St. Margaret S Episcopal School

Private | PK-12


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Living in San Juan...

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $375,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $2,030.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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26 reviews of this school

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Posted July 23, 2012

I could not imagine a better environment for my child. The mission of SMES is to "educate the hearts and minds of young people for lives of learning, leadership, and service," and that is EXACTLY what SMES does. My children have attended SMES since preschool. They are bright, inquisitive, kind, creative, respectful, and compassionate. The character development and whole-child education is impeccable. Go TARTANS!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 13, 2012

My five year old tested in the 90th percentile for language in the country and average to middle of the road in all other areas. We were told that she was not ready for St. Margarets school yet because most five year olds currently attending, " hit the ground running" by the time they arrive on campus. I was shocked that my child was not admitted however I'm shure the program is without question a good one.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 25, 2012

I love SMES. This is my first year here as a freshman and it is so much better than the public school here in orange county. I came from the CUSD school system and it is so much different. The students are so much more respectful to the teachers and to the campus. The teachers help in any way they can but still make us be independent. There is a lot of homework, but everyone one is involved with extracurricular activities at school. The teachers are devoted to us learning and so is the entire staff. Everyone is so helpful and I love it much more than the public school systems in orange county.

Posted October 5, 2010

We are very happy with St Margaret's as a school. Our only complaint is with the arts, and sports. Only the best, are allowed to participate in musicals, and at games. Being a Christian school, everyone should be given a chance. Winning is not everything.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 1, 2010

If you can get into this highly selective school you are lucky. It is universally known as the most academic and desirable school in Orange County attracting the most intelligent students as well as many from well known families. The atmosphere is amazing- ethics and values are stressed in conjunction with an exceptional academic curriculum that sets it apart from the rest. The facility is breathtaking and a new middle school and performing arts center will be complete by the end of next year. Set amongst rolling hills- it is the kind of environment I have always dreamed of for my kids. The kids who graduate from this school are sought after everywhere, as they are bright, well spoken and tend to have developed a high ethical code to move them forward in life. Simply the best and worth every penny.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 30, 2010

We just left SMES and already miss it. I do not see how anyone could have their children go this school and not notice the level of excellence achieved at all levels. Great Teachers, Great Staff. Great Leadership, Tremendous college is clearly one of the top schools in the country. I want to add that it stresses Honor in the curriculum and that is what we liked the most about it, our kids coming home and wanting to talk about what it is to be honorable. We were low income parents but our kid's experienced no prejudice, were given ample financial aid, and the oldest even became valedictorian. SMES is objective, high quality and caring. You can not find a better school in Southern California.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 21, 2010

I ADORE SMES!!!! It is honestly the best school i have EVER attended! It has soooo much to offer and everyone is nice. The extra curiculums are AMAZING!!! I have only been going there for 2 years and i never want to leave!!!! I LOVE YOU SMES!!!!!!!!!!! <3
—Submitted by a student

Posted February 24, 2010

My son has attended St. Margarets for the past 5 years. The school enviroment is excellent, teachers are great, but better education could be found elsewhere. There has been many turnovers including four principles in the last five years, but they are trying to improve. Depite the expensive tution, we are constantly asked to donate.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 5, 2010

My son attended for 2 years. We discovered there were schools that offered much better education in a more caring, individual environment and switched. We made many good friends and he enjoyed it but there are many other quality programs where the whole family is respected more.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 24, 2010

A great school and it beats anything from normal public schooling. It's easy to say this is one of the best schools in Orange County. I find the teachers pay large amounts of attention to student needs and I've found that very important to myself otherwise I would've failed Calculus. The only problem I have is with the food... Mass lunches bought from cheaper companies doesn't really help that much. Well... Theres not many other cons except for that.
—Submitted by a student

Posted December 9, 2009

After reading all of the previous reviews... I feel the need to set the record straight! SMES is a great school! Our family has been there since 1993. Yes it is expensive..but have you checked out the tuition for private schools up in the LA area ??? SMES Teachers.. are awesome! They are hardworking and dedicated. They are always striving for higher education and learning practices.The teachers try to be fair to everyone and every student! The Episcopal Church at SMES is embracing of all students from all religions. People from all socio/ economic backgrounds attend this school.. and we come together as one! We embrace each others differences and help each other in times of need. The students learn and practice respect! I am proud that my child attend this school and that we are apart of this great community of learners. :)
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 4, 2009

