This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
St. Mary of the Angels5
Posted October 10, 2014
- a parent
I have had a great experience at SMA. My daughter attended PK3 last year and is back for PK4 this year. The entire staff is caring and approachable - and they make an effort to get to know everyone in the school. I plan to keep my daughter there until 8th grade and enroll my second daughter when she turns 3!
My daughter was in PreK 3 last year and will be back for PreK 4 this year. We had an incredible experience at SMA & plan on sending our daughter there through 8th grade. The entire staff is wonderful. The parents are so involved and made our first year there very welcoming, I'm looking forward to the new school year to welcome new parents!
My daughter just completed PK3 with Ms. Beres - we LOVED it. Ms. Beres was a wonderful addition to the faculty. She and Ms. Zaida were compassionate and loving (as preK kids need) but also pushed them intellectually. The school really provides a community where our daughter is safe and thriving. The parent involvement is great. The director and principal are very approachable and engaged which was not our experience at another school.
My kids have been attending St. Mary of the Angels for 3 years now and they, as well as I, love it. The teachers there really care about the kids in their classrooms and nurture them so they will accelerate to the next level. I also feel that a big part of the kids success there has a lot to do with the parent participation, it's great. There is a lot of involvement for all of the events and activities that go on at the school.
I did a lot of research before deciding on SMA. The principal, Beth Dolack, came to SMA in 2009 and since then the school has nearly tripled in size. The school had the largest enrollment increase in the Archdiocese in 2013-2014, too. It's amazing what a turnaround the school has experienced -- strong academics, committed parents, innovative approaches to teaching religion and morals, and fabulous teachers! No class is over 20 students, and in preschool, there are 2 teachers to every class. My daughter is in PreK 3, and there are 18 kids with 2 teachers. The level of attention she gets is fantastic. She has been learning things that seem advanced (to me) for this age, like addition, graphs, greater than/less than, evaporation, photosynthesis. She learns Spanish and Chinese in the after school program. And for religion, they have a "Virtue of the Month" -- joyfulness, friendliness, truthfulness, etc. to illustrate Catholic teachings, instead of just readings from the bible or something . The school incorporates activities based on this value into the curriculum for that month. And just as important - there's good diversity and the parents aren't snooty!
LOVE St. Mary of the Angels! Our son transferred from the pritzker gifted school( nightmare of a cps public school) and is now thriving in ms, Claire's kindergarten class! She is the most dedicated , organized and creative kindergarten teacher I have ever met! Our son is gifted and he's challenged and engaged in her class. We looked at a number of private schools from Latin - mt. Carmel and I am completely delighted with the staff/ teachers at sma! The class size is small and there is a lot of individual attention and feed back to parents. The parents/ staff are involved/ care about the school and students ( which was a refreshing change from the cps school our son attended). I honestly think the two negitive reviews were because their kids were not mature enough for a preschool setting. Every parent I have ever talked to has had nothing but glowing reviews of the sma pk program!
I'm honestly surprised by some of the negative reviews. I have had two kids go through the 3yr old Pre-K teacher described below, and I thought she was fantastic. I talked with many of the parents who also found her to be outstanding. In fact, it seemed that the only parents who struggled with this teacher at first were those where there was a stay at home parent or other arrangement where this was the child's first experience in a structured environment. I suspect that is the case with these comments as well. This teacher tells you exactly how it is - no sugar coating. The candid and constructive feedback is appreciated. There is something special about this school. The principal has a vision and is executing on that to produce excellence all around. We have been impressed by all the teachers we have worked with. There are parents who are very involved and very passionate about making this school special. The continued growth speaks volumes.
My daughter attended part time preschool here. The school is small (and hopefully remains that way) and the teachers and other staff know you and your child by name. You can literally call the principal on the phone and talk to her, unlike many schools where the principal is too busy to take time out of her day to speak to parents. All teachers are available via email. There are small class sizes and for preschool, 2 teachers in a room. The classrooms are huge, cheerfully painted, and stocked with fun learning toys. As this is preschool, I'm not sure how rigorous the academics are but all activities are learning activities. This school will not be a good fit if you are looking for "day care" where the kids just play all day. This school will be a good fit if you want your children to learn and play. I loved that when it was nice outside the teachers took the children outside to play, best of both worlds. You are not supposed to mention names on this website so I will just say that the office manager whose name begins with an R and ends with an A is such an amazing woman. She loves all the children in that school and can do 15 things at the same time. We are very pleased.