Updated review, after a little over a year at Holy Spirit Prep:
(initial review is dated January 27, 2015)
We continue to LOVE THIS SCHOOL!
As previously mentioned, our son is considered Twice Exceptional, which means that, while being academically gifted, he has the challenges of being Dyslexic and having ADHD. Additionally, he has some OT issues, including Hypotonia (neurologically based low muscle tone), which causes low endurance, and in turn slows his metabolism and results in him struggling with fitness and athletics. It can be difficult -- he is very successful academically and socially at school, but generally has to work twice has hard as everyone else to accomplish this. But at HSP, his talents are celebrated and his weaknesses are supported.
Here is a recent "only at HSP" moment:
During a required one mile run in P.E., our son was only half way through his mile when all the other boys in his class finished theirs. Rather than leave him to run by himself as they all looked on and laughed, every boy in his class chose (without adult instruction) to continue running laps with him until he finished his mile. Later, when he emerged from the locker room, the entire class cheered and congratulated him as if he were a game winning quarterback!
At a lot of schools, a "quirky," nonathletic (but bright, funny, kind, handsome and absolutely delightful) kid like ours might be bullied or ostracized. Not at HSP. This school does not just celebrate seemingly perfect kids that everything comes easily for, as can be common in the Atlanta private school market. They also mine and polish those "diamonds in the rough" kids, who offer a wealth of untapped value. It's a strategy that will ultimately benefit not only my son, but the school and our community.
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.