My son is about to complete his first year of Preschool at Old St. Mary's School and I have nothing but amazing things to say about it. Like many parents, my biggest concern was how my child would transition from being at home to school. Although my son was very resistant the first couple of days, he always came home in smiles. By the third day he was so excited to go to school, he didn't want to leave! He quickly became very comfortable with his teachers who encouraged him to expand his social skills and make friends with all of his classmates. The progress that the has made throughout this school year and knowledge he has gained is astonishing. The teachers really hone in on each child's interests. It's fun to hear your child come home speaking words in Spanish, have the opportunity to take home the class turtle for the weekend, or bring home their various art projects. Also, every month the preschoolers go on a field trip that parents are able to chaperone; the experience is more than rewarding for everyone. There are so many opportunities to volunteer and get involved. If you don't have the chance to attend the events, the teachers update their activities weekly on classroom blog. In comparison to many of the preschool programs in the South Loop, OSMS is very comparable in price. It is definitely similar to the price of Catholic school in the suburbs. In my opinion, it's worth it to know that your child is happy and thriving! We didn't expect to live in the neighborhood for much longer, but this school has made us reconsider. We can't imagine taking our son out of this school, it is a great program. We can't wait to see what the next few years have in store for us.
My child has been as this school for a few years. There has been a lot of mean/bullying behavior directed at my child over the past two years at least and with every incident the school "talks to the mean/bullying childs parents". Nothing ever changed. The school has nothing in place where they have consequences for such unacceptable behavior. No recess taken away, no detention, no expulsion.. nothing. They take no responsibility other than talking to the parents. They did go as far as bringing in an expert to talk to the children and the parents. Still the school has no policy of their own on consequences of bullying or mean behavior. My child has suffered for at least two years from the actions of the same kids constantly being mean, bullying and ostracizing. We have decided to place our child in another school that has no tolerance and has strict rules in place with regards to bullying and mean behavior. In talking to other parents, this is happening in other grades and they are also beginning to look outside of Old St Marys. I don't believe that the old principal Callahan would have stood for such behavior in her school. There is also a "parent clique" that goes on here. If you are not in the clique, you will never be acknowledged. They do not respond when you say hello at pick up or at functions. These are the parents that are on the PTA. The kids here follow in there parents footsteps. Cliques and mean behavior. Don't waste your money. Its a toxic enviroment. Take it to someone who has and has changed to a school that may be more expensive, but well worth it as there is a sense of community within this new school and my child is thriving there.
If you have a lot of money or connections, you will do good at OSM. If not, they probably won't accept you. I guess if you are paying $8,000+ per student, you have to be well off to go there not to mention the building fund donation and all the other "donations" you have to make. This school is perfect for those families who are well to do and have extra money to give to the school. If you are middle class you don't fit in. It is far from diverse unless of course you are a rich black or hispanic. Go for the "interview" and see for yourself.
Our daughter is now in kindergarten and previously attended OSM for two years of preschool. My wife and I can't say enough good things about this school, from the wonderful modern new building, to the excellent teachers, to the dedicated principal and staff, to the Catholic values taught there. But the best thing about OSM is the sense of community felt throughout ever aspect of the school. We are lucky to have such a wonderful school right in our neighborhood.
I am so thrilled that my daughter and our family are part of this wonderful diverse community. The new school building opened in September 2011 and watching how the student enrollment keeps growing is amazing. The teachers and administrators are highly skilled, devoted and caring and there is a wonderful network of involved parents. My daughter is looking forward to beginning her fifth year at OSM!
OSM is a wonderful nurturing Catholic school which gets stronger each year as it adds grades and expands its extracurricular activities. I have two children that attend the school with my oldest in his fifth year there. While he is learning the fundamentals of reading, writing and math, he also is being taught critical thinking skills and Christian values that help him to think about the world he lives in. There are some physical constraints in the school but these should go away once the new building under construction is completed next year. The teachers are talented and committed. The parents are involved in every aspect of the school, from the Board to volunteering for recess. The school leadership has enhanced the curriculum and the after school programs. Most families live in the South Loop and that makes it a close knit but inviting neighborhood school.
I can't say enough good things about OSM. We have three children at OSM; our oldest has been at the school for five years. It is a caring, Catholic school and teaches children Catholic values. But is also offers a top-tier educational experience, with an innovative math and science curriculum. The teachers are fantastic: dedicated and committed, they model academic excellence. I quite simply can't imagine a better school for my kids.
I was very disappointed in our welcome to this school as new transplants from another state. We enrolled our children -- all of whom are high academic achievers -- with very high hopes, but it was made very clear to us by school leadership within 2 days that our kids were not a good 'fit'. We were saddened, disappointed and upset by what should have been a more appropriate level of professionalism, and a more welcoming atmosphere for children adjusting to their very first relocation. We did have positive interactions with others on the school staff, including Ms. Julie, one of the pre-K teachers, so our experience should not reflect on the entire school. We transferred our children within 8 days. They are very happy at their new school and learning above grade level. Sorry to be negative here - I'm a very positive and optimistic person whose experience wasn't.
I love Old St. Mary's because it is a family. They welcome your child as if they were a member of their family. It offers a exceptional curriculum for it's diverse students. The teachers are top-notch.