This is the place to send your kids if you want an environment that is authentically and unapologetically Catholic. In our experience, most Catholic schools are basically public schools with crucifixes. What makes the difference at St. Monica is that the founding parents were strongly and devoutly faithful, and they attracted likeminded families. The result is a community of faith in which the truths of Catholicism are taken for granted. You don t have to worry whether your kids are learning things in school that are opposed to the faith, and the vast majority of students (not all, of course) are decent and well-behaved. There are some bad apples, but the vast bulk of the peer pressure is positive. My sons were shy and reserved when they arrived here, but gained a ton of confidence by the time they graduated. I attribute this largely to the kindness of the students and teachers. It s easier to put yourself out there when you re not afraid of being torn to pieces by your peers. And lastly, but most importantly, my sons faith was strengthened, not only by learning authentic doctrine, but also due to the excellent example and kindness of parents, teachers and fellow students.
At first we fell in love with St Monica Academy. We were attracted to the Classic Education, the strong spiritual values, the small class sizes and beautiful campus. But we ended up removing our child from the school for other reasons. The lack of transparency when we first visited the school about the true school and community culture, which we only later realized is strongly affiliated with Opus Dei. We found that most of the teachers and Board members are Opus Dei, as well as most of the families. If you align with their values you will do well here, however, if you are slightly less "conservative" you might feel quickly out of place.
What a set back! Went to their Open House, all they had were tables with textbooks the students use during school year and some work from one student. NO MATH WORK Could not see the actual classrooms to gives us an idea what type of environment they have set up for the students. Faculty was not even friendly with new parents. As I approached one of the tables to see their work, the teacher instead of greeting us or offering help; she just turned her back on us and walked away from the table. What a fiasco!!!! Coming from such a high recommendations we expected a high end attitude coming from faculty and staff.
First , this is more a constructive criticism of the school. I only comment on what I observed. We live in arguably the most diverse state in this country. I I was initially attracted to this school based, on what I have read about it. I visited the school with my daughter who was interested in enrolling. She genuinely liked what she saw. The students were friendly. After waiting for about a month from the school to determine if she was accepted or not, we received a letter stating that she was not admitted. Although, disappointed, I realized there were many other schools she could apply to. What was insulting on the letter was that her name and another student's was on it. The school didn't even bother to proofread the letter before sending it out. Maybe they weren't interested in her as a student in the first place. I am happy to say that my daughter is now in an academically great Christian school with a diverse population. She is very happy with the outcome. Something great came out of this. My advise to this school, you need to a have a more diverse population which represents this great country. Isn't this what a true Catholic Education is all about. Good Luck!
This is the second wonderful year for our daughter who was not challenged at her previous school. SMA challenges the students to love to learn, not simply to have excellent grades. History for instance is studied from several sources, each presenting a unique prespective. Each course is similarly addressed. We have our doubts that Latin would be easily conquered, given that she came late to the school, yet, because of the manner in which the course is taught she has excelled. In just one year her academic national standings increased significantly. We can wait to see what happens this year ! The school is not perfect though... Up to approximately 160 students, it lacks its own facility and associated amenities. What it lacks in physical space is however made up in the educational emphasis placed on each student.
I have one high school graduate and one current student in the high school. My daughter was accepted into all of the colleges that she applied to and I know it was due to the unbelievable curriculum and high standards in the high school. These are some of the most engaged and knowledgeable faculty to be found. We consistently have had National Merit Scholars and have been accepted into many very good schools. On top pf that, I find the administration to be supportive and open to parents. Both my children were very happy that they attended and have made life long friends.
St. Monica Academy is an amazing place. We have been there 3 years and am very happy. The dedication of the teachers and staff is awesome. There are great opportunities for the kids to do drama, travel, have outstanding field trips and experience way more than is offered at other schools. The academics are strong, but all sorts of students can do well here. Now there are plenty of sports teams as well so that is not an issue any longer. What is best about our school is that children learn values that they see practiced every day. They do not just go to mass on Sundays and then not see their faith in action on the playground or in the classroom. These children are the types of children you dream your child to become. They present themselves with poise, self confidence and humility. Truly, an amazing school.
This school is unbelievably good--if you don't mind your children getting a conservative Catholic education. My wife and I are not Catholic; but we feel that the problems that we face in 'unteaching' our children things that we disagree with at St. Monica pale in comparison to the problems that we face in 'unteaching' our children things that they learn--or fail to learn--in the public school system. What a disaster! What a breath of life St. Monica has been by comparison. The students are loved, well taught, and appropriately behaved. They seem to be what kids should be--cheerful, happy, not stressed out. They *love* their school. This is the first year in my life that I've known kids to be *disappointed* when the school year came to an end.
Regarding the review posted on November 29th, 2007, a few things need to clarified. St. Monica Academy is not a traditionalist Catholic school in the sense of rejecting Vatican II, or even especially promoting the Tridentine Mass. The claim that 'many if not most would prefer to have a Catholic Church pre-Vatican II' is incorrect. This is not the case with anyone within the administration or faculty. Because the school takes fidelity to the Church seriously (which should simply make it 'Catholic' as opposed to 'very conservative') there are some who might be termed traditionalists who appreciate a place that is what it says it is, namely, a Catholic school faithful to the Church. As far as their number at St. Monica, I am aware of three families in the eight year history of the school who were actually affiliated in some way with traditionalist institutions or groups.
The school has many dedicated teachers and a healthy social and learning environment. I am impressed with the school's emphasis on personal development, responsibility and respect. Also, the religious formation is outstanding.