From an academic perspective, the school is perfectly fine for average students that don't the need extra push or who need extra help. Very average. I would say more disappointing is the culture of bullying throughout the school which very little, if anything, is done about. Sadly it is a culture that is brought on by the parents and that trickles right down to the kids. It is hugely ironic that this supposed to be a place where "faith-based" learning occurs, because there are very few examples of that here! We are looking into other options.
Be careful. Under this new principal, words are missed and misspelled throughout its literature at its website. Most of the faculty of 2011-2012 was retained. Know that the culture of the school has not been drastically modified.
St. Mary of the Woods provides a wonderful faith-based learning environment that challenges and develops students at all levels. I would advise anyone reading these reviews that during the 2011-2012 school year SMOW underwent a leadership change so some of the reviews from that timeframe reflect that tumultuousness. We now have an outstanding new principal in place and the environment has significantly improved as a direct result. She has truly rejuvenated the school and her enthusiasm is reflected in the teachers, the parents, and the students. I presently have three children in the school and would recommend St. Mary's whole heartedly.
This school has many issues, both academic and social. Academically the school is very traditional, paper and pencil oriented. Teaching is geared to the average student who exhibits an in the box style of learning. Students who do not adhere to the traditional method are blamed for exhibiting alternative paths to achievement. Students are not assisted in achieving mastery, but are punished and not allowed to participate in classroom activities. Rather than attempt to meet individual needs, teachers and administrators engage in outsourcing . This forces parents to contract services of professionals outside of the school, required by the school, who are able to charge very high fees for their services without regard to insurance policies. Socially, the children take their cues from the teachers. When a teacher bullies a child, the students are encouraged to join in the fun . The culture of the school is more athletically oriented than academically sound. Preschool and primary grades are workbook and worksheet with little or no creativity. The abuse is most pronounced in fourth grade with the removal of recess and lunch if worksheet/workbook assignments are not completed.
This school is great if you have an average child. SMOW cannot handle any child that needs a lot of help, or one that is very intelligent and bored. The former principal was a nun that ran a tight ship, but was slow to embrace technology. The new principal in last 4 years brought on technology which is a blessing. However, I feel he was too non-confrontational, had no leadership skills. This year alone there is a large turnover in staff, including the principal (I believe he was asked to leave) and assistant principal (who was great btw, but got a better offer elsewhere). And there are some teachers that have been there for a very long time, including one for over 30 years. Most are excellent. There is very little control of bullying issues, to the point that several families have left this year alone. The bullies stay, the victims leave. There seems to be strong push for athletics over academics, especially football. However most, if not all, students do get into their chosen high schools, including a few to Northside, which is next to impossible to get into. The school is very community based, with high parent involvement. A lot of fundraising goes on to keep the tuition down.
SMOW is a great school! It promotes Catholic identity and prepares our children for the real world. The teachers are enthusiastic and well prepared. The school is really a close knit community that has great family orientated activities. My children enjoy learning here and we have the school and community to thank. The students are more than prepared for high school and ready the challenges that will face academically and socially. Great school!
We had more than a handful of issues with the school. The leadership of the school is seriously lacking. Bullying is an issue that is not handled appropriately. Teachers are hit or miss. Sports are overemphasized and academics are not. We expected more from a faith based school.
St. Mary of the Woods School (SMOW) provides a wonderful educational foundation for high school and college. This school is for the average to above-average student, and strives to challenge students. I have three children who attended SMOW from 1997 to 2014 with terrific results. From my experience I could not recommend the school for IEP students, especially a student who needs a self-contained setting. Our family has witnessed many changes and improvements through the years. The school administration went from being run by a very dedicated religious order - focused on the fundamentals of a quality education but slow to incorporate the latest technological advances - to a school presently run by a layperson who has achieved a school with all the latest and greatest bells and whistles. Change is embraced and encouraged! Communication by the adminstration has always been the weak-link and continues to be. SMOW is for your children is you want them to be engaged and challenged daily with exposure to Art, Music, Gym and Spanish.