I have 2 kids here and have been here a decent while and here are some thoughts. First off, for the money (~$6500) STCS is a pretty good deal on private school education in Austin. Schools like St Andrews, Trinity, St Stephens are 2-3 more. The fact that the principal is leaving is a very good deal. She was very uninspiring, very poor decision maker and the school has gone a bit downhill since she got there (3-4 years ago). There used to be a wait to get into PreK and now they take all comers. As with most schools there are some good and not so good teachers. Some teachers really just seem to rely on worksheets but many are real teachers. Personally I think the homework load is pretty ridiculous. You have the kids in school for 7 hours, and I think you should be able to accomplish everything you need to in those hours. The relationship with the church is a little contentious at times. Father Bill never seems to embrace the school, and it kind of seems like he views it as an inconvenience. Heard some rumors that he might be moving on as well soon which would be a plus. The schoolroom facilities are fine but the athletic facilities are poor. No fields and poor gym.
The main issue with this school are the amount of parents that are unreasonable, and do not understand boundaries when it comes to their child's teacher. Never I have seen a school where parents are constantly given the chance to make educational decisions over the teachers. Consequently, they drive educators away, and may even attempt to get rid of them. I pray for their Catholic renewal, and hope they can bring in leadership that has the ability to run the school in the interest of ALL students, not the one or few of the most overwhelming parents.
STCS has lost three of their absolutely best teachers in the upper school in the past year or so: English, Social Studies, and now the Science teacher is leaving. So what does that tell you? These were anchor teachers with heart and expertise in their subjects. What a shame for the children to have a revolving door. The assistant principal is smart enough to step up, but she has a history with the parents who are often combative and unreasonable. This is not the only school in the diocese with problems. The folks at the top and esp. in HR need to re-examine their priorities and change the way they treat teachers. There is a lack of respect for both teachers and academics. So much politics have ruined these schools and driven the quality teachers away.
Principal's retire. That is not at issue. But, "a fresh perspective and change" is undoubtedly needed. Agree they should look external to the school for the principal job and more staff changes are probably warranted. A new vision of what this Catholic school and community COULD BE is encouraging, if and only if, it brings balance to the dissatisfaction and widens the perspective of those satisfied with the status quo.
I don't think a school should receive a low rating because the principal is retiring at the end of the school year. Change is not necessarily a bad thing and if teacher attrition is a concern, perhaps a fresh perspective with a new principal can be a helpful step in the right direction. I still believe that STCS is a very good school and my kids who have moved on to high school are evidence of the strong moral and educational foundation the school provides.
The school is in a state of flux and viewed as not doing well from within the diocese. As the principal just announced her retirement, hopefully they can find a highly educated and experienced leader willing to make strong choices related to the teachers. assistant principal and quality curriculum. The assistant principal is not the appropriate person for the role.
We have been part of this community for 9 years. We have had the opportunity to live overseas leaving St Theresa and coming back. We have had the opportunity to compare wih other catholic schools overseas. And believe me. St Theresa is a great school. Not perfect since we humans will never be perfect but with a lot of hard work from the teachers and staff to help our kiddos learn and develop at their fully potential. My kids love the school and their friends and teachers. We feel very lucky to be able to be part of this community.
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.
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.
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
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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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