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St. Francis of Assisi School

Private | PK-8 | 230 students

Our school is best known for exceptional academics in a Christian environment
 
 

 
 

Living in Vista

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $239,000. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,320.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
 
Last modified
Community Rating

4 stars

Community Rating by Year
2014:
Based on 7 ratings
2013:
Based on 5 ratings
2012:
Based on 5 ratings
2011:
Based on 4 ratings

Teacher quality

Principal leadership

Parent involvement

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34 reviews of this school


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Posted June 10, 2014

I'm very pleased with the education my child has received so far at St. Francis. His teachers have all been fantastic, and I love the school environment. The current principal is great, she takes the time to interact with all the students and it's obvious she loves what she does. I highly recommend this school to anyone thinking about enrolling their children here.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 23, 2014

We love our school. My child has been going here since preschool and he has grown tremendously in mind, body and spirit. GO FRIARS!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 18, 2014

The school has a nurturing and loving environment that has encouraged my kids to advance academically and grow in character year after year. I appreciate the open communication between the new principle, teachers and parents. My kids have also been able to participate in some of the after school programs including: archery, art, tennis and little STEM (science, technology and math). As a minority I appreciate the diversity in the student population at St. Francis, which is usually lacking in other private/christian schools. St. Francis School has a family atmosphere for the kids as well as the parents. Our family has been at this school for 7 years and we love it! If you are looking for a new school come and visit this school. Also ask the opinion of the parents while you are there. Because of the family atmosphere there are always parents around who would be open to talking with you.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted April 8, 2014

I have been with St. Francis for over 30 yrs. as a parent, grandparent and staff member. There have been many ups and downs as in any work place and some personality differences. The main thing is, the welfare of the children has always come first. We now are getting back to where we were 10-15 years ago when St. Francis was THE place to be. Pastors, principals and some teachers have been a reason for the decline but we now have a good principal administrator and a very supportive pastoral staff. Yes. we will lose a few teachers this year however those teachers have been in education for over 35 years each and they would like to retire! It is a family atmosphere and the educators get to know the kids on a more personal level. As with any family there will be disagreements but for the most part, things get resolved. If I didn't believe in this school and what it stands for, I wouldn't have sent all my children and several grandchildren here.


Posted March 14, 2014

My school is a five star school! We have had an amazing experience at St. Francis. I wouldn't change much at all and the new principal is wonderful and supportive of all.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 20, 2014

From outward appearances the new administration seems to be getting St. Francis back on track. There are more after school programs being offered and some of the new teacher seem more qualified than teachers in the past. However, the deeper issue at this school is the culture of the parents and staff. Something about the culture here is just amiss. Until the new administration is able to recognize and change the culture at this school, the conditions here will not improve.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted February 14, 2014

Our children both started at St. Francis in the preschool program. We've been enrolled now for five years, and remain very active in our children's classrooms, as well as on the Parent Teacher Group Board. We love this community of administrators, faculty, parents and children, and appreciate the common goal of helping our children thrive academically, socially and spiritually. We are a Catholic family, but there are many non-Catholic families at St. Francis who share our goals for academic excellence, and I encourage parents of all faiths to consider our school. Our curriculum is broadening with an array of after-school clubs and programs, as is our school's technology program. There is also a great camaraderie among parents and administration that makes us feel secure in our choice for our kids' education. We really do love St. Francis school.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 21, 2013

This is a great school and I highly recommend it. My son started out in preschool and is now in an upper grade. I like the fact that my son can learn in a safe and caring environment, All the children get along and because of the smaller classes no child is left behind,
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 5, 2013

We haven't had any complaints during the parent drama of the past Few years. Everything that went down with staff and admin has a direct Result of one priest . We Didn't mind the priest, the previous principal, the principal Before that, or the current administrator. Most of the previous complaints Are style issues-not actual educational content. People Get emotional and try to lump it all together. We now have after school clubs Sports, homework club, a resource teacher, extra math help, am basically excellent Iowa basic test scores. Aftercare has greatly improved, teachers are competent and caring since a few bad eggs have been flushed out. We have been Satisfied w our children's education and just as important, social Development . My only gripe is w the office staff. The "keeper of the keys" Takes her job very seriously. If she decides she doesn't like you she will Make you life miserable. One of the complaints of favoritism Stems from the front office . She has her rigid ways, if she decides You don't belong in the inner sanctum she will ensure you don't get there. The only bully Problem at this school is in the office.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 14, 2013

We've decided not to return next year. The teacher/principal turn-over rate is too high and the academics are too low, particularly in math. Due to an ever-shrinking enrollment, resources seem stretched thin. Books and equipment are out-dated. Also, I found the gossip at this school to be intense, creating an environment where people just seem to know your business. Maybe the new principal can turn things around, but for us enough is enough!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted May 21, 2013

The previous poster for March 2013 has misidentified our school in her post. Specifically, our school does not have a gymnasium of any sort. All PE classes take place outside. We also have no one on staff that is a swim coach, nor do we have a pool/team for such. Our staff members do not meet the descriptions as portrayed by this poster. We invite all families interested in enrolling their child in a quality preschool (2 year olds) through 8th grade program to contact us directly and see what our school has to offer in our Christ centered environment.
—Submitted by a teacher


Posted February 3, 2013

Contrary to the parent post dated 12/9/12, the teachers who left (K, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 6th, MS math, Spanish, and Art) did so because of poor leadership from the new principal. These were professional, experienced, credentialed teachers, most of whom had been with the school for many years. I have spoken with all of them, and all left with a heavy heart. The same is true of the families who have left the school. When that many teachers and families leave a school in one year, there has to be a reason. In this case, the buck stops with the principal.


