Mary's. My siblings and I all attended private Jesuit schools and wanted to raise our children with the same academic upbringing. We've been disappointed with St. Mary's agenda. It's clear St. Mary's is more focused on money than education. The proof statements: 1) Head Master made a direct point to me that this school is a business, 2) teachers told me this school is not intended for dual income parents, 3) academic calendar is shorter than public schools which are suffering cutbacks and furloughs, 4) countless fund raising events, 5) requesting donations from grandparents during their school tour. As you can see, it's important to do your own due diligence. If you place a higher emphasis on exclusivity over academics, then this school is an option.

- submitted by a parent
May 21, 2013
The interview process at this school is a joke. My 5 year old son was denied admittance for tapping his pencil during the interview. They suggested we get him "occupational therapy". Our son excels academically and has never had a behavioral issue at school. After his denial we decided to put him in Montissoree and could not be happier that things played out the way that they did. Their academics at St. Mary's are fair at best, as demonstrated by our sons reading capacity since his time at Montissoree vs his friends at St. Mary's. The level of education this school is providing is on par with the local blue ribbon schools but costs $14k more. For the money Montessori is a much better choice. Our opinion of course...

- submitted by a parent
January 31, 2013
This is my second year at St. Mary's and I am currently an eight grader. My experience was amazing because I moved from another country and it was hear sometimes getting used to the situation however the teachers are so kind and the education at St. Mary's is amazing. I am placed in an honors math level and I got to experience great leadership at St. Mary's. I am a straight A and honors student and everyone gets confused right... but the teachers are always there either after school or during lunch or you can always email them and ask your questions and they will always email you back. Its a great school and I wouldn't have wanted to go anywhere else.

- submitted by a community member
January 24, 2013
It is our 3rd year at St. Marys and the school continues to amaze me. I love to hear about my son's day and what he is learning. He is always excited and gone are the days of figting about homework. He completes his homework with a friend before I even pick him up. The cost of the schooldoes continue to go up, but so do the amazing opportunities for the students. I worry about not being able to afford the school all the way to 8th grade but it is such an amazing school that I will sell Avon or Tupperware just to make sure he can stay. The community of administrators, teachers, and families is so strong that it feels like home whenever we are there. Not many schools can say that. I am always excited when I can volunteer and help. All that being said, visit the schools you are interested in. Find the school that best fits your child. Just because St Mary's is the best school for my son, it may not be for yours. Just use your gut. It's not often wrong. Good luck in your search!

- submitted by a parent
October 25, 2012
I am considering this school, being new to the area--but the reason I rated it 5 stars is for 2 reasons: * A couple of professors at Santa Margarita High School told me that this school prepares them well with the IB Programme (Sta. Margarita was voted #21 of ALL private High Schools in the nation by the Washington Post), so I believe them. * IB is not an easy certification to get, you can't just open up a school and suddenly offer the IB, you have to qualify and they have very rigid guidelines. Every single private school we have been to has a group of people who are not happy, so I would judge a school based on what your child needs, where they excel and where they are happy. This world is not just based on Academics but on how we prepare our children to be future leaders/problem solvers and to make a difference in the world - and happily so. :)

- submitted by a community member
September 05, 2012
We have recently enrolled our daughter at the school and found the process to be extensive but are delighted with the friendliness of the faculty and the Campus is stunning . The passion of the teaching staff is evident and the inclusion of parents in community hours with in the school will pay dividends . The only caution is the school is not shy for add ons , snacks , extended care , shorter days and semesters all up . Well worth investment however

- submitted by a parent
October 27, 2011
This is our second year at St. Mary's and we continue to be impressed with the level of education our children are getting. With two children in Kindergarten and one in preschool we have the benefit of seeing the IB program and how it works in both the Lower School and Preschool. In both areas we are blown away. Our children come home from school excited and enthusiastic about what they are learning and my husband and I often find ourselves wishing we could be attending school alongside them just so that we could participate in the wonderfully creative and hands on learning experiences they have the opportunity to experience. The Headmaster has set the tone at St. Mary's and is doing a fabulous job in leadership. The teachers are warm and communicative. The science lab, language offerings, art program and chapel experience round St. Mary's out to be an overall fantastic place. We love that families are not only encouraged to spend time volunteering on campus but that they are welcomed with open arms. We couldn't be more pleased and can say this after having been at a more well established and more expensive private school not far from St. Mary's.

