Maybe some day the Dominican sisters will install a real leadership team at San Domenico. Until then: stay away. The level of amateurishness and chaos at this school has to be seen to be believed. In the past year, virtually every top position at San Domenico has turned over: head, assistant head, development director, admissions directors, all three division heads, all three assistant division heads. The new head of school seems intent on replacing everyone below her. What's happened to San Domenico in the past two years is a crying shame. At some point, it needs to be said: The Dominican sisters are responsible for neglecting this institution and for a series of bad personnel decisions. If the school is to be saved, it needs to be turned over to competent, professional managers who understand what private education is all about in a competitive marketplace like Marin County.
Over the years, we've found that the parents who get the most frustrated with San Domenico are the ones who want their kids on the Branson-Stanford track. If that's where you think your child belongs, then this is probably not the school for you. San Domenico is basically a neighborhood institution run by the women of Sleepy Hollow with the backing of the Dominican sisters. To many parents, it starts to feel very insular the longer you're here. There are some positives as well: kids get more attention than they would at Brookside or White Hill, there are lots of extracurricular programs and the campus is gorgeous. Most important, there are some wonderful families and children at this school. Just don't come to San Domenico expecting a highly rigorous academic program or a global perspective. If you do, you could end up being disappointed.
Pluses: Campus - gorgeous Programs - wide variety Resources - well funded Sustainability - commitment Minuses: Diversity - little to none Academics - weak and one-size-fits-all Social - conservative and strict Administration - chaos and turnover
We have been parents at this school for quite a while now. The past couple of years have been the most disappointing ones we've experienced at San Domenico. To address its financial problems, the school has dramatically increased tuition without a corresponding increase in academic quality, and has let all kinds of kids into the middle school in an effort to improve cash flow and to make up for enrollment declines elsewhere. It turns out that despite the administration's crowing about how well it is doing, the data show that the school has some obvious problems - poor high school placements, low levels of fundraising, high levels of financial aid needed to attain enrollment, etc. We feel as though the things we prized most about San Domenico, namely a caring, nurturing environment where kids can learn to be good people as well as good students, are not nearly so true these days. In terms of quality, San Domenico feels more and more like the neighborhood public school we came from, but without the accountability and standards of a public school.
I have had three children attending primary school here. We chose San Domenico because we believed we and the school could work together to provide our children with a nurturing environment focused as much on social/emotional wellbeing as academics. We also wanted to prevent cliques and bullying from being a part of their lives. I can honestly say that San Domenico teachers and administration has disappointed us in every way possible. They use old-style teaching techniques and their way of dealing with social or emotional conflict for children is to put pressure on children and parents to resolve issues themselves. They make kids feel bad about themselves. I have watched countless boys become stereotyped, stressed-out and pressured to the point of 0 self-esteem. The people who run the school care about 1 thing-- making money, and standing the tallest in the community, even at the cost of values and self-esteem for children. The campus is gorgeous, which makes it that much more ironic (and sad) that what is happening inside is not pretty.
I have two children who attended San Domenico primary and middle school and both were extremely well prepared for a very rigorous high school, especially in math, Spanish, science, research skills, and writing. I also appreciated SD's focus on social/emotional development and on service. My children loved their SD teachers and still go back to visit them!
We've been at this school for over 7 years. If you're looking for strong academic achievement this is probably not the best fit for you. While the curriculum is voluminous and challenging, the actual achievement isn't high. My child has struggled with math. The school's solution is always to seek outside tutoring. Even with tutoring 2x a week for 2 years, I did not see my child's number sense increase. I've had many conversations with other parents having the same experience with this subject. I had her math knowledge assessed over the summer and she achieved 50% knowledge for a grade and half behind her! The math program seems especially rudderless -- they keep trying new approaches hoping to raise achievement, when really I feel they are hiring unaccomplished teachers, who apparently are never held accountable for their students' results. Leadership is also not particular about who they accept with classroom size increasing upwards of 35% year to year. What SD is really good at is providing a positive, nurturing, value-driven, challenging learning environment where children become compassionate, kind, critical thinking, and respectful of themselves and others.
I have been blown away by the program at San Domenico! My daughter is in the primary school and the teachers are really fun, caring, and extremely knowledgable about best practices. Their literacy program is top notch (I have never seen kids spend so much time reading-for pleasure!) and their art program is amazing. In Kindergarten, they do artist studies and learn about the artists and their paintings all while trying out that painting style on their own. Extra-curricular are phenomenal - from music lessons, to tennis, horse back riding, swim team, etc, etc, etc... San Domenico is a beautiful campus, but more importantly, a beautiful community. We are very happy here. I highly recommend it.
San Domenico is an amazing community where all students learn, grow and thrive. The curriculum is differentiated to meet the learning needs and learning style for each individual student. With small class size, San Domenico is able to individualize instruction and provide engaging experiences for all students. The student and community activities are all inclusive and wonderful celebrations that highlight the arts and the emphasis on educating the whole child.
