SMT is a fantastic school with a strong parent community and a very caring group of teachers and administrators who provide a nurturing (yet academically challenging) school experience for our kids. Finding the right school on the Westside for your child and family can be challenging, but I personally don’t think you can find a better balance/mix of academics and values than our children receive at SMT (on par with the top secular private schools in LA, but less “showy” than most). There may be some excessively vocal and negative “haters” out there (like there can be at many schools), but I think those individuals tend to be very difficult to please (whether at SMT or elsewhere), and their criticisms are mostly misplaced … they would accomplish far more if they brought their concerns directly to Dr. Colvert and his colleagues on the SMT administrative team, who (we have found) are generally quite open to parent suggestions/input and want to do everything they can to make the SMT experience a positive one for all students and families. We and our kids have greatly enjoyed our SMT experience thus far, and we look forward to remaining a part of the SMT community after our kids have graduated. Ask a parent about Carnival, Trunk or Treat, Family Ski Trip, Pancake Breakfast, Leprechaun Ball, Sports Day and/or El Capitan, all of which are great community-building experiences both for parents and their children (the Ball’s just for parents). If you’re searching for a unique blend of community and strong scholastic achievement in LA, you can’t do any better than SMT.
While SMT is not a "developmental" school and is focused on strong academic challenge and achievement, I believe there is a reasonable degree of support for those students who need a little more support to keep up with their peers.
Dr. Colvert, Ms. Margulis and Ms. Berlin all care very deeply about creating a positive/supportive learning environment that also helps children to succeed at the next level. There is regular communication with parents through the ParentSquare portal.
Our two boys have thrived at SMT. I feel they're getting the right balance of nurturing and discipline. Both have loved every teacher they've had and have grown socially and academically. Looking at how the 7th and 8th graders comport themselves, I take comfort knowing that this school does a great job of helping raise good, solid, conscientious kids.
Our family was in search of a traditional, highly academic school that would give our two kids options to attend top Catholic or secular high schools upon graduation. We toured over 20 elementary schools (public, parochial and secular private schools in the traditional and progressive philosophies). SMT was the perfect choice for our family for a number of reasons:
1. Academics - SMT has a superb academic tradition. This can be measured by the school's test scores (consistently among the highest in the archdiocese), or the matriculation of 6th and 8th graders to the top Catholic and secular private schools in the city, or the performance of the academic decathlon team, or the robotics team, or a number of other metrics. SMT is comparable academically to JTD or Carlthorp or other "top" elementary schools. Our children receive an appropriate amount of homework to succeed in today's competitive world - about 10 mins in Kinder increasing to about 2 hrs in grades 7 & 8.
2. Community - the family community is what sets SMT apart from so many schools. The family camping trip to El Capitan in the Spring, family ski trip to Mammoth in Feb, school carnival, Leprechaun Ball, Sports Day, Trunk or Treat, adult Christmas party, Christmas concert, Mothers Club, Fathers Club, and numerous class and other parties allow parents so many opportunities to become part of the fantastic community.
3. Well rounded kids - we want our children to be well rounded. Academics are important, but so is connecting with the larger community and serving others. We appreciate the community service opportunities offered by the school as well as the sports program (which can be improved with more participation), after school classes, music, choir, orchestra, art, etc.
4. Excellent faculty and small class sizes - all of our teachers and assistant teachers have been fantastic! Class sizes are excellent, generally ranging from 16 to 28 kids per class with two teachers per class through grade 3, then breakouts for science, math, language, etc. after that.
5. Value - at about 1/3 the cost of secular private schools, SMT offers remarkable value for a top quality education.
There are many more things we enjoy about the school, and every school can improve, but we love SMT.
I don't understand the vitriol for the principal. He works very hard and it's clear our kids are his #1 priority!
SMT is an academically challenging school, but two teachers per grade and small class sizes allow for personal attention, guidance and instruction from the teachers and allow for supporting students of differing academic abilities.
Dr. Colvert has brought many positive changes to SMT in only two years including the beginnings of a dedicated STEAM program, new computer program, the start of a sports court to improve the athletic experience, a robotics team, and so much more.