- submitted by a parent
October 16, 2011
We recently moved to California from out of state and chose St. Mary's based on their unique combination of an IB curriculum offered within a christian focused community. We have three boys in 1st, 3rd and 5th grade. We were confident an IB academic focus at a christian based school would be an ideal learning environment. However, within in relatively short period, St. Mary's has exceeded our expectations. We are already witnessing the positive impact this school is having on all three of our boys. It is evident at numerous levels that the administration, staff and teachers are not only passionate about education but they truly enjoy and love children. All of their teachers are teaching their subjects in creative and interesting ways that foster a love of learning. Equally important, they are teaching critical skills to help their students conquer their subjects. As a result, our boys are thriving academically and becoming more confident as students. As for adjusting to a new school, are boys are thrilled to be at St. Mary's. Their teachers are loving and the students and their parents have been equally loving. We feel most fortunate to have our boys at St. Mary's!

- submitted by a parent
October 13, 2011
This is our 4th year at St. Mary's and each year we are amazed with the addition of new programs and enhancements. Most other schools remain stagnant or suffer program cuts and each year St. Mary's grows in excellence. The IB program is so valuable and I am confident it is preparing my children for this constantly changing world. St. Mary's fosters creativity and independent thinking. My children are so grateful to attend St. Mary's.

- submitted by a parent
October 12, 2011
I have 2 children at this school and I couldn't be happier with the level of education! The teachers continue to educate themselves and work with their staff to be the best they can be. We are an IB World school with the best principals and headmaster in the area. It is a wonderful, nurturing and challenging environment for my kids to grow and become leaders of the future. I highly recommend touring and speaking with members of our community. I'm so thankful we have found this school!

- submitted by a parent
October 12, 2011
Our family has been at St. Mary's for 8 years, and witnessed a lot of changes! I have to say the school has come a long way! While the IB influence is definitely not up to European standards (hard to find IB trained teachers) the IB curriculum does make a difference; the biggest being teaching critical thinking skills vs rote memorization of facts, and global awareness. This to me is a more "real world" application of education. St. Mary's is truly a community of involved families and make the school a special & fun place to be. The kids are taught skills way beyond textbooks, like leadership, risk taking, & community service...

- submitted by a parent
September 03, 2011
I am thrilled to share that St. Mary's more than my my expectations as a parent with its promsie to thoroughly prepare my children for high school and instill a lifelong love of learning in a warm, caring environment with dedicated and passionate teachers and staff. I have had three children graduate from St. Mary's (one is in college and two are in high school) and all three are thriving in their respective academic environments. In fact, they still comment about how well prepared they felt entering high school, paving the way for success in Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate Programs. I give St. mary's my highest endorsement, and from what my friends tell me, enrollment at St. Mary's is so strong they have wait lists all over the place. I am not surprised.

- submitted by a parent
September 03, 2011
I have been a student at St. Mary's for four years. I in the 8th Grade now and will graduate in June. The past four years at St. Mary's have been incredible for me. I have had the best teachers I could ever hoped to have had. They are passionate about their subjects and while they challenge us to push ourselves, they also care about us people and really get to know us. In addition to our core courses we also have Chapel, PE, art, music , performing arts, competitive athletics, and other electives like Model UN, Yearbook, digital filmmaking, and more. I will be very sad when I graduate but I know that I will be well prepared in whatever high school I attend. I also love to learn and I have to thanks St. mary's for all of this.

- submitted by a community member
August 29, 2011
The school has high standards but their teachers do not make up for their standards. As a parent, I had to spend more time with my daughter so she can achieve their goals. What is the point of paying for a private school if I have end up being my daughter's teacher? We moved her to public school and we are extremely happy. Save your money and put your child in public school.

