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San Juan Capistrano, CA
Students enrolled: 1,157

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31641 La Novia Avenue
San Juan Capistrano, CA 92675

(949) 661-0108
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Map of St. Margaret's Episcopal School address.
January 21, 2015
As a parent of a current SMES student I can confidently say Saint Margarets is the total package. Teachers and staff set high standards for the students and are incredibly supportive. The school strives to build bonds between families all with the goal of giving their children the highest educational goals possible. The school also has security roaming around at all entrances on their bicycles and parents must wear an ID badge to enter. The resources the students have at their fingertips allow for scholastic, interpersonal and atheletic learning to happen without boundaries. Everyday after drop off I know that my child's time will be used to its fullest potential. There is never a worry of wasting time, busy work, waiting in long lines, waiting for things to be passed out. The school supports learning for each and every individual student.

- submitted by a parent
June 13, 2014
One strength of St. Margaret's is the amount of resources it has that is used fairly well to enrich the student and parent experience. Unlike public schools that suffer from government cuts, private schools like this seem to be able to avoid financial issues in taking care of student experience. Another strength of St. Margaret's is school safety. The school makes it a priority to partake in fire, earthquake, and shooter drills to enhance student safety. The biggest reason I wouldn't send my kids to st. Margaret's, as a former student of St. Margaret's, when I get older is because simply, the experience is not worth the tuition. There are some great faculty at St. Margaret's: some. There are so many small infractions hidden in the rule culture of St. Margaret's that it almost would serve better as a disciplinary institution, such as the infamous "no-hugging" policy enacted in the middle school. Many of these rules allow for a school that does not socially prepare students for college. Academic benefits and opportunities are present at times, but disadvantages exist as well. St. Margaret's ultra-competitive nature(in class) hinders communication, teamwork, and group work skills.

- submitted by a community member
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
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
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.

- submitted by a community member
October 05, 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
October 01, 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
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 counseling...it 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
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
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
February 05, 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
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
December 09, 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
no rating December 04, 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
no rating 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
August 04, 2009
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a student
April 19, 2009
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a parent
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
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
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
no rating January 02, 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
December 29, 2007
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a student
December 09, 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
November 09, 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
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
October 06, 2007
The school is good, teaching is good....the only thing i don't like is that it is always asking for money....and the price gets higher every year...but otherwise, it's a good school.

- submitted by a parent
October 04, 2007
This review submitted without content.

- submitted by a parent
no rating July 11, 2007
St. Margaret's is private school education at it's finest. Small classes, smart, caring and responsive teachers, terrific administration, outstanding after school sports and activities in a strong moral environment. You get what you pay for, and SMES is more expensive than all the others, but if you want the best, this is it.

- submitted by a parent
June 18, 2007
This is a wonderful school, having put my children through numerous schools, including public, St. Margaret's stands out as one of the finest in all areas.

- submitted by a parent
August 13, 2005
This school has great teachers and a friendly environment, but almost everything is decided by favoritism and nepitism. My children have faced unfair grading, etc. because of this. The classes are well structured and there are many oppurtunities for activities.

- submitted by a parent
June 17, 2005
St. Margarets is a good school for girls. I love the enviroment. Not to much parent involvment though.

- submitted by a teacher
April 18, 2005
The parents are extremely involved. The children are all very responsible and polite. They are not snobby and there are all types of children attending. The Chapel is meditative and not overly Christian specific. I love the science lab and the fact that it goes all the way to 12th grade. The hardest part is getting in. There were no 1st grade openings this year. Sports are great because even if you don't make the competitive team, you can still play on a regular team. The summer program is a great way to get introduced to the school and anyone can attend.

- submitted by a parent

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Last modified: January 21, 2015

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St. Margaret's Episcopal School
31641 La Novia Avenue, San Juan Capistrano, CA  92675
(949) 661-0108
Last modified St. Margaret's Episcopal School is a Private school that serves grades K-12
St. Margaret's Episcopal School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 32 reviews. Top