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?
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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....
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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