- submitted by a parent
June 27, 2011
This school has a beautiful campus and offers many arts options, such as choir, drama , cheer and three languages. On the the downside the school year is only 162 days and this does not take in to account school trips and other activities. Most schools attend 180 days with at least a seven hour day. Also when schools are hesitant to tout their scores beware. If they are outperforming or at least matching the best schools in the area they are going to advertise, such is no the case with this school

- submitted by a community member
April 15, 2011
My son was an inquisitive and social child. We had him at another private school and he was always in trouble. So, for all of you with healthy, active boys, St Mary's GETS IT! Many schools have a one size fits all. St Marys builds upon our children's strengths and look at their "weaknesses" as opportunities. They build up each child individually while creating a sense of community. They not only learn academics from top notch teachers, they are learning to be leaders and philanthropic contributors. The IB program provides the children with a global influence not only from a learning style perspective, but allowing the child to understand that the world is a bigger place than Orange County. The administration encourages collaboration and along with the parents we build such a sense of community. It is such an extended family, who go out of their way to welcome new families.

- submitted by a parent
January 26, 2011
We have been at the school for 3 years and my children have flourished. My oldest child is shy but has come out of her shell. The biggest thing I notice is that they LOVE learning. They love going to school and I can see when they apply what they learned in the classroom. It's all about critical thinking and getting the children to learn to ask the right questions so that they are really processing the information they learn. We can't say enough about the school. The cheerleading program is top notch, there is Mandarin Chinese, Spanish, French and Italian languages taught and the teachers are phenomenal.

- submitted by a parent
December 20, 2010
I am a current parent and I can't say enough about the school, the teachers and the professional attitude that the administration maintains at all times. The school is a place that fosters creative thinking, and deeper understanding of subjects. The students (including mine!) are exposed to amazing experiences-field studies and trips abroad. The smaller class sizes are a refreshing change from what we were accustomed to in the our public school. I hope that anyone who might consider private school for their child will look at St. Mary's ....what a child gets here is a lifetime of skills and opportunities.

- submitted by a parent
December 20, 2010
St. Mary's is a phenomenal school whose reputation is firmly known and respected in Orange County. The teachers are passionate, talented and dedicated, and the academic program is appropriately challenging and wonderfully balanced. My child loves St. Mary's and looks forward excitedly to coming to school each day. They even started a bus service this year to accommodate all the new families. A parent cannot ask for more.

- submitted by a parent
December 07, 2010
Lots of drama, but not unbearable. Surprisingly, a lot of diversity. They could do better though, the school has so much potential. And great teachers. if you go here, get one of the pattersons, they're gems and the glue holding the otherwise lack of good teachers together. This is the opinion of a student, for the record.

- submitted by a community member
September 19, 2010
So happy we are at St. Mary's. With a warm, nurturing environment, teachers care about the students. The academics are challenging and we have been very impressed with the vision of the Headmaster and his staff. My children have smiles on their faces and tell me how much they enjoy going to St. Mary's, even during vacations!

- submitted by a parent
August 01, 2010
St. Mary's has disappointed me greatly. As a part of St. Mary's for several years now I have seen that the quality of the school has gone down significantly. The school leadership has shifted and the new decisions that have been made are negative. Overall it has a good sports program and bad school leadership.

- submitted by a community member
May 20, 2010
Been going to this school for 4 years. But not returning this year. Teaching standards have seriously deteriorated with the bigger class sizes (24) and new math program. Not blaming the teachers they are under alot more pressure and the strain is showing. I expect a few will leave this year and after the losses last year this will not be good for the school as they are lacking the experience. Decided to rescue my kids before anymore damage is done!

- submitted by a parent
May 19, 2010
This school is a mixed bag. Nice families but not academically strong. They follow the IB program but get lost executing the formal teaching methods while trying to stick to IB principals. Could do with more experienced teachers with previous IB teaching experience. There has been a lot of grumbling about the new 'Everyday Math' program introduced this school year, mainly due to the fact that the teachers were learning how to administer it whilst trying to teach it. It was also introduced without the parents knowledge which was part of the problem also as the school is not strong on communication. Alot of what you find out is from other parents at pick-up! They do ERB testing once a year - I still have no idea what that is as no information is provided for parents. They have an excellent library, awful carpark and nice if under-used sports facility.

- submitted by a parent
March 04, 2010
I couldn't disagree with the last post more, particularly the comment about the new headmaster. There were problems in the past but If you want your children educated to a high academic standard in a loving and caring environment then this is the place to be. The school is an IB school which means that it incorporates global issues and the arts into the curriculum, not just as add-ons. We are in the middle school and I'm almost sorry I don't have younger kids coming through who'll get more years of benefiting from what is now, and will be, an amazing school.

