I'd say for respect/values/discipline/safety at school, etc... the school is excellent. But for academic excellence, creative programs, small class size, in my opinion, the school is behind several of the higher achieving public schools (at least many of the charters). The current 4th grade class has 34 kids. It's too much for all but the most energetic teacher to handle. The language offering is basically non-existent (technically they have an Italian language teacher but that was only offered sporadically and for minimal instruction time during the course of the year- not enough to really build language skills). Also, I get the fact that there's a strong Italian ethnic heritage in South Philadelphia but if we are being honest with ourselves, Italian shouldn't be the one foreign language that the school offers (and poorly at that).
This school is like a home away from home for my children. I have one child who graduated two years ago and is in the top five of his class in high school, one child who will be graduating from St. Nicks this June and one child in the second grade. St. Nick's has instilled values and respect in my children. I am very grateful to them.