I went to this school from pre-k 4 all the way to 8th grade. One thing I did realized once I graduated and went on to high school is I was very sheltered here. I'm happy I was because in high school there is lots of new things good and bad and this school helped me understand how to stay out of trouble. Recently, the school built a gym which is very lovely. They are beginning to build a cafeteria and in about 4 years the school will be brand new. I also heard they are trying to hire younger teachers which is a good thing because they tend to be more enthusiastic. One thing about St.Marks is their determination to be perfect and the cliques within the students, at this school i was able to be unique in my group of friends and the teachers I remember being my favorite were amazing. My memories here will probably last forever and even though St.Marks is judgmental at times by 8th grade my grade was family. Before you enroll here, you should have your child take a tour of the school and maybe shadow a student if possible because I feel its more how the kid feels about the school than the parents.
Our daughter switched from The Benjamin School to St. Mark's in August 2010 and we are simply amazed at the educational, social, spiritual, environmental, interpersonal levels that she has grown in less than one year! Given that she entered at 2nd grade, she was welcomed lovingly with open arms with caring and supportive teachers and all other staff members. From an academic perspective, she has learned more this year than she ever did in the past 2 years combined at tbs where they did not even realize she was not reading until we asked them to test her at age 7 1/2 (talk about falling through the cracks). She has also blossomed in her peer friendships with both boys and girls and feels safe whereas before she had experienced bullying, being hit in the head and stomach and being called "fat". St. Mark's has proven to be a true blessing for our entire family. They stand behind their mission and they do hold children accountable for their behaivors (tbs did not for fear of losing enrollment and donors) which is a true life lesson. St. Mark's treats everyone with respect and honor and dignity. They value all contributions of time, talent and treasure (tbs wants your treasure)...
We moved here mid-year and toured the school to have my pre-schooler finish out the year. The school was amazing! I was then asked to come back on Saturday for my daughter to be evaluated. Politely wrote a check for $100 of which I was not told in advance! AND NEVER HEARD FROM ANYONE AGAIN! No one should subject their pre-schooler to an evaluation by a teacher's aid and pay for it. These evaluations are for the school's benefit ONLY. The only person who can properly assess a pre-schooler's development is a doctor. If you are a milquetoast person with lots of money, you will love this place.
We have been at this school for 7 years with 2 children currently enrolled. My daughter has never experienced one ounce of bullying! She excels academically. My son is occasionally disciplined as his behavior dictates not because he is a boy but because his behavior requires it. He also excels academically. Fabulous music program and love the intramurals offered to lower school children. Teachers are more than willing to offer extra help to those who need it and enrichment sessions to those who may excel in a subject after hours which is a huge bonus. Huge parental involvement and caring staff which creates a warm atmosphere for the students. Loving, nurturing, Christian environment.
In response to the previous post. I wish we our experience there was as positive as yours has been.
I have two daughters at St. Marks; one in the lower school and one in the middle school. The academic cirriculum is challenging, and has prepared my older daughter for a successful high school experience. The teachers are fantastic! They are nurturing and always available. I think the administration is exceptional, professional, and approachable; they are truly committed to providing the best cirriculum and environment for the students. Any time I have had a question or concern, it has been addressed promptly, thoroughly, and fairly. This is a wonderful, safe, supporting & loving environment. - the school provides character education & has a staff therapist to promote healthy relationships among the children. I wouldn't have my daughters go anywhere else. St. Mark's truly does live up to its mission statement.
We have been at St. Mark's for nearly 5 years, with 2 children, and have absolutely loved our experience there. Every school has its issues - none is perfect - but we've watched our children grow into confident, respectful and motivated young people. This is not just due to the spiritual aspect of the school, but the warmth and dedication of the teachers evident throughout. This cannot be over-emphasized. In the past couple of years, after-school enrichment sessions have supplemented the academic program, for both those needing a little extra help or more challenge. There are great improvements currently underway in the school's facilities, and the administration has handled the problem of lower enrollment (a pervasive problem in Florida) without jeopardizing the many programs available to the students. Parent involvement is very high and there are plenty of ways to be involved for working parents too.