- submitted by a parent
March 02, 2010
We are fully committed to educating our children in a private Christian school setting but we were not happy with this school for a handful of reasons. The new Headmaster is not doing anything to turn this school around. Our children deserve better than wasting years at a school that may or may not 'turn around'. There are many other options in Orange County. Not all other schools may have as nice of facilities but there are absolutely better teachers and staff to educate and care for our children.

- submitted by a parent
February 18, 2010
We've been at this school since my oldest started preschool 7 years ago. Two years ago I very nearly pulled my kids out as friends had had horrible experiences in middle school. I didn't want my kids to experience that. But two years ago they got a new headmaster who has transformed it - better teachers, excellent academics, strong moral code. It's now led from the top by a decent, honest and honorable head who walks the walk and not just talks the talk. AWESOME!

- submitted by a parent
January 22, 2010
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
December 04, 2009
St. Mary's has come a long way in a short period of time. It's only 15 years old and well on its way to solidifying its place as an outstanding academic institution. As with new schools, she has experienced growing pains which have turned into excellent opportunities for academic growth and improvement with regard to administration and leadership. Fortunately, the school now has in place a Headmaster that regards morality, integrity and academic excellence as important cornerstones to educating our children. John O'Brien has indeed made progress within the school community, thanks to faculty and staff that are willing and eager to improve; not only the school, but personally as well. St. Mary's is truly a unique school-the only Pre K-8 International Baccalaureate school in Orange County, founded on Christian values with emphasis on developing the 'whole' child. I strongly urge you to visit St. Mary's and consider this wonderful school.

- submitted by a parent
no rating November 18, 2009
My son attended St. Mary's for 4 Years. It looks good from theoutside but from a cost perspective oyu are better going to a Blue Ribbon School in Orange County than what you get a ST. Mary's. Nice uniforms, pretty teachers but NO EDUCATION that gave your child any advanced edge than a public school. In this ecoonomy I can send my kids to a public school with excellent teachers and live debt free!

- submitted by a parent
October 07, 2009
St. Mary's has a solid academic program. We have been at the school for 5 years and the International Baccalaureate program is exceptional, incorporating global culture, enrichment, exploratory classes, foreign language, Masters of Math and healthy lunch programs. The teachers are wonderful and the class sizes are small. The parent community is involved and friendly. Academically SMAA is the Crown Jewel of the OC.

- submitted by a parent
October 05, 2009
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- submitted by a student
no rating September 17, 2009
Very happy with St Mary's. Have been there for 3 years and feel that my kids are receiving a great education in a wonderful and safe environment. The extended care is wonderful and nothing like the YMCA.

- submitted by a parent
September 10, 2009
Totally agree with the 'bells and whistles' and the 'lack of leadership'. There are some nice teachers, but the administration is useless. Have no discipline enforcement and would not deal with bullies. Academics are mediocre. The math is pathetic. Being there, done that, pulled the children out. Total waste of money and time.

- submitted by a parent
September 09, 2009
SMAA has an impeccable academic program that instills the love of learn in its students. Our family has been very happy with the rigorous and global education at this fantastic school! One of the top schools in OC! This school is definitely the best kept secret.

- submitted by a parent
September 02, 2009
We've been at St. Mary's for more than 10 years with three children. The new headmaster, John O'Brien, is tremendously regarded in his field and he has recruited top-notch faculty and academic leadership. The school is clearly on a strong path for the future and has a renewed culture respecting parental input and involvement. He has been bold enough to make changes where they were needed but he did so with the time and perspective due to make the right decision. A huge improvement from previous leadership.

- submitted by a parent
June 12, 2009
St. Mary's has a solid academic program. As the only International Baccalaureate elementary school in the Orange County area, the curriculum incorporates a global perspective which is so important for our children these days. The class sizes are small (14 in my daughter's 1st grade class), the teachers are wonderful and there are numerous enrichment and exploratory classes. In addition, the parent community is very involved and friendly. Academically and socially, St. Mary's offers the most well rounded education and the kids at the school are a true testament to this.