Posted December 21, 2012

We left St. Francis last year after increasing tuition and fundraising became too much a burden for our family. In three years the tuition went up 15%, and the mandatory fundraisers like Scrip also increased. We decided to try the public schools, and surprisingly, it has been the best decision we ever made! Even though our kids had A s and B s at St. Francis (and scored very well on Iowa tests), they were assessed below grade level in reading comprehension and they all struggled to catch up in math. This was very disappointing considering we had spent tens of thousands on tuition. We are amazed at the resources available at public schools: indoor gym, theater, band, multiple playgrounds and athletic fields, computers, library and so much more. Furthermore, the academic standards seem higher: All classes are taught every day and classes like Spanish count for high school credit. It is refreshing to finally belong to a school that releases test scores and post where fundraising money is allocated. Asking too many of these questions at St. Francis will label you a trouble-maker, as the previous post mentioned...and who wants to pay tuition for that?
—Submitted by a parent


Posted December 9, 2012

It is funny when people write a review and leave off lots of information, just so that they can justify making the school sound bad. The teachers leaving, IN ALL CASES, had nothing to do with the principal. The new principal is willing to listen to you, even if he does not agree. The old principal would put you on her "I will not talk to you" list if you disagreed with her. Those good families that decided to leave, many of them liked to stir up trouble for the school and not help our children! Our family has been at the school for 8 years, and we are finally happy with the direction it is going under the new principal. The school is looking at each child as an individual, and does not expect them to fit into the "Catholic Mold" like what was required under the the old principal. I know it is hard to find a good school for your children, and I really feel like this school is doing its best for the children. Instead of talking about all the "angry birds" that left, you need to see all the quality teachers that the school has. Trust me, some of the teachers that left we are better off without!!!!!
—Submitted by a parent


Posted November 16, 2012

Too many teachers, and good families left. The common factor was the leadership from the principal. Previous posts about his lack of experience are accurate. In addition, he has been very confrontational with parents and students. He demonstrates his lack of leadership qualities daily. It's too bad, this was a very good school not that long ago
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 24, 2012

St. Francis has been through it's ups and downs over the years but I can honestly say my children have received an excellent education and they go to school with quality children and involved families. I love the fact that my children are learning about their faith and are able to live that faith daily with their friends at school. It is so refreshing to have a new principal. It was time for fresh ideas and innovative approaches to running a school. I like the fact that the principal goes into the classrooms and observes the teachers to make sure their teaching techniques are solid. That did not happen with the previous principal. I look forward to the changes that are coming and to see the school continue to grow and be innovative in it's approach to teaching and learning.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted January 13, 2012

I am amazed at how people can review a school by their perception of one individual's actions. If your expectations are that administrators make or break a school based on their presence alone, and accusations of negligence in timely responses, then perhaps the poster should find the the principal of their dreams and send their child to THAT school. That being said, St. Francis School continues to produce a great education in our children. National test scores shows that our classes excel in academics. The school has a full time resource teacher for those who struggle. Spanish is included as part of the curriculum. We have an active parent base that supports the school's needs. The school has SmartBoards in every classroom and I hear iPads are on the way. The P.E. program is great. Children learn in a safe and loving environment from preschool through 8th grade. I have never had a phone call, email or meeting request denied. And if I did, I would certainly confront the problem, not degrade an organization anonymously. You're hurting your own school in a public forum when your best form of action should be to address your concerns directly with the administrator or even the pastor.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 20, 2011

It is incredible how some people use the internet and e-mail as a platform to complain. Perhaps the parent who wrote such a hot tempered post below would have considered the facts, it would have never been posted. We send our children to a Catholic school for a variety of reasons. Catholic values is one of them. Apparently, there are some who feel the church and school should do what they want, rather than what is the policy of our diocese. Personally, if I were that unhappy with the way things are, I would leave. Anyone who looks at the community of St. Francis will realize how wonderful it is in its entirety.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted September 15, 2011

I wrote a 5-star review last year and I'm taking it back! PLEASE think twice before enrolling your child in this school, because at some point you will be unhappy and leave. The problem is the administration. The new pastor, Fr. Bud, is keen on using the children to promote his agenda of social justice and integration. Last year, he was attracting the homeless to the campus with his lunch program. This year, he is revamping the First Communion program for the students so that the students of St. Francis School will not receive the sacrament together, but in small groups who will be mixed in at the regular masses in May. I don't know of any Catholic school in the Diocese (except for St. Peters - Fr. Bud's old parish) that doesn't allow the 2nd grade students to celebrate First Communion together! Further, some of the students will have to have 1st Communion at the Spanish and Vietnamese masses if there is no room at the English masses. It doesn't make any sense! Two years ago, Fr. Bud changed the Kindergarten program from half-day to full-day in the middle of the year! They even have an online ad inviting families to try St. Francis for a few months for free. Not joking.
—Submitted by a parent


