Let me start by saying I don't feel that the IB curriculum is a good fit inside of the Catholic school context. IB is about recognizing and appreciating that not every student learns in the same way. The Catholic school system is only setup to handle a very small bandwidth of learner. If your child is not inside of this bandwidth of learner; you and your child will be called in and your child will be made to feel like a failure. NDPMA is a VERY tight knit community. One could dare to say so tight that there is no room for new comers. When you first enroll everyone is very nice and welcoming but then, that falls away very quickly; and you are lucky to get a "Good Morning" from the principal when you bring your child in. NDPMA's mission statement says that they, Work with God to form Christian People, Upright Citizens and Academic Scholars. We did not find this to be the case. There were many tears after school over unfriendliness. NDPMA has the habit of using athletic coaches as teachers for their classrooms. It becomes quite clear that these teachers are ill-equipped to understand the classroom dynamic and what to do to help their students achieve.
My children are in their second year at Marist Academy and are thriving. The school offers small class sizes, an IB program and highly involved teachers and parents. In addition to many electives like music, art, gym, computers and library, they also offer Spanish 5 days a week. Students are taught not only how to learn, but also to be good citizens. At the end of last school year one of my daughters was disappointed to have to go on summer vacation - if that doesn't speak of the school's program, I don't know what does.
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