A revolving door of teachers plague this school. This has been a problem with all three of our children attending. I have an eighth grader, a sixth, and a third, who all have had first year teachers multiple times. This has lead to problems each year the children have advanced since these teachers had extremely limited experience. The result is that the children have not been properly prepared for the following year, and have struggled each time they have advanced from another new, inexperienced teacher. Money is not a problem for the school, but clearly they are not paying their teachers enough to stay, or care. After 9 years with this school, I am not aware of anything that makes this school any better than any other Orange County school, public or private. Tuition goes up every year, roughly 1000.00 per child. So at 21000.00 per year, per child (this year), it just really doesn't make any sense. I am just not seeing ANY real difference at all.
Episcopal traditions, which are the foundation of the school. The Head of School, Will Moseley, expects honesty from all the faculty and staff of the school and this contributes to the mindset that these character traits are necessary to complete the student.
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.
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.
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!
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.