I'm pretty neutral on this one because academics & sports certainly won't give you persistence, grit, or determination, but just struggling through the toxic environment will certainly give you determination.
There are so many reasons that this school deserves one star that I hardly know where to begin. I was a student there for four years and stressed out because of constant bullying. The administration nurtures, as others have said, a very toxic environment that almost encourages students to bully others. There were a few good teachers but the majority either didn't know what they were teaching - there was an English major teaching math, for example - or were mean or harsh. That's not to say all the teachers were like this - if there is one good thing I can say about the school it's that the few good teachers they have really are great and truly seemed to care about the students. However, the academics were a joke, and writing - a very important skill to have - was hardly covered. I struggled a lot when I switched schools. If you didn't "fit in" with the popular cliques, you were shunned and bullied; if you tried to befriend anyone who didn't fit in with those cliques, again, shunned and bullied. The "counselor" had no degree and seemed to hurt students (including myself) more than help, basically by telling you that everything the other students were doing was "in your head" and you were being "oversensitive." I am a cradle Catholic but this school did not seem at all Catholic to me. It was all about image and prestige, instead of God and faith. It did not live out the Christian motto at all and I was so disappointed. So glad to get out and go to a school where academics were good, bullying was nearly nonexistent, and all the teachers were fantastic.
As a former student, I experienced first-hand the greed of the administration and board and their total disregard for the students. They barely accommodate students with any sort of learning disability and their focus is on money, not education. Don't be deceived by how they try to portray this school-it is not worth the obscenely high tuition. They have a subpar sports program, a recently destroyed theatre program, and a mathematics department so poor it may as well not exist. Many teachers were excellent to have, but they have been consistently moving on from the school, and for good reason.
My daughter attended pre first grade at HSP several years ago. At that time she was undiagnosed ADHD which caused surmountable problems for the teachers and staff. But what I can tell you is that they were patient, loving and accommodating beyond any conceivable expectation. Dara and her staff stood by us. After a short period we left the school because I needed to get my daughter help which eventually was diagnosed separation anxiety and ADHD. I home schooled her to get her on track but it had nothing to do with not getting support from HSP. They are committed to providing a nurturing and solid academic environment to kids. In fact we will apply to 8th grade this year because I'm am extremely displeased with our current school geared to LD students, they aren't committed to academic excellence. this schools tuition is 30k and absolutely not worth it. So I hope we will return to HSP this fall so my daughter can get the proper academic teaching and assistance she needs. One last thing, parents need to remain vigilant about their children's education. There is no perfect school, no perfect parent and no perfect child.
We are new to Holy Spirit Prep this year, and so far have had an amazing experience. Our son attended the Atlanta Speech School for five years prior to transferring to HSP, and we were initially very nervous about the transition. We have been very pleasantly surprised. Our son receives small group instruction in Language Arts (he is Dyslexic) through the Resource Center, but is also in the Gifted Program and on the Honor Roll. It is refreshing to find a school that understands the connection between mild learning differences and high intellegence (it's called Twice Exceptional and is very common) and is prepared to support and challenge both situations. The teachers have been very helpful and patient with our quest to find the right ADHD medication scenario for our son, and we have been able to take him off stimulant medication altogether (after four years on them at Speech) in this loving and supportive setting. The students have been extremely welcoming and inclusive. Our son is happier than we have ever seen him! I can not recommend this school more highly -- they truly seek to educate the whole child and to help each student reach his or her greatest potential!