This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Mark Day School2
Posted February 16, 2015
- a parent
Mark Day School has an odd and peculiar culture. Ultimately we don't feel it meets our expectations due to leadership mindset and executional challenges. It has terrific intentions and uses all the correct "buzz" words in education today. It actually has programs in place but really dig deep on how/when they will impact your child. I think if you look closely you will see executional challenges left and right. They tout a global edu program but my child was not directly impacted in a meaningful way during the several years we have been at the school. The challenge is two-fold for us. #1. If you are not an extreme liberal, you will find approach and head of school frustrating. They will not admit but deeply believe that "differentiation" in education is a show of elitism. It was even said outloud at a parent meeting by administration. This being true, you can count on little to no upward differentiation but they will help those struggling to the extent possible. Please note, small school = lack of resources so you may be better off elsewhere. If your child is on the other end of the spectrum and bored with grade level curriculum- DO NOT GO TO THIS SCHOOL.
Mark Day School fell short of our academic expectations and we left. The school is not the "academic school of Marin." It is however a very sweet school with a lovely community of people. It just was not what we were looking for as a family. If you have an advanced student there are better options out there for the academically inclined.
The school has had some horrific behavioral issues that are not addressed like they are at public schools. They do not discipline the kids from large donor families, fearing that they will leave and so will their huge donations. Very bad behavior is tolerated and the message being sent is, it's OK. They need to get their priorities in order. Kids first, then finances, in my opinion.
Great community of families, mediocre curriculum, defensive faculty. Admission team actually asked parents to write strong reviews after reading a negative review recently about the school. How about listening to your bright, well-educated parents and reacting to the needs of their children instead of asking parents to write positive reviews? Headmaster seems interested in protecting his team, discounting any constructive feedback and building his resume. Think SEVERAL times before passing your cute public schools.
The decision to send our children to Saint Mark's has been the best one we have ever made as parents. This is a place that values and celebrates the individuality of each student and the teachers really know and care for them. The students are engaged and confident; they learn to think critically, globally and collaboratively. Saint Mark's students lead very happy and balanced lives.
I m a SM parent and by chance decided to look up the school on GS today. Everything mentioned in the previous reviews is true - both the pros and cons. The pros - SM is unpretentiousness and internationalism and community service are emphasized. The cons a handful of mediocre teachers, badly behaved students, and an unnecessarily rigorous curriculum. Saint Marks tries to be warm and nurturing but unfortunately, they fall short. There are a lot of self-congratulations, but when real issues are raised, the school doesn t know what to do. I d say that SM has all of the same issues as a good public school, the difference being you expect more from SM because you re paying a premium. Really do your homework and think about what is right for your child(ren), if you re considering sending them here.
Academically, we found that St. Marks provided a more rigorous experience than what we had experienced in the public elementary school. However, the social dynamics were negative despite the administration's attempt to integrate social/emotional learning. Our child described many instances of kids treating their classmates in mean, condescending ways. We learned that many parents and students had attempted to address these problems with the administration and/or just assumed that this behavior is typical. Sadly, many of the parents had never experienced school environments outside of St. Marks so they don't realize that there should be a zero tolerance policy on bullying.
I have three boys all of whom started as Kindergartners at Saint Mark's, and I have been part of the school's community for 11 years. I recommend Saint Mark's to all of our friends without hesitation. It is a kind and nurturing community; it has a thoughtfully innovative, challenging and well-balanced program; and it prepares our kids to be responsible global citizens. Most importantly, the administrative team and faculty genuinely work hard to put the needs of the students and what is in their best interest first. I would encourage any family considering Saint Mark's to make the effort to meet any 8th grader. You will be impressed by each and everyone, not just for their academic preparedness, but for who they are as people. That is the measure of a great school.
I have three children(both sexes) who spent all their K-8 years at Saint Mark's School and I can't say enough good things about it. The excellent teachers, challenging curriculum and caring community helped shape these most important years so that they could excel in high school and beyond. Each of them was excellently prepared for success at one of the most academically challenging independent high schools in the bay area. My oldest is ready to move on to college and the top kids and leaders in her high school class are all Saint Mark's graduates and are all matriculating to top colleges. Although my children are no longer at SMS,I have many friends at the school and the general feeling in the community is that the best days of Saint Mark's are still to come. The new Head of School and Lower Division Head have incredible energy and will thoughtfully take the school soaring into the next 10 years. Saint Mark's is a wonderful place to raise a family. It will always be an important part of our lives.