Soon our child will graduate and we can be done with the Catholic style punitive envronment that is pervasive in this traditional school. Innovative it is not - but then how could it be when you have leadership and teachers that aren't interested in furthering their own personal and professional education. K thru 3 works, middle school continues to be a challenge with teachers changing year after year after year. The parent community is wonderful.
My child has also graduated and, quite frankly, it is a tremendous relief to be away from the school. Although the early years are great and the uniforms very cute by the time middle school roles around the bloom is off the rose. There is tremendous teacher turnover at the middle school level except for the English teacher who has been there for years and is excellent. Math and science are poorly taught and the French program lacks structure and focus. After 9 years of exposure to French one would except a child to be somewhat knowledgable but the children never seem to rise above a very basic level. Math is the greatest disappointment, however, poorly taught and harshly graded the program leaves children ill prepared for high school.
Now that our son has graduated I feel compelled to tell the real truth about NDV. They are old-school, traditional, and are not up to speed on the critical thinking and expository writing requirements kids need today for high school. For years we witnessed many boys being told that they were lazy, not up to par, and that their questions and ideas lacked importantance. Our son, among other boys, self esteem over the years was crushed and limited his ability to feel successful. We tried to work with the leadership and we were patronized again and again. We wish that we had transferred after the first signs of red flags. I am sure that others do too - parents do talk. Complacency in education is not okay - Be careful in your selection.
NDV is the city's best kept secret. It attracts highly motivated parents with a strong sense of community and commitment to education. The Principal and the Pastor are very strong and committed leaders. The school has strong Catholic values but is also very inclussive and supportive to non-Catholics. My kids who are in elementary school have thrived at the school, their favorite subjects being art, PE and science. NDV has been very supportive of one of my kids who has learning differences. The school also has a great afterschool program which makes it viable for both parents to work a full day. The downside is the large class size. I also wish the core French program were stronger in the Elementary School. There is a new afterschool French program which is a great supplement.
In the nutshell, this school is academically challenging, discipline oriented and has a lot of family support. The big problem at NDV is its leadership. Status-quo attitude, favoritism, and keeping students down with unreachable goals and is just unacceptable. Families either leave in middle school or keep hush because of the pending threat of high school recommendations.
My kids have been at NDV since Kindergarten and they are now in middle school. For the most part, we are satisfied with the school. The teachers are a bit conservative and it would be nice to see a more innovative approach to teaching. Art Teacher is amazing and so is the PE teacher. Great French teacher (for upper division, I am not familiar with the elementary French teacher, so cannot comment.) The school definintely takes advantage of its urban location -- lots of field trips around SF, new exhibitions, museums. etc. NDV Communitiy is very supportive and welcoming.
The pros: great community, good lower school teachers (K-3), funny physical education teacher. Cons: lots of busy work, old school teaching, 35 minutes a week of physical activity, 35 minutes of art a week, large student class size - small classrooms, administration, etc. The list is too long to continue.
We've been parents at NDV for 4 years. We love NDV! It's a very well balanced school - a great education with caring & attentive teachers, rigorous academic instruction, and a kind, all inclusive community. Mrs. Ghisolfo is an outstanding, engaged principal. She is very hands-on and always available. We couldn't be happier! Go Dragons!
After transferring from one of the other private schools in the city I must say that I am more than satified and truly impressed with the sense of respect, caring, discipline and order this school provides on top of the excellent, well-rounded education. The parents are incredibly involved. My family and I were immediately welcomed and felt at home during the transiton. There are high expectations here, rules and order expected. We like this compared to the extremely unstructured and disorganized environment we just left. If you don't like structure and high expectations, this school is not for you. Look at where all the graduates attend High Schools- the top Schools in SF. That speaks volumes.We love NDV and highly recommend it.
Buyer beware - the previous reviews were planted by the school. As a soon to be parent alumni, I want to let people know that though this school was wonderful for my childs early educational experience, from K-3, it began to be horrifying in the 4th grade. and when our child got to middle school it only got worse. Every year our child had new science, french, math and history teachers -many who just graduated from college. For the last few years we have supplemented our childs education with $800 worth of outside tutoring a month. The kids are given 35 minutes, once a week, for P.E., art and music though they lead you to believe that it is a well rounded education. For the last three years their discipline program has been soley punishing the students. It is how I recall catholic schools were 30 years ago.
I am a graduate from the class of 2008, and all I can say about NDV is the great things. The thing maybe looked down upon is the discipline, but the discipline only will help you in the future. I am now attending a private high school in San Francisco and I would be totally lost without the aid of NDV. This school has to be in the top three private schools in San Francisco; the amount of education and activities provided is great for your future. As all kids, we think school might be boring with all the work and the rules we have to follow, but once you graduate, you only look back on all the great additions in your life from NDV and how much you have learned. This school has a great education program that will only help your kids in the future.
Our daughter is thriving in an environment that is both caring and disciplined. My wife and I were amazed that the Principal personally called to check on our daughter when she was home sick from school. The academics are challenging and well-paced. The school environment is clean, safe and constantly being upgraded. The children are taught French daily beginning in kindergarten. The children in the upper grades are tremendous role models for the younger students and set great examples. The parent community is very involved and enjoys a great social connection via school sponsored events. Wonderful attention to the arts. I can not recommend this school enough.
NDV is a jewel in SF. The kids are happy and well mannered; the teachers are established and amazing with the children; and finally the principal is truly incredible. It is a very well rounded school. I highly recommend NDV.
My two kids have been at this school since kindergarten. My oldest is now in middle school. It is an exceptional school. The kids do very well on the required standardized tests (ITBS), consistently scoring exceptionally high on these tests. They go on the the prime Bay Area high schools, and also from what we have seen - fine colleges as well: UCLA, Cal, Stanford & Harvard. (Although there is a lot in between this school & college, but still...) There is a wonderful interaction between the parent body and the faculty/staff. There is a strong commitment to the arts with a dedicated teachers and rooms for art, music, and private music lessons. They also have a separate teachers for science and computers with dedicated labs for each. Have always felt my kids we safe, well taken care of, and challenged. French classes start for the kids in kindergarten.
This school is fine up to 5th grade. We were very happy until then. Middle school is a nightmare of endless homework and harsh discipline. No matter how hard the kids work and for over how many years, it's never good enough. The kids are worked to the bone and rarely get a pat on the back. Maybe I'll be thanking them in years to come but right now, I'd be grateful to get a little of my child's childhood back.
We transferred to NDV this year and our expectations for this school have more than been exceeded. Incredible parent involvement, amazing sense of community and a tremendous appreciation for the arts at this school. The older students are wonderful role models for the younger children. The expectations for everyone (parents and students alike) are high. The principal is exceptional and her leadership and dedication- along with her very seasoned staff- shows. We feel very fortunate to be a part of this school and its community.
Wonderful faculty and children. There is a great sense of community and school pride here. With many opportunities for involvement, the parent community is a close knit one. Probably one of the best parochial schools in SF providing a well-rounded educational experience for all students. We are very happy with our decision to send our child here! Go Dragons!
I just moved from SF to Seattle and i really miss going to ndv. the teachers are awesome and the kids are great. I really miss San Francisco
Excellent school - fantastic teachers, challenging program, great environment. High parent involvement with activities, fund raisers, etc. Awesome principal.
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