We have multiple children at this school, and have been very pleased. The teachers are very loving and the academics are top notch. We especially enjoy the sense of community within the school - among the children and the families.
While no school is perfect, St Theresa is a great little school with a huge heart. My kids are in large top-rated public high schools now and were well prepared both academically and socially after 10 years there. At STCS they received a quality education and learned the incredibly important skill of making good choices. At any school if there are concerns you have to address them in a productive and collaborative way. During our 12 years there the school and the families proved to me time and again we were in the right place. I pray whatever challenges may arise that this community pulls together and comes out stronger. I am very proud of STCS and my kids as graduates.
St Theresa is an excellent school and a great community. We have been part of St Theresa school and parish for 17 years and have had a great experience. I would highly recommemd St Theresa to any family looking for a safe, challenging, positive and nurturing environment for their children.
After reading and agreeing with so many of the negative reviews regarding teacher and administration issues at STCS, I wanted to also highlight issues about the students treatment of one another. There are a number of significant issues around bullying and teasing particularly in the older grades. Teachers have admitted to moving their own kids from STCS for unresolved bullying problems and cliquish behavior with both boys and girls. In other cases, the teachers's children are the bullies and seem to go untouched as do children of parents that volunteer a lot. There are a lot of smoke and mirror responses but would like to see any real work that's been done and actually followed through with. It's also perpetuated by the parents. The superintendent needs to finally get engaged for the health of the school. The administration (principal, vice principal) are in over their heads and are in constant battle mode with families that want change instead of making any real strides on all the issues that are being presented.
We are starting our third year at STCS. While the academics could be better in Science and Technology, we've researched other schools and for the price STCS really is the little school that can. This is a very safe, warm Catholic environment, and ultimately this continues to win us over even when we have seen the higher-level curriculum that other, more expensive schools offer. The teachers and staff really do care about the children. There are a bunch of awesome little special things the school does such as recess every day and Spanish starting in PreK (which is unusual even at private schools). They also do grade-appropriate service projects even at the youngest grades and have a buddy system between higher grades and lower ones. There are always things schools can improve, and STCS is no different, but I think for the cost and the overall curriculum and environment, our child is better for attending this lovely school.
The Austin Catholic Diocese HR department went around this year and explained to all teachers how they are hired and fired at "the will" of the school and that can be for a reason or for no reason at all. That scares me because what kind of teacher would want to work for these schools? They cannot recruit or retain quality they are treated like that. The children are high end and low end and there is nothing in place to help either group. They teach to the middle but do not know how to help the others. To make it worse, some of the students are just as bad if not worse than public school kids so don't fool yourself into thinking STCS is a safe environment. There are quite a few mean children who make the environment less than desirable. Even if STCS was free, I would still have concerns. The good kids witness a lot of bad behavior and teachers and administration don't have any power to change it. Parents deny it and blame the school. We took our child out this year because of all these things.
Amazed that other parents are speaking of "weeding out" and comparing the school to "esteemed" public schools. Really? We chose the school because it was a Catholic school but found that that wasn't very important to the administration or the parents. It is a very cliquish school and if it isn't going to provide the emphasis on Catholic education, then we might just find the educational challenge at the more "esteemed public schools" more appealing. We're considering moving for middle school.
We love St Theresa's! The tuition is a bargain as it's subsidized by the parish. Many teachers came from the esteemed Eanes School District. We've had top-notch experienced teachers throughout--not the "hit or miss" you find at even the best public schools around. The school community is involved and unparalleled, not snobby like at some schools. Since St Theresa's starts at Pre-K, its students have a head-start on most area schools. The Diocese of Austin won't release test scores, but this school scores great and prepares its students well for high school. Yes, lots of sitting in a traditional school environment, worksheets, and some homework, but is manageable and gives results. Our child is gifted, and is plenty challenged here where there are a lot of bright kids from good families. The school does admissions testing and "weeds out" those who might not be able to handle the rigorous academic environment. Catholic theology is incorporated, so if you're not looking for Catholic education, you'd best look elsewhere. The school has always ranked well on physical fitness scores and the sports teams consistently do well. The weakest point to me is the Spanish program.
We were so excited when our kids got accepted to St. Theresa's. Our excitement turned to dismay when we received our teacher assignments. Both teachers were well into their 50s-60s and we learned quickly that the method of teaching in both classrooms was very outdated. One of our kids rated as gifted and this school could not accommodate the more rigorous needs. If your child is middle of the road and fits neatly into a box, then this school might work for you. If your child is special in any way and you want a school that recognizes and encourages that exceptionalism or uniqueness, versus trying to mold them into the status quo, this is not the environment for you.
I felt it important to post a more recent note about STCS. I find it interesting that overall, most comparable private schools for elem/middle in Austin had an average of 4*s, which leads me to believe that in all these schools folks either love their school or don't (and leave). We have several kids in this school and find it to be a very pleasant place to educate our kids. Any parent thinking of a private school should visit and see if their kid is a fit. Here are the pluses for STCS -- good academic rigor, at a quaint, central Austin Catholic setting for a reasonable tuition, and a very active, solid community of families. The good balanced families are a big selling point. There is improving diversity and teaching of virtues at the school (lower grades are probably seeing better diversity) with a broad socio-economic range. It is a more regimented academic curriculum that is "traditional" based, and a mix of teachers (as noted in reviews--some older and others newer, but overall they care deeply about the kids). Sports are important to the families there, so particularly for boys, this may be a factor. They will open a new fantastic building to add space next year.
