I couldn't be more happier with the school we chose for our daughter. She has been at the school since Kindergarten and will be heading into 3rd grade. We love the family oriented atmosphere because of the size of the school. Lots of parent involvement and transparency with the teachers and administrative staff. She not only gets a quality education but good spiritual guidance and lessons in proper etiquette. For its size the school offers quite a lot.
You won't be disappointed with SMA. My son has another loving parent while at school, his teacher! Expect hugs, consistency, high expectations, diversified student population, organization, high quality 'specials' educators (in particular Spanish, Music, Art, and Reading Specialist), individualized instruction, helpful and knowledgable resource specialist, and parent involvement.
We could not have chosen a better school for our son...and, actually, he told us he wanted Stella Maris Academy for his kindergarten year. We moved to San Diego from the East Coast. With family 2,800 miles away, we knew school would be more than a safe-haven for our son during the day....it would be our first step toward growing within a new community. Our initial hopes have been surpassed at every turn. We hoped SMA would be a place for our child to grow in his faith, find happiness with new friends and be a place for him to spread the wings of his mind and embrace new thoughts and information. SMA, on a daily basis, takes proactive steps to go beyond our basic wish for our son. We toured 11 schools from North County to Downtown and we told our son it was his final decision. We set foot at SMA, and he had a light shine from within. Everyone had a sincere, vested interest in him, as a person not just a prospective student, even at such a young age. Now in our 2nd year, we believe there is no better place for him, and for us. Everyone cares, makes a honest effort, teachers are stakeholders, parents are friends and our son is happy...Could not ask for more.
I'm actually a grandfather of student here but I am very involved with my grandson's education. Leadership here is very weak. Great teachers are being let go for artificial reasons . This school is very "teacher based" instead of "student based." I.e. changes made are based on the teachers' needs and wants instead of what students' need. For example, this school used to have an amazing Resource Center, constructed by a knowledgeable and effective educator and my grandson benefitted from this program greatly. I witness his increased academic performance while this educator was on board. Yet, somehow, the school managed to get rid of her despite the evident improvement of the students utilizing the center. Now, it is ran by an incompetent teacher who makes students feel bad for having special learning needs (as reported by my grandson and parents of several other students), and the center is crumbling. There is something fundamentally wrong with leadership. If your child has any challenges learning in a traditional way, this school is not for him/her. Although this school might give support, it is not effective and you will need outside resource to aid in your child's education.
This is a wonderful school. The principal, the teachers and the community is great. It is a true gift to be part of this school. My son is a new student and is extremely happy. He is enjoying learning again, and is very motivated. The teachers are so considerate,professional, caring, helpful and challenge their students to their fullest potential. The teachers are AMAZING! Not to mention that they all have degrees, credentials, masters, etc. etc.. You do not hear teachers yell at their students. The classes are super well structured and the discipline and respect is amazing as well as the academics. The way students learn is very unique. You feel at peace here. The social skills curriculum is superb also. Almost like a finishing school were students learn to interact in the outside world. They are taught to be confident, respectful and strong individuals, as well as how to behave in different circumstances. Very supportive, humble and caring school environment.
Have you seen the short bios on the teachers here? Do you notice how many of them have Master's Degrees, certifications, etc? The teachers are well-qualified, and most of them have children who went to SMA. The community of parents are wonderful. The children are brought up in a close knit, respectful, and wholesome way. The classes are intimate and the children respect and enjoy each others differences.
Because it's a smaller size school (only one class per grade), there is a huge sense of community and responsibility, the teachers know your kids before they reach the grade they teach and therefore know how to challenge them to the top of their potential.
This is a fantastic school. My child switched halfway through the year from public school and has been really enjoying it there. The teachers are kind and supportive, and they motivate their students to do their best.