San Domenico exceeded all of my expectations for my daughter. Not only has she excelled academically, but she has truly blossomed into a person of integrity, confidence, grace and compassion. The teachers are foundational to the success of San Domenico. They work tirelessly with students and parents alike, and are truly understanding of, and dedicated to the developmental, social-emotional, and intellectual needs of each child. The visual/performing arts programs are unparalleled (truly the best in Marin County) as are the sustainability program and the religious studies program. I am thrilled with the inclusive religious studies program, which mirrors the school's mission of honoring diversity and strengthening the ethical and moral character of all students. Academically, my daughter is THOROUGHLY prepared for high school in every subject. The literacy, math, and foreign language programs are also extraordinary and paved the way for my daughter's love of learning and success in high school and beyond. A San Domenico education is truly the most lasting and important gift you can give your children!
We have loved San Domenico! We have several students there and have been extremely pleased. Our children are not only being educated, but they are learning how to be good people in the world - to look beyond themselves to help others. The teachers are unbelievably dedicated and truly care about each student. There are many impressive programs outside of the music program and our children have experienced them all. I would highly recommend every aspect of this wonderful school!
San Domenico is the best school! Students receive an outstanding education in addition to gaining confidence and character to go forth to make this world a better place. The focus of the "whole child" is evident and part of the school's culture. One of my favorite aspects of the school is that students experience giving back to others through our service learning program starting in pre-kindergarten. I've worked at San Domenico for over 8 years, and I can't imagine being part of any other school community. It's truly a remarkable and supportive place!
San Domenico High School is an All girls high school with students from across the world. They have excellent academics and truly look for students to learn to think and communicate. They are strengthened by their Dominican heritage which is inclusive of all faiths and asks all students to look seriously at their spiritual and social growth. They are a small school yet excel in most activities. They have the nations best orchestra and the girls are invited to put on productions at Edinburgh's Fringe Festival of Drama. I cannot imagine a better place for my daughter.
I have a ninth grade daughter at San Domenico High School. I have never encountered a faculty and staff with more heart. The teachers at the school really care about the girls and do everything in their power to help them both academically and personally. This is just the type of supportive environment that is essential for a young woman in today's world. Do not hesitate to look at this school for your daughter, and do not be fooled by the quiet, unassuming way this school presents itself. This school is a hidden gem in this county!
I have two college aged daughters who graduated from San Domenico School, and a daughter in 7th grade who has attended since Pre-K. It is a school K-8 for both boys and girls. I feel so grateful that my children have had such an amazing education. My youngest daughter is also extremely interested in music, and has excelled in the Honors piano program at the award winning Music Conservatory, has been involved in dance, chorus and drama. She LOVES going to school each day. The teachers at San Domenico are amazing. Many have graduate degrees and are teaching because they are passionate about teaching. The children can feel this and do not take it for granted. We have amazing Heads of each division of education, and a new Head of School who is spreading the word about what a great program we have. We are also very fortunate to have two professional school counselors who help the students navigate through school socially and educate the parents about raising a child in today's world. I cannot tell you how much I personally love being a part of this community and how my children have really thrived at San Domenico School.
San Domenico is an amazing school for High School girls who are serious about their studies and want to also enjoy being a girl without all the drama. This program helps girls build confidence in themselves and their beliefs so that when they graduate and move onto college they will be leaders on campus. The music program and horseback riding programs are excellent as well as the sports programs. I would not hesitate for one second about this school - it is amazing.
Our child has been at the school for seven years and it has been a fabulous experience. There is a good balance of academics, athletics and music. The teachers make a great effort to get to know your child as an individual.The bus system is reliable and included in the tuition. The new Head of School is very engaged - wants to hear from parents but also has great ideas to make the school an even better place for our children.
The Head of San Domenico(SD) school incredibly engaged and working hard to maintain the quality of education that SD provides. The Admissions Director is an extremely qualified gentleman. I have had kids in the school for 10 years from preK to 8th grade. There is absolutely no partying like behavior among the kids or the faculty. This is an education in the Dominican Tradition of values, truth and exploration. The kids come out extremely well prepared for high school academically and socially. They end up attending the top high schools in the area. The education at San Domenico is challenging and the environment is supportive. Bullying is not tolerated. The rumors at my son's high school are that the San Domenico kids are the only ones NOT doing drugs and partying. The administration, faculty and parents are incredibly committed to the school and it shows in the kids happy faces and success in life. The school has many extracurricular opportunities as well including sports, music, art, horse back riding and other clubs such as chess and mathletes.
Academically a very weak school for mediocre students led by mediocre teachers. Local public schools have far superior academics and teachers. Please do your homework by visiing an educational consultant prior to considering this school and visit local public schools to compare academics. The high school has a few talented students who attend for the music program but forfeit the academics. Sports program is also weak. Grounds are lovely but that is the only attraction beyond the music program. Bullying, serious behavioral problems and partying students are the accepted norm. Unfortunately, many of the students follow the example set by the teachers. Excelling in academics is strongly discouraged. The administrators are mostly teachers themselves and the school was a family run operation for several years with the Head of the School and his wife, the Admissions Director, both former teachers attempting to manage the school. The board is oblivious to the fact that the teachers are poor leaders in desperate need of management and who must be held accountable for their actions.
agree with the review below that the school has great teachers. i have two children at the school and we've been there for three years. Where should I start? The program? Amazing. The facilities? Spectacular. The faculty and administration: unparalleled. They are dedicated, talented and truly care about every student as an individual. I have spent time in the classroom and have, first hand, observed teachers definitely NOT turning a blind eye to disruptive behavior. I'm not sure what the review was going to say to complete the last sentence, but I have not witnesses nor have I heard other parents describe anything close to "greedy" and "too tolerant of trouble makers."
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