I am a parent of three daughters who are currently attending or have graduated from St. Marks. We have been member of this school community for ten consecutive years. I must say the majority of the girls attending the school are loving and kind. Although my three daughters have very different personalities all have excelled at the school and I have not witnessed any bullying. The academics are strong and the school environment is very nurturing. Teachers truly know and care about your child. Two of my daughters have transferred to a college prep high school were they have succeeded academically. I felt they were extremely prepared for high school. My 19 year old continues to stay in touch with her close friends and teachers from St. Marks.
St. Mark's is a wonderful school, but could be even better if it would make more of an effort to provide accelerated classes. For the cost of tuition, the school should go beyond teaching to the middle. I also agree with the other posters that bullying amongst girls is a huge problem in the lower grades and that the school administration ignores the issues because the parents of the particular girls are very involved and/or are big donors. My child has thus far escaped unscathed, but it is sad to see how some of her friends are affected.
Several years ago this school had huge issues with bullying among girls and it looks like the same problem is reoccurring. The administration seems very hesitant to address this issue with the parents especially high dollar donor parents. We've been at St. Marks for 4 yrs now and will not be returning. I've filed complaints with the administration and they seem not to address the issue. It seems they are very quick to deal with problem boys but the vile treatment by girls in first and second grade is going unchecked. I've tried to ride it out due to the Christian school and fantastic academics but the bullying has not stopped so it is time to move.
Kudos to the last reviewer who called a dirty little secret of this school dead on. This school has ridden on its stellar reputation of years past for far to long. They are not keeping up with the public schools-the accelerated programs in the county schools are better run and better taught. We will be 'jumping schools' next fall to the public system. The bullying among the girls is down right awful and if you have a boy that is not a quiet little mouse then forget it they label him a troublemaker and force you to sign a behavior contract to continue in the school yet they do nothing about the girls. The boys are labeled too ADD for the school, you are told they don't fit the St. Marks model yet the girls are allowed to verbally demean other girls and the school does nothing.
Academically this school is excellent however, bullying, especially by girls in the lower grades is becoming an increasing problem. The school seems to pick and choose sides based on number of children the family has, friends within school administration, etc.
Excellent school - The faculty genuinely cares about each child ; the students are high academic achievers. My child went on to the school of the arts and is doing superb! This school really prepares a child to excel academically and creatively!
The teachers here are excellent; very devoted and kind. A child can get an excellent education here! Most of the students are from 'unchurched' families and their treatment of fellow students reflect this.
Overall safe nurturing environment. Not enough diversity in staff or students. Too many parents working at school may cause conflict of interest.
My daughter began middle school this year and had an absolutely wonderful experience. The academics were challenging and the sports were quite competitive. As evidenced by the huge improvement between Christmas and the end of the year programs, the band program is excellent. The parent involvement is awesome as are the parents themselves. The kids that she has met are absolutely terrific. They are bright, polite and respectful. For the most part, the teachers she had were very interested in her learning and success. The warm Christian feeling is evident when one walks onto the campus. This is a loving, caring environment.
My children loved this school. It was so important to have a Christian based school. High standards are expected and taught. The teachers and administration were outstanding!
The classes are small with great interaction for teacher and student. However, too many kids seem to have a mean streak in them - a culture which has grown over the last many years, condoned by previous administrations. The current administration is trying to change this.
St. Mark's is a wonderful school. My son is currently in Pre-K and he absolutely loves it. He has p.e., spanish, computer lab and music in addition to what he learns in the classroom. The teachers are incredible and it is a very warm environment.
Overall a good education in a safe environment. Tuition is high and donations are expected often, along with much parent volunteering. Teachers are well-educated, but school is small and the variety of classmates limited.
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