AMS has growing problems with its principal and administration. It's education is good, not great nor excellent. Many graduating families say that the public school system in the area better prepares the students for high school. It is known throughout the school that Principal Connelly has bullied and threatened parents and students since her coming to AMS in 2009. Families like the convenience and the amenities of AMS, but have ongoing problems with the principal's harsh tactics. If you ask students, almost all will say she never visits classes and nor is ever seen on school grounds- though she claims to know all of he students. The principal sends families performance surveys of teachers but never for herself. Why? Monsignor is to retire soon and unfortunately seems to let things be. AMS is loosing their "Catholic" mission- loving, kind hearted, understanding and patience- expected for what it was originally built for. Until they remove the principal it will only get worse. If you have other choices, consider it before AMS. You will save yourself from the issues so many families are experiencing. It's an issue WOSC should be surveying as well.
This review although only one star reflects on the administration, not the community. The Catholic community is the very best part of American Martyrs School, the families we met in the 12 years there were wonderful and a blessing.Unfortunately, AMS is hindered by an administration whose priority in not the best interest of their students. Academically, studies like the math and sciences are under par. Morally, there is a huge dissconnect. Opportunities are consistently missed towards inclusion in sports, and with the administration learning through their obvious mistakes. With the parent involvement and resources they have AMS can and should be a GREAT place. But a small immoral group, in my opinion, has a handle on this school and it seems to be turning into more private school, less Catholic school environment.
We wouldn't normally post on a site like this, but felt the May 23, 2014 review, forwarded to us, was unfair. Our family decided to leave AMS school this year for many reasons. It was a difficult decision but ultimately the right one for us. Monsignor is compassionate and committed to his Parish, the school and the greater good of the community, regardless of income. I suspect the individual who wrote the one star review has never spoken with Monsignor about their concerns and that is a shame. We know Monsignor to be a good man. The school is currently undergoing changes regarding how it will be administered. These changes are set out in a "School Vision" posted on the AMS school website. http://www.americanmartyrsschool.org/apps/news/show_news.jsp?REC_ID=366363&id=0. If you are interested, read the School Vision. It provides information regarding the school's intended direction. Become informed and make a decision that is right for your children. Do not rely only on the postings of an anonymous rating site. This site requires a rating so we used three stars as a sign of neutrality, only; this is not intended to be a rating of the school.
There is a reason why families are leaving in droves the past 2-3 years. This school has grown too fast, and is too big to handle the students that it does have. It is run by a Principal who could care less about any of the lower grades (aspirations to move on to a high school position, perhaps?), and a Monsignor who fancies himself The Pope of Manhattan Beach and only sees dollar signs (not very Catholic). Skip this school and look for a true Catholic education that is more about the children's education and less about the almighty dollar.
As an alumni, I look back at my time at AMS as a vital part of who I am today. The academics are solid, but could be more diverse. It's the staff and parents of the school that makes the biggest difference. As the city of Manhattan Beach has changed, so too has AMS, but the staff and parents stay true to principals of education, religion, and community.
AMS has given our child a good basic foundation. The school has gone through a number of growing pains as it has expanded tremendously over the last few years. It is now under new leadership which I cannot address as our child is now a graduate. Ams is weak in language, music and sports, but big in community. Your family is their family.