- submitted by a parent
February 16, 2009
this school has an amazing early childhood program. The jr. Kindergarten staff is excellent, the program is academic and developmental making it very well balanced. The kids are challenged, stimulated and feel so loved at the same time.

- submitted by a parent
January 20, 2009
This school is going places! With a new headmaster and a new elementary head, positive changes are well in hand. As a parent I see sound ideas being turned into positive action. The curriculum is being strengthened and integrated across grades; teachers are being trained and inspired. My children are growing into well rounded young people with a genuine love of learning and enquiring minds.

- submitted by a parent
January 11, 2009
No tuition increase! Wow! The wonderful Board of Trustees and the fantastic NEW Head of School at St. Mary's has listened to the parents and heard our concerns over the resent financial crisis facing everyone right now. And because of their wise investments SMAA is in a sound financial position and can offer its parents a year of NO TUITION INCREASE for the next school year! This school has faced its hard times of the past two year and has come out shinning! The new HOS if fantastic, and the renewed commitment from the teachers is the best in Orange County. The Middle School offers programs and individual attention that you can't put a price on. The education my two children are getting here will put them ahead of other students, especially students from public schools who are learning in the old 'industrial age' learning methods. A fantastic school!

- submitted by a parent
December 13, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
December 09, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
August 24, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
June 12, 2008
The board and leadership of the school need to be overhauled as the school has completly lost touch with the vast majority of the families that go there. Test scores are weak and the administration does not communicate with the parents well as the schools scores were not given to the families unless asked for. IB program is subpar when it comes to basic education. Too much of the fluff. The teachers are loving and the parents who send their kids their are mostly very nice and involved. Very expensive for what you get and they nickel and dime on other things. $12,000 - $15,000 per year by the time it is all said and done and probably compares with a middle of the road public education.

- submitted by a parent
June 11, 2008
My child has been at St Mary's for four years and we hoped it would be her school through 8th grade. Unfortunately, the turmoil, the drama and lack of core programs have taken their toll on the academics. The loss of the head of school and two principals all in less than a year has made the decision to leave mandatory for our family. The overall lack of concern for the parents satisfaction and the inability to maintain the basic tenets of the IB programme has been disappointing. The teachers are great people who need a leader.

- submitted by a parent
May 13, 2008
I have had a child in attendence at this school since the first year it was opened. It used to be a great school, but through changes in administration and teacher turnover it is now a very weak school. The middle school is particulary poor and does not correctly prepare the students for high school. We have wasted a great deal of money sending our younger children there in hopes that things would improve, but they have only gotten worse.

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 10, 2008
St. Mary's is the best kept secret in the Soutnern California area. It is the only school in the area that has the International Baccalaureate Athorization. The IB method of teaching is second to none. The academics are superb as compared to the traditional method of teaching. My children have learned to be inquirers instead of memorizers, and because the class sizes are small, the teachers can reach all the kids and help them to acheive their best. St' Mary's has been the best school for both my girls. We love it!!

- submitted by a parent
no rating April 07, 2008
Put my children in public school this year after many years at St. Mary's - best decision we've ever made! Not only is it a HUGE savings, but the kids are receiving a superior education. St. Mary's raves about the IB program, but in trying to satisfy IB requirements they forget about the basics. Have heard from many parents that their children are behind when transferring schools. Standardized testing for comparison purposes would be great.

- submitted by a parent
February 14, 2008
Both my children are currently attending and although it's expensive we have found the class sizes more conducive to personal teacher/student interaction. We have discovered a bi-product of the expense seems to be strong parent involvement. The demographics of this school's zip code are 70% white 13% Latino and 10% Asian (zipskinny.com) and I think this school's student population accurately reflects the same level of population diversity as the city it resides in.

- submitted by a parent
no rating February 05, 2008
St. Mary & All Angels is a fantastic school. The cost to attend is not insignificant, but the school remains one of the best. It is one of the few schools in Southern CA that has implemented the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme.

- submitted by a parent
January 31, 2008
Both of my kids have been attending this school for four years. It has fallen from grace and all they do is continually raise tuition. They have failed to institute the necessary changes to rectify their many problems, including teacher turnover, and continue to ask for more money while not giving my kids a private school education.