My children attended SMES for kindergarten thru high school, and I have a very mixed view on SMES. Clearly, SMES is the brain trust of OC schools with some of the brightest and most driven students with parents that reflect these same goals. However, I believe that the children succeed despite the teachers not because them. The teachers are not strong educators - almost every child has a private tutor for academic enrichment to achieve the high level of success. There are some fabulous teachers, but overall the teachers are just mediocre. The SMES community is outstanding with dedicated parents and a strong school spirit, but this is also changing. The new administration is out of touch with the heart and sole of the SMES community. I am not certain I could recommend St. Margarte's anymore.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 25, 2009

My son attended SMES 2nd grade thru high school graduation. We made treasured life-long family friends through our associations at this school. My son graduated from the University of Chicago with honors. Thanks to SMES, he was well prepared, adjusted to college life easily and finished on schedule. (SMES is a college prep school.) Sports, arts, community service programs were also excellent. We are extremely grateful to SMES. 'Thank you' seems an understatement to express our gratitude.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 13, 2009

One of the very best academically challenging schools in Orange County and tops in SoCal. Solid sports program where both boys and girls programs are very equally supported. Capistrano Valley public school system is miserable. Well worth the price to have your highly academic kids get a terrific education.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 16, 2008

Very warm and caring school. Every effort is made for children to learn and be successful. Great communication to the parents. They are careful to understand and assist in the development of the whole child.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 15, 2008

This is an excellent school however very expensive and the parents are very materialistic which trickles down to their children. The school is well kept and neat and they have strong athletics. Many parents have mixed reviews since their has been in change in administration. The administration is financially driven and this is run as a business not a school. You have a mix of Orange County's finest families as well as Orange County's biggest fraudulent families. Many times last year they had police and helicopters circling the school due to ciminal dramas. The administration doesnt care who attends their school as long as you pay the bill and donate heavily.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 2, 2008

St. Margaret's is a fabulous school! The teachers are dedicated and make every effort to know your child's personality. The comments you receive on the grade reports are in depth and insightful; there is plenty of help for those struggling with any academic issues, and the academics are challenging. They offer Chinese and Japanese starting in 8th grade, which is terrific and the football team is CIF champs two years running. All around great kids and families. Yes, it is expensive. Yes, they do aggressively court donations...How do you think they manage to have such an outstanding program? Everything has a price. There is financial aid and full scholarship opportunities, however, do not apply unless your child can handle rigorous academics. Much is given and much is expected of these students. There is a reputation that St. Margaret's is only for wealthy families, this is not true.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 9, 2007

Very solid overall and an academically challenging school. The sports are competitive but not one-sided as the academic focus trumps. Small and conducive for a student to be very involved in activities. The kids are overall outgoing and well-mannered. If your kids gets in, do not let them slack. T
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 9, 2007

Went into this school with hight expectations that were never met. We had a teacher with many years of experience, but very lazy; unwilling to give any extra help or attention to the children. Complaints fell upon deaf ears in the administration. This school prefers students fit into a small box that includes both academic and behavioral traits. They will not hesitate to council your child out of the school even if your child is smart and well behaved and will be above average at any other school. They will not make any effort to help your child if they need extra help during class, they will just council you out. Beware!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 22, 2007

My daughter has attended SMES for 7 years and absolutely adores it. The teachers are very good and engaged, the community (parents, children and faculty) is excellent, but it's costly. My niece graduated from St. Margaret's and was accepted to several Ivy League schools and now is at Harvard Medical School. That says a lot for the program.
—Submitted by a parent

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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

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Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school
White 74%
Asian 12%
Hispanic 6%
Two or more races 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 1%
Black 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0%
Source: NCES, 2009-2010

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31641 La Novia Ave
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675
Phone: (949) 661-0108


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