I am writing this review as a direct and factual response to the recent unfounded negative reviews that have been posted.
I have been part of the St. Mary School family since 2005, probably longer than most reviewers on this site, by far. This is probably why I take negative reviews almost personally.
In these 12 years I have been a parent, friend, volunteer and general steward of God's love within the St. Mary Community. Also within these 12 years, I have been fortunate to observe how dedicated the staff are to our children's faith and education behind the scenes.
One example is it's not uncommon for teachers to arrive 1.5-2 hours early to work and leave 1.5 to 2 hours late. Would any one of us stay an extra 3-4 hours a day at our job not being paid? I'm guessing not. This is only ONE common example of dedication by the teachers to our students.
Do these one star reviewers also know that the school consistently scores the highest level during State Accreditation? I'm going to guess no again. See the pattern here?
As a parent, my #1 expectation from St. Mary School is to provide the children with the highest level of academics within a faith filled environment. I am impressed year after year by how much they challenge my children in the classroom. I have been told multiple times by other parents and teachers that our students consistently score above the Diocesan average in all areas. This information was also clearly conveyed to parents at Ms. Allen's State of the School Address earlier in the year.
You may be wondering why St Mary’s is experiencing so many posts during these past few days. It’s because the school is having an Open House this Sunday and enrollment is down. Today, many of the classes are in the teens, twenties, or low thirties. Two years ago, the Principal told us the school needs to average 40 kids per class to stay financially solvent. Like many parents before us, we will be moving to a new elementary school. Why? Because we are tired of waiting for St Mary’s to become the school our child deserves. At this point, we are just embarrassed to have stayed this long. Choosing the right school for your child is very important. So we encourage you to go to the Open House and ask the many questions raised in the posts below. Like, does that teacher who didn’t allow bathroom breaks still work here? (The answer is yes). Is recess really in the parking lot? (Another yes). What daily after school programs do you offer? (None). Why are you still using STAR? (We don't know). Is there a fulltime Spanish Teacher? (Not anymore). How long has the Math, Science, and Computer teachers been with the school? (Only a few months). Is there an English teacher? (If so, we’ve never met him/her). How long does this Principal intend to stay? (We don’t know. What we do know is the Diocese drafted her away from another Catholic School. She didn’t offer to come back). Granted, St Mary’s is a beautiful school on the outside. And we’re ashamed to say, that’s what drew us in. So go and ask lots of questions. You may save yourself the guilt we feel for having chosen so poorly.
As a grandmother I’ve spent more than 2 years volunteering at St Mary’s and what I’ve seen concerns me. On many occasions I’ve witnessed teachers yelling at kids over petty things. To say this school is “strict” doesn’t accurately describe its philosophy. My own grandson came home one day upset that his entire class was angry with him. He told me when lining up for recess he said “good morning” to the boy next to him. For talking in line, the teacher took four minutes off of everybody’s recess. It’s just wrong to discipline kids through peer pressure. My grandson was just being kind to his classmate. But, the worst I ever saw was a note placed on a classroom door telling the kids they didn’t need their teachers’ permission to use the bathroom. I asked a parent in the class why the note. She said several kids had “accidents” sitting at their desks because the teacher did not allow bathroom breaks believing they “disrupted” the learning process. The note was to appease parents. This teacher was promoted to (and currently holds) an executive position at the school and still teaches part-time. Having volunteered many times in the classroom, I’ve learned St Mary’s approach relies heavily on worksheets with little opportunity for questions from the kids. This is probably necessary given the very large class sizes. Before families started leaving for other schools, my grandsons’ class was always around 38 kids. I was truly hoping for improvements under the new Principal. But I’ve asked several teachers what to expect of her and all I get are whisperings of “she’s very strict”. Yes, they really whispered. St Mary’s could also never explain to me why it uses the STAR standardized test. The STAR was discontinued in CA more than 3 years ago. How can parents (or grandparents) hold St Mary’s accountable when its performance cannot be compared to other schools? Happy we will be moving on to a new elementary school.
