We originally considered Notre Dame because of its great reputation. After experiencing TK for our son let's just say that great reputation is well deserved.
Notre Dame takes a hands on approach to teaching children. They have a mind-set that see's the kids all the way through their school years. They think long-term. Every decision is based on what's best for the individual student's development and needs.
The Principal and staff take a personal approach to each family which is something we just wouldn't get in any public school. We feel this approach not only gives our son a developmental edge but also provides a family based community for our child. It's not a coincidence that many of the children at Notre Dame have parents that are alumni.
The Randall family
Our child has been at Notre Dame Academy since the Fall as a new TK student. I spent hours reading all the reviews about the Catholic schools on the West side. I've visited several and each has their own strengths. We were looking for a school that was nurturing but also offered a strong academic background, which NDA seemed to provide. Now, I cannot believe what Notre Dame Academy has done with our quiet and shy little boy. He has become strong, confident and articulate in ways that I could have never imagined. He loves going to school and loves his classmates. I really feel like we won the lottery with this school (and even had second thoughts about posting about this gem in the heart of a big city). All the teachers and most students know his name (thanks to school family and 8th grade buddies) and there is a perfect balance of religion for us (my husband is not Catholic). Good luck with your school search...and if you choose NDA, I hope to see you soon at the school activities!
The administrator at this school is great with marketing and hype. However, the school's cirriculum is very average (with the exception of kinder which is fabulous!). Additionally, there is bullying that puts the empahsis on placing the blame on the victim (not the bully.) Most of the class sizes are large, with some intervention, but no enrichment opportunities. The administrator partners with parents as long as they are doing what she wants. It's an O.k. school; many families are there because they feel like they do not have better options available to them. However, for the money, parents should keep looking.
We have been at this school for the past 9 years. We have seen many changes in the school including changes in school leadership, acceptance of technology and variety of programs. This is a great academic prepartory school where the emphasis is on academics. While traditional teaching methods are used, the school has not been shy to embrace technology and introducing it, first in the middle school and now into elementary. One can always find faults and imperfections when scrutinizing something as important and fundamental as educating our children however, when considered in the big picture and looking at the end results i.e. the 8th grade graduating classes, these are minuscule and often apply to individual situations that may not have been a good fit for the school. This school has shown courage in exploring new techniques while retaining it's 60+ year traditions. This is an ongoing journey that is producing happy, well rounded and prepared kids.
We transferred our three children to NDAE last year from American Martyrs because of the rapid decline of AMS. We definitely made the right choice! The difference is like night and day! NDAE truly cares about its students. The Principal knows each child by name, and knows how each one is doing. The teachers are communicative and highly effective. While not as demanding on the parents as far as involvement, it still fosters a very close knit atmosphere. This is a very traditional-style Catholic school, with an excellent balance of discipline, academic standards, compassion, and love.
The true Christian feel of the school is vanishing. There is much hypocrisy with the Administration and very little parent involvement. Only those parents available in the mornings, get involved. Working parents can't do this. There is too much experimentation with the children with some families leaving due to the negative changes. The emphasis is to make the school elite with little compassion.
As an alumni and parent, NDA is doing amazing things all of the time. The campus has been revamped with students and families responding well to it. New programs have been great. Keep up the good work!