As a parent I had two children attend St Matthews so we were there a long time. Pre-K thru 8th with both children. This is the only school that I can say all the kids who are fortunate to go there LOVE to learn. This got both my, children through college which is the point. The school does tend to be clicky as the kids have all known each other since mommy and me. I feel the administration definitely does not hand out consequences equally to all.
I attended St. Matthews. The academics were utterly superb--especially in the English and Math departments. When I got to high school (Marymount; where I was given a merit scholarship; I also was accepted to Brentwood school and Harvard-Westlake for the 9th grade class, where there are few openings) the academics we're downright easy compared to St. Matthews. Every single literature book I had read in 4 years of Marymount, I had already read/dissected and enjoyed at St. Matthews. They taught me how to write an excellent essay, a skill which I still use to this day (I'm a physician). The drawback to St. Matthews is the nasty kids, many of whom are bullies. I think that's equally as important as the academics. I was mercilessly teased, even tho I was tall, blonde and thin just like the rest of them. St. Matthews definitely "taught" me how to over-achieve, but at what price?
St. Matthew's is a wonderful school with a terrific sense of community and beautiful 30 acre campus. Perhaps because it starts in preschool, the children really get to know the younger and older siblings of their classmates which contributes to the family feel of the school. The teachers are bright, hardworking and enthusiastic. The school uses the same reading and math programs used at other top private schools, and there is a real emphasis placed on developing moral character. The teachers really make an effort to find public speaking opportunities for even the youngest children through terrific class plays and other school activities. The school strikes a wonderful balance with children receiving an excellent education while also enjoying their childhoods. A recent post noted a few preschool children are held back from starting Kindergarten (typically 1 or 2 out of a class of 28). This is really a function of the school matriculating children when they are 3 yrs. old with widely varying birthdays, a common issue at stand-alone private preschools with the youngest kids sometimes requiring an additional year of preschool before applying to private elementary schools.
Pros of this school: Fantastic facilities, amazing campus. Safe beautiful school with grounds unlike any other in Los Angeles. Nice community. Cons: Not enough individualized attention. They kind of plod along with a one size fits all mentality. If you have a kid who is especially bright or interested in something, the administration will not respond to that interest or do something more with an individual child. For a kid who is ready for more stimulation, they will not accommodate that interest, i.e an interest to read or in learning numbers before they deem it appropriate. It starts at the Kindergarten, where they don't do enough splitting the kids by ability. It also seems to be that a lot of kids get held back, perhaps because there is not enough intervention and attention to the individual needs of the child.
This is a wonderful caring school. They not only have a high academic standard but teach empathy and service. No school is perfect and as a small independent school they cannot offer accelerated classes in all topics but they care about the moral character development of each student.
No place will ever be perfect, but this is as close to a perfect school situation as one will experience. I have two children that spent a total of 15 years there, and they only have the best memories. The school leadership is great and the teachers are experienced, caring, and in many ways go beyond the call of duty. Yes, kids can sometimes be catty, but that is everywhere. Part of life is learning to deal with it.
St. Matthew's is an incredibly wonderful school. I have not found the parents or leadership to be 'snootier' than any other local private school. I would agree, however, that the math program is not as rigorous as it could be, particularly for those students who have a high math aptitude.
St. Mathew's is a good school but it is very taken with itself. The parents and leadership are very snooty and think they're better than everyone else...not a very Christian world view. Their math program is drivel.