We have been part of the St.Mary community since 2010. I have 2 children that go to St. Marys they have been there from tk and kindergarten. I'm very
happy with the education my children receive. I'm also very happy Ms.Allen is back she is a AMAZING person that truly cares about the school and faith and future of our children. I would recommend this school to anyone.. Thank You St.Marys for everything you do for my children to succeed
I have had the opportunity to be a part of the St. Mary School community for several years now. I started as a relative to a student and now my own son is going to St. Mary’s. I am VERY happy with the teachers and the new principal. Ms. Allen has been a breath of fresh air for both the students and parents. The staff has nothing but nice things to say about her as well. I work in education myself and am extremely happy with their academic program as well as the loving environment they provide to all students. I always feel that decisions made are in the best interest of my child. I would recommend this school to anyone without hesitation. Thank you St. Mary School for everything you provide for my son. I know he is in great, capable hands.
My daughter has had an amazing experience at Saint Mary School. I truly believe that each and every teacher she comes in contact with knows and cares about her. She tends to be shy and takes awhile to warm up. Her teachers and principals have been patient and continued to be very kind and caring with her until she was comfortable with them. The teachers here are some of the hardest working teachers I have ever seen. The test scores show their dedication to high standards. If you have any doubt over the high academics at Saint Mary simply ask to see their test scores. They are very open with the high achievement of students and areas targeted for growth.
The kindergarten teacher is an amazing example of a Catholic role model. She taught my child from her heart and I will always appreciate her hard work and dedication. The first grade teachers are both doing a great job teaching my child to read. They both communicate with me on a regular basis and the week is seamless between the 2 of them. I feel my child is lucky to have the best of both teachers.
My daughter is thriving academically, socially, and most importantly spiritually. I appreciate the hard work of the teachers, staff, and new principal. It has been a refreshing change with Ms. Allen as the leader. I plan to keep my daughter at Saint Mary until she graduates as the junior high parents have expressed their satisfaction with the program in the older grades. Saint Mary is an amazing school and community. My husband and I feel privileged to be a part of this school. I am proud to say my daughter is a Saint Mary Mustang.
My family has spent many years at St Mary’s, but we are moving on next year. St Mary’s is on its 3rd principal in 4 years. Many, many families have left for other schools. During the past 2 years nearly all of the teachers have quit with some positions turning over more than once. And beginning last year certain teachers are being asked to serve two roles. Like, currently the Spanish teacher is also the TK teacher. And the first grade teacher is also the Vice Principal. Last year, the PE teacher taught computers. This year he was asked to teach 7th grade. At back to school night our new principal told us we parents needed to make better decisions. Parents aren’t the problem. Having recently visited several public & private schools I was shocked to learn my child is behind in math because at St Mary’s she has consistently scored very high in this area. While visiting with one of the East Sac public schools a staff member asked about my experience with St Mary’s. She stated several families are coming through their school telling stories about their kids having been treated very badly. Then, she said “don’t worry this is a nice school”. To this point, there is a lot of yelling at the kids. One night I found my child crying at home. I asked her what was wrong. My child said “mommy, why am I such a bad person.” She then explained…”my teacher said I am [unkind words]” and “my teacher said I am [more unkind words]”. My child actually believed that being treated this badly was normal and deserved.
If you decide to send your child to this school you should know that starting in 2nd grade the kids have recess in the concrete parking lot. There is no shade, no grass, and no playground. There is also no after school program. Other schools have science clubs, Lego clubs, computer clubs, robotic clubs, karate, yoga, (etc.). None of these exist at St. Mary’s.
If you are looking for a great school for your child, this the place! St. Mary School has a wonderful sense of family and community that you experience the moment you step on campus. The teachers and staff really care and they offer an excellent program. There are full time teachers for art, music, Spanish, computers, science, and enrichment-which is extra help if your child needs it. All of this is included in the regular tuition. Trust me, other schools don't offer all this. My son attended K-8th and St. Mary School is an important part of what a wonderful person he is. I strongly recommend St. Mary School, but don't just take my word for it, as a parent you should visit and decide for yourself-I think you are very likely to agree. As for the couple of not so good reviews, I can only say if you took a poll of the families, St. Mary School would get a resounding thumbs up!
Great academics and a overall amazing sense of community. I love their algebra 1 program and all the extra classes. The NEW principal is great and has a great understanding of the school. Their polices and rules are quite stirict but overall good. Great school and community.
I went here for a semester in 7th grade and my experience was awful. The religion teacher taught from a more evangelical approach than Catholic, and the ideas presented to the class were very extreme. She said if we were gay we would go to hell and she threatened to suspend us if she caught us on a date with another student. The teachers and other faculty clearly didn't know how to handle children and would yell at us often for minor things. For recess we had a yard that was all concrete, and teachers would stand in one place and yell at kids through mega phones. For these reasons and more, I would never send a child of mine to this school.