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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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,
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.
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!
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.
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.
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?
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!!!!!
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Horrible school. The management and teachers are terrible. We left after 4 years due to new managment and bad teachers.
I love the way they teach the kids. My child just finished kindergarten and he has grown so much in a span of one year. Their key strategy is "learning through play". I totally agree with it as 5 years old is still a child. Teacher turnover is very low - my son's teacher has been there for 17 years!
Not only am I a graduate of St Francis, 2 of my brothers and my sister attended. All four of my children attended this school. One of my granddaughters (the only one local) attends the preschool. My wife and one of my daughters teach at the school. I am extremely pleased with the atmosphere and caring environment at the school. I highly recommend it to anyone who wants their children to learn in a caring family environment.
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