I am a parent of a 13 year graduate who has been extremely successful in college. She was accepted to top tier universities for her chosen field of study and was offered scholarships to many of these schools. Because of the size of the school, the students have an opportunity to participate in many extracurricular activities such as sports, music, highland dance and drama. My daughter's friends were Christian, Hindu and Muslim and I saw no evidence of anyone being treated differently. They have remained very close in the following 4 years. Our younger child is currently a student at STES and we are please to see that the middle school program has had some recent positive changes. While the curriculum is rigorous, my girls never wanted to miss school and were always cheerful as they left for the day.
Non-Christians are welcome but understand your child is attending (or applying to) a Christian school. So Christian view is what will be taught. Academics are excellent and challenging however homework is very heavy. Some children (and their parents) struggle with the workload even if the student understands all the concepts and lessons. Watching a smart, enthusiastic kid struggle under unnecessary piles of paper and books every night is heartbreaking. This is the only reason for the 4 stars. I wish more schools would realize that tons of homework does not necessarily make a better, smarter student. Some actually retain more by doing a bit less!
I am really surprised by the negative reviews, stating that the school does not accept or integrate non-Christian children. This is simply false. As long as you instill an open-mindedness in your child as to learning about another religion, there is no issue. The teachers are very nurturing and loving here and the academic program is first-class. The sense of community and the great values of treating others with respect are additional pluses. We are zoned to an excellent public school but have decided to send our daughter here for two years now because of the great strides she has made both in maturity and academics. It is hard to find a school that balances education so well with culture (art/music program is fantastic) and community.
Academically challenging - my child feels stressed. Tons of homework, demanding academics - a lot advanced when compared to the good public school we moved from (I think this is a con not a pro as many might - I would rather a child enjoy their childhood - there are loads of time to learn). Christian - I have no problems here (we are not practicing christians and we have not felt excluded. I don't care if they make my child read the bible - they will choose their beliefs as they grow. You can expose them to an alternate thought to make them better rounded. I don't mind everyday Chapel either - some quite contemplation time everyday cant be bad for anyone) Community oriented - small enough that all families know each other. Many parents are alumni - tells me a lot about the quality. Friendly and welcoming - our first year here so this may be a premature review. So far so good.
My daughter is now in her 4th year at St. Thomas - and over those years I have come to know several of the faculty and parents, including the headmaster, Michael Cusack. They truly have my respect, not only as teachers.. but as thinkers, innovators, and leaders in education. The curriculum is challenging and encourages an understanding of the liberal arts and sciences, balanced by the values of forgiveness, love, and understanding deeply rooted in Christian belief systems. Their Scottish Arts program is unbelievable to see and I am constantly amazed at the artistic abilities of the students who have been encouraged over the years by the school. We explored several private schools in Houston and decided on St. Thomas' based on a tour of the school and talking with faculty and others who knew of or had experienced the school. Also, I believe that the tuition is quite reasonable compared with other private schools in Houston that we considered. I would also encourage any parents considering a private school education to meet with Mr. Cusack and the faculty and see it for yourself. I believe that you will like what you see.
Not a good school if you are not Christian. Met the interim director and she was very nice and said that my son would get in with no problem. Went for interview with the headmaster Michael Cusack and I already knew that he did not wanted to give admission. Letter said that there are several factors that went into decision for not giving admission and it really irritated me for wasting my time and their time to go through this process. I don't mind them being Christian school but I would prefer headmaster to be straightforward. He also said that my son would be considered for Bridge to K program. So this is confounding to parents who are not treated the same as the other parents who are Christian.
Confounding that someone would not understand that a school name "St. Thomas' Episcopal" with a mission statement "Forming honorable men and women through a classical education in a Christ-centered world view," would be a religious school supporting Christian students. Secondly, even more confounding that someone would not understand why the Bible would be used as an important curriculum tool in "Sacred Studies" and "Ancient History" courses. Say what you will, but STE does not hide their religious identity, nor should they have to. We are proud of what we believe. As for ostracizing non-Christian students, this is absolutely not true. We have students of various faith backgrounds - Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish. We openly embrace these students and they are as much a part of our community as any student of a Christian faith. We are diverse population that strives to learn from one another to become better people.
Religious school that supports its Christian students; non-Christian students tend to be ostracized. School also teaches the Bible as literal history, which is...confounding.
I have had four children go through STE. The first one entered STE in 7th grade, a transfer from a good Fort Bend ISD public school, and struggled the entire year just to keep up. The second one went through HISD's Vanguard program and when we moved him to STE for 6th grade, he knew less than an STE 5th grader. Having learned our lesson, we moved the last two to STE in from the Sights and Vanguard programs in lower school. They knew so little, we held both of them back a year! My point here is that STE is not easy. It is HARD WORK. But your kid will learn more than you thought possible. All four kids went on to wonderful colleges and are successful adults now. Because of STE's emphasis on manners (they must say "Yes ma'am." and "No sir.") and Christian values, they are comfortable in adult situations and are very self-assured. We calculated once that we got back about $45K all told, in savings on college courses they placed out of because of APs and their scores on the colleges' own placement tests. It was a good school when we started and an even better school now. Oh, and the band is co-ed now...finally!