- submitted by a parent
January 27, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
no rating January 23, 2008
My child is happy here. The commitment of the teachers is over the top! Wonderful programs children see themselves as a viable part of the world. Downside...consistent 12 to 13 percent tuition increase... lots of fundraising, no change in the board of directors, focusing on bells and whistles not the more important issue of a solid academic program. Not sure I will send second child to this school.

- submitted by a parent
January 10, 2008
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- submitted by a parent
December 05, 2007
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- submitted by a parent
September 25, 2007
I would agree with little to no Diversity comment earlier. The school should try to reach out more to minorities instead of focusing on fund raising. It makes sense for public school to do lots of fundraising but not here when the tution is really high already.

- submitted by a parent
September 24, 2007
My kids loves it there cause they've been there for 5yrs. The school teaches the students manners and discipline. There are a lot of extracurricular activities that the students can join. The academics are good but it could be better. The downside of it is there's a lot of politics going on. Tuition goes up every year. There's a lot of fundrasing which aren't necessary. And the teacher's turnover it's really high.

- submitted by a parent
September 24, 2007
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
September 14, 2007
It has all the bells & whistles but lacks consistency when it comes to education! Little to NO DIVERSITY there. High turnover rate among the teaching staff, and they are always asking for $$ (as if tuition wasn't enough). They spend too much $$ on un-necessary things such as over the top brochures, fancy gala invitations, and advertising instead of focusing on after school enrichment programs (which should be free) for the kids! Too much bureaucratic drama and politics going on at this school! I took my child out of there after 5 years -- best decision I ever made!! This school is so overrated.

- submitted by a parent
April 25, 2007
This a wonderful school to go to. The quality of the teaching is excellent and my sons both love the atmosphere. I love this school and I would never move my child to a different school. My son tells me that the teachers are always laughing and just in a good mood.

- submitted by a parent
October 03, 2006
I have a preschool student and his experience at St. Marys has been phenominal. We'd reccommend it to anyone.

- submitted by a parent
September 06, 2006
I go to St. Mary's and it's pretty great. They have fairly strict rules, but they're there to prepare you for high school & beyond. The classes teach you a lot, and the teachers are outstanding. The electives have gotten better, and their 'completing the dream' campaign has I think helped it develop into a fantastic private school. The only downside I can think of, is the high cost and tons of fundraisers (they almost seem to expect to pull money out of thin air), but it probably has made a difference on the quality of the school. Money can work miracles with the campus and programs. St. Mary's used to be a bunch of trailers and is now a beautiful school with solid programs. I reccomend it to everyone:) -8th grade St. Mary's studdent

- submitted by a student
September 04, 2006
Both my kids love this school as do I. The IB program that the school has adopted is a fabulous life long way of learning. It teachs the kids to really get involved with and care about the world and the lessons that come from being caring citizens. Incredible school

- submitted by a parent
April 12, 2006
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- submitted by a parent
January 20, 2006
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- submitted by a parent
September 05, 2005
My son has been here for going on 3 years and I love it. He is now in Jr. K and the teachers are great.

- submitted by a parent
August 21, 2005
St. Mary's and All Angels has been a great pre-school experience for my two children. Both of my children loved going everyday of their pre-school years...not always the case with other children and other schools. The staff is more experienced and it shows.

- submitted by a parent
January 02, 2005
St. Marys is the best private k-8 school in Orange County. Simply put, not only is there a strong emphasis on academics and application, technology, art, music and sports is fabulous. I have toured many schools in the OC area and the disposition and vision on the administration is unlike no other. In addition, the facilities are suburb. Parents and families are great too!

- submitted by a parent
June 19, 2004
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- submitted by a parent
February 21, 2004
My child has attended this school for 3 years and it has been a wonderful experience for her as well as for us as a family. This school has alot to offer children and the cohesiveness of it's community is very special. Our child has blossomed in the sweet and safe environment St. Mary's provides.

- submitted by a parent
August 26, 2003
My child's (as well as my own) experience at this school was not very good. We have moved to public and are getting a much better education with better values and respect.

- submitted by a former student
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St. Mary's School
7 Pursuit, Aliso Viejo, CA  92656
(949) 448-9027
Last modified St. Mary's School is a Private school that serves grades PK-8
St. Mary's School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 90 reviews. Top