Posted August 21, 2011

Horrible school. The management and teachers are terrible. We left after 4 years due to new managment and bad teachers.
—Submitted by a parent


Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

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.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 42% 26%
Two or more races 30% 3%
Hispanic 16% 52%
Black 3% 6%
American Indian/Alaska Native 0% 1%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

Teacher resources

Special staff resources available to students Assistant principal(s)
Computer specialist(s)
Gardening teacher(s)
Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
Librarian/media specialist(s)
PE instructor(s)
Nurse(s)
Priest, pastor, or other religious personnel
Special education coordinator
Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Foreign languages spoken by school staff Arabic languages
Spanish
Read more about programs at this school
Source: Provided by a school official.

Special education / special needs

Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
Staff resources available to students
  • Special education coordinator

Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math (STEM)

Staff resources available to students
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Outdoor learning lab
Clubs
  • Science club

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
Clubs
  • Art club
  • Student newspaper
  • Yearbook

Language learning

Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Arabic languages
  • Spanish

Health & athletics

Staff resources available to students
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Garden/Greenhouse
School leaders can update this information here.

School basics

School start time
  • 7:40 am
School end time
  • 2:45 pm
Before school or after school care / program onsite
  • Before school: starts at 7:00 a.m.
  • After school: ends at 5:30 p.m.
School Leader's name
  • Mrs. Elizabeth Joseph
Best ways for parents to contact the school
  • Email
  • Phone
Age at which early childhood or Pre-K program begins
  • 2 years old
Gender
  • Coed
Boarding options
  • Day school
Is there an application process?
  • Yes
Affiliation
  • Roman Catholic
Associations
  • NCEA

Programs

Instructional and/or curriculum models used

Don't understand these terms?
  • Core knowledge
Specific academic themes or areas of focus

Don't understand these terms?
  • Religious
Bi-lingual or language immersion programs offered

Don't understand these terms?
  • No
Level of special education programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students
Foreign languages taught
  • Spanish
Level of ESL/ELL programming offered
  • Basic - the school offers or partners to provide services based on the needs of individual students

Resources

Staff resources available to students
  • Assistant principal(s)
  • Computer specialist(s)
  • Gardening teacher(s)
  • Instructional aide(s)/coach(es)
  • Librarian/media specialist(s)
  • Nurse(s)
  • PE instructor(s)
  • Priest, pastor, or other religious personnel
  • Special education coordinator
  • Teacher aid/assistant teacher
Foreign languages spoken by staff
  • Arabic languages
  • Spanish
Extra learning resources offered
  • Differentiated learning programs
  • Homework Club
  • Remediation
Transportation options
  • None
School facilities
  • Access to sports fields
  • Chapel/spiritual reflection center
  • Computer lab
  • Garden/Greenhouse
  • Internet access
  • Library
  • Outdoor learning lab
  • Playground
School leaders can update this information here.

Sports

Boys sports
  • Basketball
  • Flag football
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
Girls sports
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball

Arts & music

Visual arts
  • Drawing / sketching
  • Painting
Music
  • Choir / Chorus
Performing arts
  • None
Media arts
  • None

Student clubs

Clubs (distinct from courses)
  • Archery
  • Art club
  • Boy scouts
  • Community service
  • Girl scouts
  • Gym Bus - preschool
  • Science club
  • Soccer - preschool
  • Student council/government
  • Student newspaper
  • Yearbook
School leaders can update this information here.

Upcoming Events

No upcoming events found for this school
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School culture

Dress Code
  • Uniforms
Bullying policy
  • This school has a bullying and/or cyber bullying policy in place.
Parent involvement
  • Attend parent nights
  • Chaperone school trips
  • Coach sports teams or extracurricular activities
  • Join PTO/PTA
  • Monitor the playground
  • Organize fundraising events (school auction, bake sales, etc.)
  • Present special topics during curricular units
  • Serve on school improvement team or governance council
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Volunteer time after school
More from this school
  • Now enrolling. Please call or stop by during business hours and find out if our school is a good fit for your child.
School leaders can update this information here.

Apply

 

This school accepts applications on a

rolling basis

 
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What are your chances?

Students typically come from these schools
Area preschools
Area public schools

What does it cost?

Tuition range for the 2013-2014 school year
$3000 - $5000
Vouchers accepted
No
Financial aid offered
Yes.
School-based aid

Planning ahead

Students typically attend these schools after graduating
Cathedral Catholic
Rancho Buena Vista
Vista High
Notice an inaccuracy? Let us know!

525 West Vista Way
Vista, CA 92083
Website: Click here
Phone: (760) 630-7960

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