We must stop asking families for feedback on how to improve and THEN punishing or ostracizing them when they provide it. Too many good families run away from St. Peter after a year or two because we have been so unwelcoming & unkind to them. We put out five-year-plans for how we can grow & improve, but each new plan is exactly the same: we focus more on marketing our school than we do on actually bettering our school. We can take out a zillion ads in newspapers or buy a million billboards. Enrollment will continue to drop because we fail to address problems WITHIN our school. Frankly, we have several teachers who are mean to children and who need to be let go. We also get so focused on what adults want that we forget to provide what children need. Adults love go to show off their money at galas. But none of that serves the kids the way that real curriculum development would. I don't see the writing process being taught: brainstorming, pre-writing, writing, peer-editing, revising, publishing. And there's no poetry or creative writing here. Nor do I see Everyday Math or math manipulatives. Child-produced art is not displayed and celebrated. Children don't even make art in their classrooms--no cutting, pasting, coloring, painting. That only happens once a week in art class. And even THAT art is not displayed. Art history is non-existent here. Reading is done only so that worksheets may be answered or AR (accelerated reader) tests taken. There's no SSR (sustained silent reading) or DEAR (drop everything and read) reading going on. No reading just for the joy of it! No discussion of world current events, which should be integral to social studies instruction. No morning meetings with the kids, so they may share their own exciting news of the day with their class. Middle school students are not given opportunities to lead school "family" meetings, nor do they make special friends with kindergarteners and sit with them at Mass. Children are not allowed to sit with their parents at school Mass. Holidays are not celebrated with festive decorations, child-made art, or fun class parties with placemats made by kiddos. In other words, we fail to build community & lasting friendships. We can buy a million billboards, but enrollment won't increase until we address these real issues--and show kindness to others! PS-Playground has been rejected by the City of Monument.
Eight years ago, when our family moved to Monument, we were thrilled to find St. Peter. Having grown up in Catholic schools, I had first hand experience of the value of a Catholic education. St. Peter has lived up to my expectations. Our children are thriving academically due to the dedication of the teachers and staff, and are at least one grade level ahead in their studies. Perhaps more importantly, they are also being taught values such as responsibility and stewardship. Furthermore, in my experience, St. Peter has become a community for my family. The small school atmosphere allows us to get to know the staff as well as families of students in all grades/classes. We look forward to the future of St. Peter, as it continues to grow, and completes near term planned projects such as technology advancements in the classroom (dedicated tablets / chromebooks), and expansion of the playground.
We are overwhelmed by the focus on money here. This has been our first year at St. Peter Catholic School and we have found the fundraising and solicitation for money to be relentless. We get more communication from the school regarding money and fundraising than we do about all other topics combined. We have tried to talk to the HSA about our concern that the focus on money is too much but it's been pretty much nonstop all year. Considering how high the tuition is, we had not expected to be bombarded by so much fundraising and donation requests. The kids are also strongly pressured to do direct sales several times throughout the year and this makes us very uncomfortable. We hope it tones down next year. It makes us question the financial stability of this school and what its real values are. Maybe this was just an extreme year. We hope so!
I just had to review St. Peters and explain what a truly amazing place this has been for our family. We have been at another Catholic school in another state, and there were so many issues there, that it was refreshing to come to Monument and be a part of this great school. Now I know every school has its problems and it is not a "fit" for every family. Small class sizes, high academic standards, giving back to the community, and creating loving respectful children may not be what some want in a school. My kids have thrived at this school and I know they will be prepared for high school and all the things that they will face in the future. St. Peters is improving every year by adding drama club, cheerleading, and other extra curricular activities. The principal is always asking for feedback on how we can improve our school, and she is working very hard to make positive changes. I remember the first time we walked into the school and how we had that "feeling" that this was the school for us. My message to everyone is to come take a look at this school and see for yourself. And if it isn't a fit for your family, just move on, don't bad mouth teachers, parents, or administration.
Bullying and ostracism are big problems here and we have seen them get worse over the years. We have been surprised by the number of fighting events recently at St. Peter School and that the fighters are allowed to remain at school with no punishment. Other schools our children have attended elsewhere have not had this problem. Last week a child punched (punched!) another child. And still that child stays. The whole environment here seems to lend itself to these problems. The classes are TOO small. New students are made to feel left out. Children get bored with one another and don't have enough other friends to choose from. It is very cliquish here. And it's not only cliquish among the children. The teachers are cliquish, preferring the popular and powerful families' children. And the parents are cliquish, too. And mean. The children and the parents have a habit of threatening or ostracizing less popular kids. The principal is aware of these problems. But she does not seem to have the guts to stand up to the bullies herself and to really make a difference. We have not yet decided if we will return next year.
