I have had children at St. Andrew's for 7 years now. Principal Cario is a truly wonderful leader, with a can-do attitude and amazing dedication (I have seen her shaking out rugs behind the building, tying a kindergartner's shoe, and I once witnessed her calmly walk a half a mile with a distraught 7th grader from a neighboring school who had missed his bus and was trying to run away; Cario convinced him to turn around and go to school). With Principal Cario at the helm, it is not surprising that the overall attitude at the school is positive, friendly, and encouraging. My children have had excellent teachers, who are nurturing and fun, and who inspire the children to succeed and to master difficult concepts. Another thing I love about St. Andrew's is that it beautifully combines students from different socioeconomic and racial backgrounds into cohesive classrooms. I strongly believe that Charleston County needs more schools that do the same. Oh, and the (brand new) building is beyond fabulous...but the school itself was excellent even when half of it was in trailers.
My daughter deteriorated in 6 weeks in Kindergarten last year. We tried to discuss the multiple behavior issues with her teacher who repeatedly blew us off. When we finally got a meeting with her teacher at the six week mark, she cut the meeting short so she could attend a teachers workshop. We drove around the school only to find her exercising in the school yard. I dont believe sprints, pushups and situps constitute as a teachers workshop. We pulled our daughter out and placed her in a private Montessori school on Hwy 17 in West Ashley and she loved it. She asked me if she could stay! That is the enthusiasm I had hoped for at SASMS not tears. The Administration staff also seemed disorganized. They also let my 5 year old daughter ride on a unauthorized private afterschool bus without our consent. They did later apologize after we went to pick her up to take her to the afterschool program and she was not there at the school. She had taken the afterschool transportation (karate mini-bus). While waiting in the Administration office for our teachers meeting, the Administration staff seemed confused on what to do with another child whose transportation was also in question. Not cool.
FYI, our son has attended S.A for 3 years, is a straight A student & we're highly involved parents(pta, volunteers,etc.). 1st, a contradiction exists in S.A.'s title as "School of Math & Science". Compare test results to see why. S.A. does not place an emphasis on math and science. Strict adherence to Common Core leaves little time for kids to learn anything more than how to take PASS tests (also our son's experience). S.A. teachers appear to focus on helping the lower 20% improve at the cost of the mid-to-high level kids (not always a teacher's fault b/c test scores affect funding). Open (2) tabs,one for S.A. and one for neighboring Summerville's Newington Elementary on this site to compare. You'll see a big difference. Toured NES recently to see why and were amazed at their enthusiasm and teacher participation in all events (stark contrast to S.A.). NES has an award winning robotics team & doesn't dumb down science and math, and supports creative teaching methods. S.A.'s gifted and talented program (a joke) is a mere 2 hours a week vs. NES's every day, all day program ( to help their brightest excel). We sadly will be moving to S'ville to give our kids a better education.
SASMS provides a very nurturing environment and plenty of hands-on learning experiences. I have 2 children here and highly recommend the school to those who are looking. I do like that it is a partial magnet, with a combination of neighborhood kids and other kids from throughout the district. They do have a exceptional principal and very active PTA.
I have had a mixed experience at the school. On one hand my girls have had great teachers. However, my sons first grade year was a distaster. The teacher was rude and yelled at many of the children. I learned they had many parents complain but little was done. She is still there and I think her presence is an insult to the great teachers who deserve the spotlight.