St Martin of Tours is the perfect school for families that assign high value to excellency in academics. If you want a school that will prepare your child for an "Ivy League" future this is the one because kids actually learn. The not so good: There is a new principal whom, as you can read in other posts, is not too charismatic. Therefore, he has not been able to connect with many school families which are having a hard time adapting to his leadership style. BUT, is important to point out that the Vice-Principal, teachers, and the administrative team are outstanding. They have been in SMT for decades and are the ones preserving the quality and spirit of the school.
The reality is that our new Principal is not liked by some the school families. BUT, the Vice-Principal and the administrative team, are wonderful. They have been in SMT for many, many, years and they work tirelessly to preserve the high academic level and the School Spirit that used to be a big part of the SMT culture.
This is our first year at SMT. I whole-heartedly disagree with all the negative postings on the new principal, Dr. Colvert. Please give him a break. He tries very hard and genuinely cares about the students and the community. He may not be the most charismatic but he has a big heart and he always makes himself available. Of course, no one likes change... he is coming in and filling the shoes of a previous principal who has been there for 30+ years - no easy feat for anyone!
SMT does a wonderful job teaching academics, especially in the early grades. In fact, based on what I've seen at the other independent schools, SMT is the best at teaching the children discipline, respect and solid academics. It's a warm and wonderful school. We're very happy to be here!
The new principal is not effective at all. Thank goodness the Vice Principal (who should be the Principal and it's absurd that she is not), the staff and some of the older teachers are still at SMT because without them it would be 10x worse. Not sure why the new principal is still here 3 years later after so many families have complained about him. Now we have one of his hires (every teacher he hires is a disaster) on administrative leave. This has been the 3rd science teacher he has hired that hasn't worked out. What is going on?
There were only about 12 families at the Open House for prospective new families this year. In past years there were over 60. Our TK only has 8 kids with almost half of them siblings, Kinder has 19 including twins so really just 18 families, 1st grade with 16 kids with 9 of them siblings. We have less than 20 kids in each of the first three grades which is a very telling sign for the future. Many families are leaving this year due to the new principal. The school can be great but all it takes is bad leadership to tank a school. We are in year 3. Pretty sure the school cannot handle a year 4 with the new principal.
Wish the powers at be would step up and do something, As other reviewers have stated, the new principal is just not a good fit for the school. Not every job is meant for every person nor can every person do every job. It's okay to move on when you lack the experience and credentials like the new principal clearly does.
Super academic and challenging school with strong Catholic formation. Definitely the best Catholic Elementary school in LA for decades. Families are highly involved and expect the best from faculty and administrators to the extent that some moms literally spend their days at the school and are vigilant (and vocal) of everything that happens around campus. I really hope that the Archdiocese takes action soon and changes the new Principal who is not a good match for this community and is damaging the school's spirit and reputation. We need someone experienced, with high energy and fresh ideas!
This school creates a family and community environment that is desperately missing in today's society.
Our three kids are thriving at this school. I am grateful for the rigorous academic program, the amazing orchestra/music program, and the after school programs they have offered such as drama, mandarin, fencing, coding, and etiquette. Most importantly, this school emphasizes morals and community service. The kids at this school have kind hearts. They are nice!
I have spoken with teachers that left our school to teach at other prestigious private institutions that offered higher salaries. They told me that the academic curriculum was the same. Our testing scores are also very impressive. I appreciate paying much less for the same level of education offered at the secular private schools.
I must admit, the lower tuition fee did not persuade me. It was the character of the kids and the parents. The first day that we took our tour, we were guided by a student that made me hope that my kid would turn out like that!
We were looking for a challenging academic environment for our 6th grader after 6 great years at Overland Elementary (LAUSD) and after thoroughly investigating all the public and private options on the Westside we choose SMT. We have not been disappointed. If fact we choose to pull our 2nd grader out of Overland to send him to SMT as well. (Overland is a great school but SMT is undeniably better, and well worth the investment.) It's worth mentioning that we are not a religious family and there are many families like us that choose SMT solely on the basis of it's academics and small class sizes. The community is really great too. They've been very welcoming and the school social activities are a blast.
If you're not afraid to challenge your children you won't find a better K-8 academic experience experience than Saint Martin of Tours.
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.