We are about to finish our 7th year at St. Peter. And while no school is absolutely perfect, St. Peter gets it right most of the time. The teachers truly love the children. We attend this school and pay the tuition because there are 13-16 kids in each class! That kind of ONE ON ONE with a child is worth EVERY PENNY. I tell people all the time- If we were Jewish, I would still send my children to this school! Yes, there are decent free options in the area. We toured those schools. And what we saw are classrooms jammed to the gills. If your child can keep up, they do fine. If they cant, they fall through the cracks because no human, however great a teacher they are, can keep up with 32 kids. Those teachers are stretched too thin. What would you want for your child? The opportunity to actually be taught by a teacher, one on one, when they are struggling with a concept/problem.... or for a teacher to think- yep, she's not getting it but I cant stop to teach one kid. It's your choice. Personally, I choose the small individual classes at St. Peter for my child.
Our middle-schooler has decided not to return to St. Peter's next year. So have several other middle school students. There are not enough opportunities or extracurriculars here. We would like to see middle school students offered drama classes/performances. Also cheerleading opportunities would be nice. Middle school band would be nice too. Other ideas--computer club, science club, advanced art, track team, creative writing club & competitions. There is a reason so many kids are leaving St. Peter's. The surrounding public schools are excellent and offer more for kids of all ages to do. I think St. Peter's is great for kindergarten and younger. But there's not enough variety of interests and not enough kids/teachers to keep elementary or middle school kids engaged and excited about school. These extracurricular activities are an extension of learning and should be available, especially for the price of tuition at St. Peter's.
I am very shocked and saddened by some of these postings, because St. Peter Catholic School has always worked hard to uphold the Christian Code of Communication. This is a young school that is working on building up resources and opportunities for the students. The teachers are dedicated, and very approachable. In the five plus years we have been here, we have received beautifully preserved art portfolios at the end of each year. We have also thoroughly enjoyed the Christmas and Spring performances, in which the older children have impressed us by their work with the hand-chimes. The younger students have the options of reading, singing, and playing other various instruments. My children love P.E. class, and will often complain when they miss this class due to holidays, snow days or delays. My husband and I feel as though the most valuable facets of our children's education are emphasizing the need to grow in their faith and becoming people of integrity. We feel St. Peter's is doing an excellent job!
Overly expensive for what you get! The Spanish curriculum is non-existent. Our kids haven't learned a single Spanish word. I've never seen a Spanish vocabulary list or verb conjugation list for study. The music curriculum is lackluster. My kids haven't been taught a whole note from a quarter note, or fortissimo from pianissimo. The sound, lights and stage systems for music shows, etc., are just terrible! I've also not seen any art produced by my children. It's never on display at school, and it doesn't come home in backpacks either. I think it disappears into the ether, if it's created at all. In gym, my children have not learned the official rules to any games--baseball, basketball, soccer, etc. There are no bleachers in the gym for the few extracurricular sports. Spectators must stand. No gifted & talented program here. No school counselor. No school nurse. No academic aides. The hot lunch program is a hot mess--kids often don't get food they ordered! And most sadly of all, there's no playground! And no field for track, soccer, or kickball. Kids have just a small concrete parking lot for play. For 500 bucks per kid per month, you just don't get your money's worth here.
Our school is both bad and good. We are good at maintaining tight discipline. Children learn that there are consequences and punishments for their actions. They lose recess or privileges if they misbehave or fail to turn in homework. We have silent hallways, silent lunchrooms, and silent classrooms. We are also good at emphasizing a strict Catholic environment. We are not too good at welcoming new families. Children who start in pre-school or kindergarten have an advantage here because that is when all of the connections between children and between parents form. Trying to join the school later in the elementary years can be tough socially. Some military families love our school because it starts with a prayer and the pledge everyday. But other military families find it hard to fit in here because they and their kids are never fully welcomed. We need to work on that. We've gone through 4 principals in only 11 years of existence as a school, so we're seeking stability. Also, about the current 2nd grade teacher--our children had her when she was the 3rd grade teacher. She is definitely a strange lady who picks her favorites at random and is mean to the ones who aren't her favorites.