July 26, 2015
In an effort to save any potential parents the heartache so many of us have suffered, please know what to ask & look for when deciding on a school. Here are some highlights about our experience: * SMA is a Big Shoulders school. Please see their Website to see qualifications necessary to be a BS school. Note: this is NOT a good thing, especially sitting in the middle of Bucktown. * SMA has no ability to physically grow. That has been rented out to Midtown and Catholic Charities. In fact, CC moved in next door and SMA leadership never mentioned it to parents in 01/2015. Please google both to see what each is, especially what type of Catholic Charities is immediately adjacent to the school and requires a security guard.
SMA sits in a district that's awful (financially, academically, etc). The schools are SMA, St. Helen's, St. Nicholas, St. Stan's and St. John Berchman. ALL Big Shoulders Schools. Other districts not far have stellar schools. They're in the black, National Blue Ribbon schools (Josaphat, St. Andrew). AACA is great, too. All Catholic schools with transparent everything. **please note how at those schools, parents give tours & no questions are off limits. At SMA, the totalitarian regime likes to control everything, including what you should know. Also note how board meetings are open, minutes distributed & members elected. Very different from SMA where meetings are closed & the President rules. (His 2yr term is supposed to be over 7/2015 along with the technology chair's term, too) * The entire '14-'15 school year, the music/arts teacher had no budget. That teacher fundraised ALL YEAR LONG. Then, a school severely in debt put on a ....$15,000.00 musical. Not even good schools in the black would ever do this. * the archdiocese is common core aligned. You need to ask yourself if CPS might suit your needs given you're paying a lot of $$$ at SMA that yields kids that are behind their peers due to poor academics. Not all of the teachers are even accredited! Anyone using it for prek & K is in love with it. We all were too. What's important to notice is when so many families that had been with SMA for a long time, including board members, yanked their kids in the middle of this past school year for other schools. Know what you are looking at & look at other schools that aren't Big Shoulders & compare.
- submitted by a parent