As a parent that volunteers I am always observing the faculty and staff to solidify my decision that this is the best environment for my children.
My husband and I are a middle class family that take our childrens' education very seriously and we are very confident Notre Dame Academy offers the best education within a community that is emotionally nurturing and uplifting.
My son attended this school for 3 years. We left because his teacher was very strict to the point he was afraid of her. This teacher punished him for 'being chatty' by putting him in the lowest reading level (he was at the highest reading level in class). The teacher told my son if he reported this degradation to us, his parents, he would be in even more trouble at school. Disturbing to say the least. By the end of the year, he was afraid to talk to his teacher at all. The curriculum is good, but not worth the emotional stress.
The School is okay. The curriculum is good, it's an IB school, it's very individualized, and the science class doesn't teach Creationism. However, I have many problems concerning the student body. Notre Dame Academy claims to have a "no tolerance" policy towards bullying, but I have never observed anything remotely similar enforced. The students can bully each other in nearly any way they please, and the teachers turn a blind eye to it. Some of the students are rude, violent, and are able to casually make insensitive remarks and frequently use racist, sexist, ageist, and homophobic slurs without having to worry about getting in trouble. The Religion program is awful. Anything that might even remotely suggest that the Catholic Church is anything but perfect are removed and/or distorted. For example, the 8th grade religion textbook states that the Protestant Reformation was the result of arguements over how people get into heaven, and not because of the outright horrid things the Catholic Church did during the Middle Ages.
We are thrilled in our ninth year at Notre Dame Academy. NDA does a great job utilizing the IBO structure. I have seen many examples on how NDA weaves the IBO focus topic through out the day. In keeping with the IBO theme, many of their Service learning projects emphasize a reach on a world view rather than an encapsulated one. My children always surpass the national average on standardized tests. Notre Dame continues to think outside the box when it comes to keeping kids interested. For example, the seventh grade social studies teacher has the kids creating a Facebook page of a historical figure. They have to think status updates in relation to the person and date. Thanks to NDA, my kids have kept up with all the technology in this ever changing world of new gadgets. I have always witnessed the latest and the greatest - IPADS as an emphasis on text book reading, smartboards for inter-active learning, google docs as a submission for homework, smart music programs to learn instruments, utilization of mac products and features and continued updates from teachers on web sites. My kids are happy and excited to attend school here; well, at least on most mornings!
Our family is in our third year at NDA and we could not be happier about our choice to send our child here at such a young age. Our daughter is blossoming, confident, social, active, and is always inquiring about learning more, even when she is at home. We have made genuine friends with the other parents, we think the world of our daughter's classmates, and we truly feel that her teachers and her principal care so very much about her. What a wonderful school in which to raise our growing family!
Notre Dame Academy is an amazing school and we are thrilled about the upcoming expansion of the High School. My family has been a part of this community for seven years. The IB program is top notch and encourages the children to think globally. The school puts high value on providing modern technology giving the students a definite edge in this new millennium. As a non-Catholic family the school is very inclusive of everyone and we love the use of the charisms of the Marists that teach our children true compassion. The administration is wonderful about seeking the input of parents to exchange thoughts and ideas on how to improve the community. Additionally, we love the emphasize on fitness, health and a strong ethic. My children are eager to learn and happy at Notre Dame!
Gwinnett County has some of the best public schools in the state. I choose to send my daughter to this private school as a hard ship because they are given so much 1 on 1 time. Class sizes are small enough that no one is left behind. I would recommend this school to anyone who can afford it.
Being part of the NDA community for the past 8 years has been a tremendous blessing and changed every part of our family life. As an extension of our family, NDA is helping us to raise our children as knowledge seekers, set in the context of our Catholic faith, while embracing other people with their differences. We look forward to many more years as part of the warm and life-giving community we have found at NDA striving to live the charisms of the Marists (Society of Mary.)
I LOVE Teaching at Notre Dame Academy. There are very few schools in the Atlanta area that are IB schools and have the inquiry based learning like Notre Dame Academy. There is plenty of parental involvement which is essential to making a GREAT school! The staff are some of the BEST teachers I have ever had the pleasure to work with. Not only do we continue to stay up with the times, but we are passionate about what we do each day! Changing from public education to Notre Dame Academy was one of the best decisions I have ever made! Come visit and see for yourself!