This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
St. Paul's Episcopal School5
Posted November 15, 2013
- a parent
Our child is currently in the 7th grade at SPES. He joined in the 6th grade, and we could not be happier. We love the philosophy and social mission of the school. Not only is our child receiving a top-notch education, he is in an environment that fosters his emotional well-being and sense of social responsibility. We have found the teachers to be phenomenal. They know our child very well, both his strengths and his weaknesses. Teachers and staff have been terrifically approachable and responsive, and there is an incredible level of parent engagement. The greatest measure of success, though, is the happiness of our child. He genuinely enjoys school, very much likes his teachers, is engaged outside of just classwork, and has lots of terrific friends. So for us, SPES has been a win-win academically and socially. Cannot recommend more highly!
Our child recently completed kindergarten at SPES. We were very happy with the experience. Our child has thrived both socially and academically in this environment. She looks forward to going to school each day. We were looking for an academically challenging environment that also fostered a love of school and learning. We feel that we have found the right school for our family. Our child's teachers were supportive and nurturing, but also took the time to work with us on building self-advocacy skills in our child. We have found the school fosters positive and respectful relationships amongst the children. We are very pleased with our decision and are looking forward to the years ahead.
We are in our third year at St. Paul's and while our first two years (K-1st) were wonderful, we've hit a roadblock. We love the philosophy of the school, the sense of community, the diversity, but we're dismayed by the great number of teachers who left at the end of the school year last year (two teachers did not return and gave less than two weeks' notice before the school year began). There are wild inconsistencies between teachers per grade (one first grade teacher can be warm, engaging and exceptional; the other cold, belligerent, and disengaged). We question how hires are made and how much the school is committed to attracting exceptional teachers who love their kids. St. Paul's has had an excellent reputation in the past. I hope that they take action to keep good teachers, and moreover, good kids. It would be a shame to see them continue this downward slide.
We are very happy at St. Paul's; teacher engagement and excellence is one of the strongest parts of our educational experience. Every teacher we have had has been caring, smart, creative, capable, and inspirational. The teachers do a wonderful job of keeping students engaged in the curriculum, integrating the social and academic curricula through thoughtful pedagogical best practices, and have been available and responsive to parent questions. We are on the middle to lower income scale at St Pauls--we are a multiracial family, receive 50 percent aid and have a tiny house in a marginal neighborhood. We have play dates here and in people's Piedmont mansions; while economic differences are real, they do not stop our community (kids and parents) being authentic and connected.
SP's is really pretty average in that some teachers are good while some others are pretty uninspired and fairly traditional (and sometimes shaming) in their discipline. Yard vigilance could be better since that's where bullying seems to happen most. Some kids who are real behavioral problems are allowed to stay at St. Paul's, and per another poster, the head of the school can be pretty autocratic. Although my children don't have learning disabilities, parents of kids with learning disabilities complained that their kids really didn't get what they needed this year in the way of support and follow through. St. Paul's seems to do a good job when it comes to their students knowing how to behave in public. Chapel can be sweet and sometimes unending and boring. There seems to be a divide along class lines--the kids from Montclair don't seem to have play dates with the kids from E. Oakland.
I cannot say enough good things about St. Paul's. We have a kindergartner and a 3rd grader currently at the school and both are thriving. My children's learning styles could not be more opposite so I am particularly appreciative of the Differentiated Learning techniques used throughout the grades. From my first tour as a perspective parent to just yesterday every visit to the school has put a huge smile on my face. I only wish I could have attended St. Paul's!
St. Paul's has been an amazing place for our entire family. In addition to excellent academics, superb music program, consistent athletics and a nationally recognized service learning program, the community our family has come to be a part of and thrive within has been the biggest gift. The school and its administration have done much to bring the school to the forefront of educational institutions. The school has a brand new website through which a great deal of information is consistently disseminated to the parent and student bodies. This has tremendously enhanced communication between the parents and the administration and also permits parents up-to-the-minute access to their kids' programs, assignments and activities. Look for yourself: www.spes.org. You can see the vitality of the school and its student body. The dedication of the faculty and administration to the education of the whole child at St. Paul's is truly inspirational.
St. Paul s provides a rich academic experience, fosters a love of learning, and empowers its students to make a difference in their communities. At St. Paul s, we have found talented and loving teachers dedicated to really getting to know each of our children as an individual and helping them to reach their full potential. The Administration does a great job of communicating and is always accessible. You can nearly always find the Head of School out in the morning warmly greeting the children and helping them prepare for the day ahead. I don't think you will find a cooler group of parents anywhere. In short, after 9 years, St. Paul's has been a great place for our kids and for us.
St. Paul's has been a wonderful experience for both our kids and us. The school offers superb academics in a nurturing and supportive environment. The teachers and staff are super dedicated and their tenure exceeds the average of many private schools. The school administration does a great job of communicating to the entire community in a thoughtful and inclusive way. The administration strives to include faculty, administration, students, etc. on decisions/initiatives. There are a number of joint committees where teachers/staff are members are asked to engage and share their thoughts and ideas. Our community also empowers our students; kids are leading committees on issues that affect their daily lives. While no academic institution is prefect, St. Paul's is pretty close to utopia for our family.
St. Paul's is a school with a soul -- a uniquely Oakland institution whose spirituality, academic excellence, service learning, diversity, community, advocacy, and vitality are part and parcel of the city in which the school resides and in which our children experience the changing world in all its wonderous, miraculous moments. Our family has been part of the St. Paul's community for six years. We most appreciate 1) the unbelievable teachers whose inspiration, love, professionalism, diversity, and passion for teaching thoroughly engage our children 2) parents - we are a unified team with shared values and a collaborative approach to resolving any issues that arise -- we are good friends. 3) the values of the school are evident in each inquisitive, compassionate St. Paul's student. St. Paul's is our gift to our children and ourselves.