We started out wanting to give the new principal a chance. But we are going into the third year and my husband and I feel things are getting worse. As the years go by, it is apparent that the principal is not a good fit for the community. We see one poor decision after another: Money raised for a tent that has yet to materialize, communication failures - no paper calendar, a ridiculously complicated carpool app that seems to have almost doubled our time in carpool etc. In our opinion he has trouble with the most basic principal tasks such as making decisions. He couldn't even decide on one uniform company so we have two. Everything seems to be based on Good Shepherd from uniform suppliers to carpool to school trips to new hires. Most teachers are outstanding but even the best teachers appear to be distressed with the new regime. We read in a comment below that the new principal does not even have a credential and professional experience in elementary education. Can that be true?
Our son (3rd grade) has attended SMT since Kindergarten. Our experience has been overall rewarding. When compared with the most elite elementary institutions across the country, SMT has obviously room for improvement (such as creating a better "on campus" social life for its students). It's new Principal has introduced positive changes (ex. New APP Pikmykid is great) but more work needs to be done. The critics who state that SMT is too closely associated with GSW are misinformed. In the contrary, exchanging ideas with other institutions is absolutely necessary to remain relevant and I encourage SMT to always challenge their academic approach by studying other prestigious institutions nationwide. Stagnation would have devastating consequences in today's competitive world. Homework has never been an issue for our son. SMT graduates consistently enroll at the top high schools in Los Angeles. No school is for everyone. Regardless of ethnic, religious or cultural backgrounds, I highly recommend SMT to prospective families looking for a fine private academic institution at a more affordable cost.
Homework at SMT is not excessive considering what will be expected from our children at higher levels of education. Internationally, U.S. high schools rank far behind other countries as far as depth of knowledge is concerned. European and Asian students face much tougher learning conditions. If America wants to compete globally, we must set challenging educational standards early. Yet learning should be fun. Not a chore.
I believe SMT used to take pride in academics and its family atmosphere. I do not see that anymore and put a lot of that on the principal. I feel he is more impressed with himself than he is interested in my family or what I have to say. His own priorities do not seem to be in the best interest of my child or the best interest of the other children or faculty and staff. He is in over his head and makes key educational decisions and policies without input or perhaps as the other reviewers state with his wife's school in mind. I don't know. All I know is that the school has lost its family atmosphere and has been replaced with miles of red tape.
The principal has no clue about what works and what doesn't. He has now implemented the most complicated and convoluted carpool system on the planet based on an app. Forget going to this school unless you have hours on end to wait in carpool each week. This is just another bad idea Implemented from his wife's school.. Does he have no ideas of his own? Having endured this lack of leadership for over two years enough is enough. I believe the reviewer below is correct SMT is truly becoming GSW. At Back to School Night we had to sit through another family vacation. He should get a clue...we don't care! We want to know how OUR children are doing.
SMT has really gone down. My parents and friends call it GSW - Good Shepherd West. Our new principal's wife is a principal at Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills and I think he wants us to do everything the way they do. We even had to go on our DC trip with them. I think he just became principal so that he could hang out with her. I am sad that we are now known as GSW.
SMT used to be a great school. I don't know how someone without professional experience in elementary education and an elementary teaching credential could be the principal of an elementary school. It seems to run contrary to logic. Most of the teaching staff are good. More emphasis on the sports program is needed. If you are looking for a school there are many excellent schools out there. Keep looking!
The matriculation to some of the best private schools in the region is indicative of their abilities to educate. That matriculation also carries forward to colleges as well. As with any school there are "dynamo's" and "average joe's". The good news is that the curriculum is strong and the dynamo's shine and the average joes are, well, above average.