This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Stone Ridge School Of The Sacred Heart4
Posted January 27, 2015
- a parent
Stone Ridge is a well-intentioned school that works hard to live up to it's Christian (Catholic) principles in a city that is aggressive, demanding and highly competitive. Under the direction of Catherine Ronan Karrels, Stone Ridge is likely to see further development in the years to come. But, it has a little farther to go before it earns it's fifth star. There is variability in the quality of teachers and the school struggles with some of the "extras" that are not extras for many of the girls who attend - for example music, drama and the art. All in all, our daughter is happy, healthy and engaged there. The school works hard to honor diversity (in many ways), but the most successful are self-starters who do not get mired in the social tensions that an all-girl school can promote. (Stone Ridge does not generate as much social angst as some of the other upper tier all-girl schools in the area). The lower school is very good, the middle school is outstanding and the upper school is good - probably in that order. There will be new leadership in the upper school in the coming year, which could be a breath of fresh air. Would strongly recommend for many.
As an alumna of SR (1995), I often say that my experience there was the most pivotal preparation I had for life to follow. Academically, I never worked harder or developed more tools to support learning, organization and time management (and after SR, I graduated from a top 10 liberal arts college and earned a Master's degree). Socially, at the time, I was atypical because I enrolled for Upper School only (Many of my classmates had been together since Lower School), and my family was not upper-middle/upper class, dual-parent, or from Bethesday/Potomac/NW DC, but I found my niche and made life-long friends while feeling truly comfortable and included in my class as a whole. The other students and the toughest teachers were an inspiration to me. I worked harder, studied more, came out of my shell and set my sights higher based on the environment and students at SR. I was not carefree but I wasn't there for an easy ride! Attending SR was, by far, the most significant choice I ever made as a young person. And my family could not have done it without SR's offer of financial aid.
I graduated from Stone Ridge three years ago. Many people accuse the school of being a breeding ground for clique culture. I won't argue, but I will say that I think that is more a function of the elitist D.C. area private school mindset than of gator girls themselves. In fact, I was very impressed during my time at SR at the potential for every girl, regardless of her background or interests, to be very popular and well-liked. Loving to learn or being a member of the chess club does not make you a loser at Stone Ridge. It was refreshing for me to see that passion for academics and extracurriculars were seen as cool! Additionally, I feel that the single sex environment allowed us to realize our full potential for leadership and academic achievement. Academically, Stone Ridge is top notch; the education that I received there has made college a breeze, intellectually speaking. However, the size of the school, while great for fostering an environment of intimacy, can be rather limiting in terms of academic options - the courses offered are not very varied or exciting. Still, I am glad to have attended such a challenging and rewarding institution, and proud to call myself a gator girl.
Stone Ridge has been an excellent school for our family. Our daughter started at the school this year and our experience is exceeding our expectations. No school is perfect and there are many reasons for good vs. poor experiences at any school, but we have found Stone Ridge to be academically rigorous and challenging without being a pressure cooker. So far the teachers have been top notch. The school and its families are welcoming, supportive and highly diverse. We have not seen any evidence of strong cliques...certainly no more than we have seen in any other private or public school. In fact, any sign of a clique mentality is overtly frowned upon and actively discouraged in my daughter's class. Even the parents who are clearly very wealthy are super down to earth and roll up their sleeves without hesitation. The school may not be for everyone, but it is a wonderful place for highly motivated, community-oriented students and their families. My daughter was accepted to a number of highly competitive schools and we are very happy that we placed her in Stone Ridge.
To address the girls talking about clique issues... I was honestly very surprised. Maybe things have changed from when I graduated, but my class got along phenomenally well for high school girls. (at least that is what I perceived). At college, my new friends would joke that all girls schools are full of drama, and I was quick to correct them, telling them how it wasn't like that at Stone Ridge. It's almost as if the academics are so challenging you had no choice but to be supportive and kind to each other if you wanted to get through it. (Academically, your daughters will thank you when they get to college, trust me.) Yes, girls had their groups of friends, but overall everyone got along. No bullying, exclusion, any of that. We were taught better than that at Stone Ridge.
We are former parents of three Stone Ridge graduates. They are lifers, which means that they were at Stone Ridge from Kindergarden to graduation. They went on to excellent colleges and graduate schools. They are successful, well adjusted, great moms and wives, excellent in their professions; involved in community service; they are happy and loving. I believe that part of their success is due to the education that they received at Stone Ridge. I love the school and continue to recommend it highly to prospective students and their families.
I think it's very telling that most of the negative reviews here are from former students. As a former student myself, there are definite pros and cons. Educationally, SR is phenomenal. I've never known a graduate who struggled academically in college. The commitment to community service is still with me. Some of my best friends even now are classmates. But this is largely because we formed that intense bond that stems from a shared trauma. Socially... middle school is miserable no matter where you are, but the girls there are nothing short of magnificent in terms of psychological torture. Given that the coping mechanisms employed when I was there were pills, liquor, and bulimia, it seems only a matter of time until major tragedy. The guidelines are there for this to be an amazing place, which is why the reality is so disappointing. If the focus was placed on compassion and kindness rather than kilt length and competition, maybe things would be different. Having said that, my being the strong and successful woman I am today has a lot to do with my education (and rebellion) from SR. I'm just not sure "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" is a great educational philosophy.
A few notes to add Our experience has been wonderful! Our daughter transferred from public school and loves SR. We ve found it to be a very nurturing, caring and welcoming environment that s academically challenging (but not extreme), religious based emphasizing values, with a focus on social awareness and action. The sense of community in our class, and I d say the school as a whole, is quite healthy. Parental involvement is very strong; enjoyable and probably expected, enriching but not overburdening. We re very impressed with the administration. SR apparently had a bumpy ride for a while years ago, but that seems to have long since passed. Some reviews address the issue of cliques. My take on it: you ll find it everywhere in life. We have not encountered that at SR, but high school will soon be upon us and it s possible we will. Personally, I grew up on the lower end of the socioeconomic scale in a decidedly blue-collar environment that was full of cliques, snobbery and elitism. While there is a wide variety of financial means among families at Stone Ridge, we ve always felt and been included, and we ve never experienced the classism I grew up with. Come see for yourself!
Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart has provided our daughter with an excellent academic and extra-curricular environment to learn and grow. The curriculum is excellent. We were very happy with our son's high school but find that Stone Ridge has a curriculum that allows the students to drill deeper into each subject. The student:teacher ratio is great. The faculty are engaged and really care about their students. They encourage each student to do their best. Stone Ridge provided an opportunity for our daughter to play a varsity sports and assume a leadership role in student government. Our daughter has a wonderful circle of friends who are supportive, hardworking and focused young ladies. We have every confidence that our daughter will be ready to go to any college of her choosing at the end of the four years. Most importantly, Stone Ridge has reinforced our family values through the school environment, value for leadership and community service.
Please save your daughter and do not send her here. I am a recent graduate of this school and I can say I have had the worst experience I could imagine. The girls were awful. Very cliquey and exclusive. There is alot of bullying going on throughout the upper school. Other alumnae from over the years that I have run into actually agree with my opinion. I know many girls who left over the years as well. I was too afraid to transfer because freshman year was so terrible, I thought it would happen all over again somewhere else. The academics cant be beat, some professors do need to be fired, however. The community involvement is also fantastic. However, the arts and theatre programs are in dire need to be revamped. There is no legit theatre. The sports also need to be improved as well. I hated this school and I am not alone. The price for the school does not make up for the actual school. I am still reeling from the awful social tension and exclusion as well as poor administrative guidance.