My wife and I are often amazed at our 4 children's grasp of our Catholic Faith and how it shows in their daily life; in how they love God and treat people. The Dominican Sisters charism shines through in focused and dedicated Spiritual Formation. Academic Excellence is manifest not only in our kids' knowledge and testing achievements but in their grasp of critical and creative thinking as well. In 7 years the teachers have been extremely supportive and responsive. I’ve never been let down in a teacher exchange. Sr. Mary Jacinta (principal) and Father Neil (pastor) make a great team. They have created an environment where united with family, teachers and staff, the children have an exceptional and rewarding elementary school experience. We are blessed to be there. I highly recommend St Catherine of Siena.
Teachers are very effective. With 3 children in the school we have seen a variety of teaching styles. All are effective and even though I was reticent at first with some teachers, I always see their strengths a few weeks into the school year. I have also had productive conversations with them when I had concerns and they were addressed. Most issues my children had going into the school year were identified and drastically improved over the year.
They take bullying very seriously and I would advise anyone with issues to go straight to Sister (the principal). My children are in lower grades but bullying has been a focus and they tell us all about who get a warning or a bee taken away (this is a 1st grade thing where if you lose a bee that's a bad thing).
The school does but I would add that parochial and private schools only handle learning disabilities up to a certain level (financially it is too much for any disability). Severe disabilities may be an issue here (as they would at most private schools) however most common learning differences are handled. When I was in Catholic school, you learned to write and cut right handed (they didn't buy left handed scissors!) Today that is different. I think the school strikes a great balance with helping students get on the right track while not ignoring something that could hurt the child's learning progress.
Sister Mary Jacinta is the current principal and is a great leader. She strikes the perfect balance of warmth and kindness along with decisiveness and authority. The advisory council is helpful and offers guidance. Finally, Father Neil, the pastor, is involved and this is a great sign of how the parish and community are involved at the school.
This is a strength for the school but your mileage may vary. The school certainly stresses this area and does its best. However, children are on loan to us and many other influences can make the work hard to see. Children are taught right and wrong at the school (it is surprising to even have to say this is a strong point but sadly many other schools don't teach this). The younger grades absolutely teach compassion and respect and integrity but I do not know have direct knowledge in the older grades. We have 3 babysitters who went through school here and they all have great character (I would assume that the school was not a detriment to their character!).
The school leverages online learning with Math and English at the lower grades (I don't have children in higher grades). Homework is checked and reviewed carefully and the teachers help students with issues. My daughter has been working hard on getting her numbers facing the right way. Her teacher has been encouraging and it is great to see the progress made.
I'm so happy we live within reach of this school. We are Catholic and I was afraid of the school just having the Catholic name on the door and that's all. Imagine walking in and finding out the school is run by the Nashville Dominicans (younger nuns who still wear the habit!). Our children are young and in grades K, 1 and 2. The school stresses family life and aims to bring dads and moms and their children together both in study and in life. Academics are focused upon and, more recently, STEM is being introduced for the sciences. Finally, the spiritual direction that the school focuses on is very evident and it is growing. The school isn't just looking to make your child smart, they want to enable them to make good choices, understand why learning is important and also show how families help one another. If you close enough, reach out and talk to Sister Mary Jacinta (the current principal), you won't regret it!