This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
St. Michael's Catholic Academy1
Posted January 02, 2014
- a parent
My daughter attended smca, and we were extremely disappointed. The school lacks leadership and direction. The religious classes are ridiculously difficcult. There are very few opportunities for new students to become connected to their graduating class. The teachers are mainly coaches, and there is a high turnover. We were hoping for a better experience. I constantly wondered 'Who is in charge around here?'
I attended SMCA for half a semester so far. I am not very impressed by their academics and i feel i've learned very little in most of my classes thus far. The quality of most teachers are pretty low. Besides the teaching, the community is not very inviting, and the clique culture is rampant. Drugs seem to be everywhere, and in the short time I've been there , there have been an alarming number of drug related incidents including an arrest and a student sent to rehab.
My feelings about SMCA are mixed, I enjoyed my high school experience, but at the same time I despised most of my peers and their values. I'll be the first to respect other viewpoints (and one of the few at SMCA), but the majority of the student body doesn't care about academics and even fewer still knowledge itself. I've had many teachers who were beyond excellent, but there are those who should not be teaching. The social studies department has two teachers who aren't coaches. The math department is excellent for children at Pre-AP and AP levels, but the basic kids get the short end of the stick. The English department is one of the few departments that is superb all around. Most of the students have shallow, saccharine personalities and care more about how they look than anything else. I love the college counsellor and she is one of the best and does all she can, even if only half a dozen students each year care to attend nationally acclaimed colleges. Even though they own lake homes and bought their kid an Audi, the parents are cheap on their kids' education. Education is not valued by these kids and their families as much as money.
I have two children that attended SMCA this year. One graduated this year, one will graduate next year, but NOT from here. I am sure it will take countless extra hours to get back where we need to be for college level courses. Teachers are very kind, but also very discouraged because there is NO discipline system whatsoever. These kids do and say as they please. They use their phones all day long during every period. It is very hard to teach ,even if you may be qualified, when no one is paying attention or one is constantly trying to reprimand to no avail. Same with the dress code issue, seriously, either have one a strcit one you are going to follow (EVERYONE will follow) or can it. Nobody seems to have any authority to make anything happen. Very frustrated! Do not be fooled by their awesome sale staff. I will tell you they do their job very well! All the clubs etc they tell you exsist do not. Help center is marginal at best. And to think this is something we paid for...twice!!
the school was great, until they decided to enforce this new "uniform". instead of giving the students the customary plaid skirt and polo, the school decided to make the students buy their own khaki pants and button downs. the majority of the school would prefer the standard uniform because now we have to go and try to find appropriate uniform requirements. it wouldnt seem like it would be a big deal, but it is almost impossible for the students to try and find appropriate dress. when making dress code decisions, the administration should have taken a poll or something because letters were sent from the sophmore class regarding this issue, and they ignored them completely. even after numerous complaints from parents, the school would not even consider changing to a real uniform.
I think it is true to say that your experience in anything is directly related to the effort you put into it. We have 2 kids at SMCA. Our experience has been nothing short of wonderful. We are very active in the activities of the school and attend events (sports and the arts) whenever we are able. we volunteer often. Like any environment there is diversity at all levels. Clearly an academically focused environment, it has made our kids much better students. That's why we are there. The family environment is hardly pretentious. That's what makes it very special for us. Yes, extracurricular activities are important at the school which reflects their importance to our/your child. It is a great source of our SMCA family interaction. I like to describe the environment by saying "there is no place for the students to hide". Hopefully it will challenge your kid to be a better student and person too.
I must say that I was shocked to read a few of the posts regarding SMCA as we have had the complete opposite experience. I have two children currently attending and one who will attend next year. The teachers have been very accommodating to my child who has ADD and have offered to meet with him before school, during lunch, after school or whenever he needs it.The academics are rigorous and they will be more than prepared for college. Athletics is an important part of SMCA however academics is number one.
St. Michael's is a great school. We would not hesitate for an instant to send our kids there again. We have had children at Westlake as well, SMCA was a better choice. Just as with anything in life, you get what you put into it. If you want good grades, you will have to work hard. If you want to excel in extra-curricular activities , you will be similarly challenged. If you choose not to get involved in the many organizations and activities offered at SMCA, blame no one but yourself. The school does require discipline, and if your child, or even you as a parent, don't believe in following rules and recognizing that there are consequences to actions, perhaps a public school may be best for you. The education, study habits, and friendships our children have gained and made while attending St. Michael's has made their transition to college much easier and their college grades are a true reflection and validation of the value of the education you get at St. Michael's. Teachers and administrators have shown considerable care and concern and the families which we have met have become true friends, and have been there for support when we have needed them.
My family has had an amazing experience at St. Michael's. We have one graduate, a senior, and a junior.--eleven total years of wonderful experiences. The faculty and staff love their students and therefore become like family. It is always a treat to see these happy kids released from class at the end of their day, scurrying to so many after school sports and activities. We have loved every day at SMCA!!
The name SMCA is less of associated with academic success and more with social status. If you do not live in the Westlake area, do not have an iPhone and do not have your own car, you will not be accepted by the majority of students. The school has a very elitist student body and even most of the teachers as well. This elitist nature really does effect the experience. If you are not one of the rich families at SMCA, do not expect most of the teachers to care about your success. If you do not play any sports at all, be prepared to have a horrible high school experience here anyway. Athletics at SMCA is the most funded extracurricular, while other extracurricular programs (such as band and tech) are left with very little. This school is obsessed with it's reputation and administrative decisions are made for the better of the school, not the student.