After reading the last parent review, I decided to write my own. The last review omited an important factor regarding the lack of PE facilities for Middle School; well the school is currently under construction reducing the space for the children to play outside. As the principal has mentioned several times, the children safety is the main priority and is open to receive suggestions from us the parents in how to adapt this situation to the middle school recess.Like any school has its flaws, I agree with the excessive amount of worksheets but at the end, my children are happy, well adapted and learning.
St. Theresa School has a great community, unfortunately it ends about there. Since the entrance of the current principal, many excellent / seasoned educators have left. The principal doesn't seem to know how to run a Catholic institution and the community is all that holds this once excellent environment in place. While PSIA / test scores do fair well, that seems to be their sole purpose outside of working for accreditation. The science and math programs are poor and from Kinder on the children spend their days doing countless worksheets, glued to their seats unable to even wiggle without being diagnosed with a learning disorder. In lieu of teacher instruction, the students watch videos and do little interactive learning. Space is of real concern and it also is diminishing. The lunchroom is held in the gym (which doesn't have an approved basketball floor); there is no track, field or other place for PE outside of the gym. The children as they get older have little creative outlets. The potential for St. Theresa's is good (less space limitations for sports/recess). It was a great school, but is now run by individuals that don't seem to have the children in mind.
St. Theresa's is a wonderfully warm community with great parent involvement. The campus, surrounded by nature, is conducive to learning and simply nice to be around. My concerns lie within the academic environment, which proves to be too rigorous in the early years (PK, K). The K teacher this year said she was teaching 1st grade. It now makes sense to me why it was recommended that my 4 year-old daughter in PK who has a summer birthday (a young 4) repeat PK in order to mature and be better equipped to handle K. Now in K, my daughter finds the class of 22 students to be overwhelming. Even with a teacher and TA, my daughter gets lost in the mix due to the age and developmental difference between students. Academics are geared towards standardized testing and the curriculum moves so quickly that students are not retaining information, are not receiving help if they don't understand, and are bombarded with worksheets and homework starting in K. There is little energy left for fun and creativity though art and Spanish class are part of their week. I'm just torn about this school because there is so much I personally love about it and my daughter is just not enjoying.
Great parent involvement. Very competitive in sports, curriculum and high academic achievement are important, but seem secondary to sports achievement . The teachers are nice, but no different really from public school, class sizes are the same. They need to raise tuition to attract quality teachers who are different than public school. It is a great community of people who care a lot about the school. The homework is overwhelming and can be extremely stressful for the kids. Doesn't really seem to help the kids do any better, should be working on it in class, not at home. Overall, public school vs. private really not that much different in academics but the kids and parents are great.
i went there 2 years ago. no other school has been able to even come close tto the academic standards that st. theresas has to offer. i miss everyone there and i think that it has to be the best private school ive ever heard of.....plus the food is amazing!!!!! and the staff and facultie are the best in the world
Excellent school with fine academics. St. Theresa regularly wins academic competitions against much more expensive schools. The parents are a close knit community, many of whom have a strong Catholic faith. The middle school academics have greatly improved and Latin, Writing and Science are particularly good. Most middle school students participate in extracurricular activities and sports, which we also liked.
What an incredible school! They have created an environment of high academic standards and love - a beautiful balance. St. Theresa's has done a wonderful job enhancing a child's spiritual growth in many ways. For the review siting no middle school conferences - I believe if you inquire you will find that middle schools do not have 'set' parent conferences. I do know that at any time, a parent conference could be requested and ofcourse, scheduled. They want their middle schoolers to be treated as other middle schoolers are treated. They provide a 'normal' middle school experience plus a whole lot more! I can't express how much I disagree with that review. We could not be happier with sending our children to this wonderful school!
Our child is in Kindergarten at St. Theresa's. At first I was concerned, as they require testing of all new students. However, once I researched, I realized testing was to help ensure that St. Theresa's was a good fit for each and every child they admitted - and we couldn't be more pleased with the fabulous kinder teachers, the wonderful families, and the way they treat our child as if we are part of the family. The academics are rigorous but we are most pleased with the 'whole child' philosophy - sound mind, sound body, sound heart. It's the best school in Austin no matter what your religion.
Be careful with this school especially at certain grades and particularly at the middle school. It works for a certain type of student and certain type of family but does not work well for many especially if your family likes parent teacher interraction or smooth interactions with administrators. Your student will learn Catholicism but there are many problems elsewhere at teh middle school life. Middle school life is pretty dismal as the people running the show don't seem to understand adolescents. Parent teacher interaction is hard to get. It is a very closed school and this past year parent teacher conferences were cancelled by the teachers with approval from the administration at the middle school level. Teachers cancelling middle school conferences? Adminstrators approving it? What is going on? Make sure things improve before you consider it. Check out some other Catholic schools if you want Catholicism before picking this one.
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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.
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