My neighbor just called to tell me about this site. I, too, was a parent, many years ago, and I agree with the comments made before me. My two girls did not come from public schools but they did have to work very, very hard, one with tutoring at times, and both commented that when they got to their universities, they could not believe the poor quality of their classmates' work. It turns out that all of our hard work was worth it - they ended up making money tutoring and correcting their dorm mates' papers. But let me tell you about STE from the point-of-view of a teacher, since I did not stop teaching there when my last daughter graduated. Before coming to STE, I had taught in two, different public schools. To say it was like being in a war zone would not be strong enough. I read some of the negative comments of the other reviews. You want to see REAL problems with teachers and administrators? Try Aldine ISD or some HISD high schools. When I came to my first class, and all of the students stood up and said, "Good morning Mrs. XXX", I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. I hadn't died. But I was in Heaven. I'm still there. And I will do anything for my students.
Regardless of the complaints, this school is for hardworking, intelligent children. It has a disciplined but loving atmosphere. Nothing is perfect and young people are not the kindest human beings, but the faculty does a great job in addressing each student's needs and, of course, is protective of them. I attended public school and did not have the opportunities afford here. If you want your child to succeed in life he or she can with the help of this fine institution. If we could build a system like this across America we would still be among the leaders of the world in elementary to high school education. Very highly recommended to those who can afford it. It is not cheap.
A+ preparation for college!! Both of my children graduated from STES... and they were far ahead of their freshmen classmates in college! STES prepared them with good study habits and excellent grammar/writing skills. My daughter was a 13 year veteran of STES. She took ten AP classes at STES. When I went to Parents' Orientation at Rice University... an admissions administrator called my daughter a "Rock Star!"
As a graduate of STES and a 13 year vet, I was grateful that they used a "classical" educational approach. I am now at Rice University, studying Biochemistry. STES not only let me focus on my passion for sciences, but also made me look at a bigger worldview. I studied Latin for 8 years and was raised reading the classics of English literature. The focus on a well-rounded education was evident in the variety of classes offered to the upper school students, such as Comparative Politics, Statistics, and Chinese. The amount of AP classes offered also acted as an academic springboard -- I passed all of my AP's, earning over a semester of credit at Rice. STES is a wonderful community. While working with the college counselor, I knew I wanted to look for a community strong university, just like my community oriented K-12 experience.
Look, if you don't mind your kid going blind doing homework and having no life, this is the place for you. My kid has been here nine years and they gave homework every day in kindergarden for Christ's sake. They also have a serious bullying problem that they are unwilling to address. I suspect this is because they look at the children not as students but as $10,000 per year. The principal is spineless, though he means well. The classrooms are crowded and need updating. You will spend at least 1/2 hour every day trying to tell how your child is doing in school because of their frustrating web system. Also, if you are divorced be prepared to be treated as a second class citizen. Frankly, I'd transfer my kid but my ex-wife objects.
So pleased with STE! My daughter started Kinder in 2010, and we hope our son is accepted to KBridge in 2013. Christian environment and strong focus on academics make it a great choice for our family. My daughter loves daily chapel services, Bible study/songs, and even memory work! She is surrounded by children whose parents put a real emphasis on Christian values, a great education, & good behavior. Her teachers have high academic expectations (pushing children to exceed skills for grade level), but they are loving & kind, too. Boy/girl classes have been wonderful, allowing the teacher to mold lessons to the gender, which is fun for the students. Small community atmosphere in the school is special many parents are alum and teachers often have children who attend or graduated from STE. Scottish Arts give a real source of pride, making kids feel unique (our daughter LOVES Scottish dancing). Amount of scholarship dollars secured annually by seniors is astounding. Tuition is a fantastic investment. Lastly, school leadership presses forward each year to improve the curriculum, facilities, and classes offered. We are so impressed and are looking forward to the next 15 years at STE!
I feel strongly about St. Thomas' quality, so I am posting to reply to some of the negative reviews I have read here. I attended St. Thomas' and now my children go there. Though I received the best education possible in Houston, the school only gets better every year. St. Thomas' offers more choices than ever to its students in activities and sports. They have not strayed, however, from offering a well-rounded academic foundation and consistent Christian instruction. I never felt I was discriminated against at St. Thomas' for being a girl. I actually thought we girls had it better than the boys, probably because our separated classes were so tailored to us. As for the religious education, St. Thomas' is an Episcopalian school, and conducts beautiful daily chapel services. If you do not want your children exposed to the Bible, this is not the school for you. I will say, however, that my graduating class included students of all the major faiths, and those of no faith, and that diversity in a small class allowed us the best opportunity to learn about faiths other than Christianity through open discussion and interaction.
Great School!!! I transferred my two oldest kids 5 years ago and I can't express how pleased I am for our decision. When I visited the school then, I was most impressed with the discipline and the high level of academics. The level of respect that the kids show is amazing. My little one had the opportunity to start from kindergarten and it has also been a great experience. The teachers are strict but loving. In the higher levels, middle school and high school, the teachers are always accessible and willing to help the students even after hours. The music program is amazing. I have a drummer, a member of the choir and one learning the violin. In addition they have the opportunity to experience sports if they choose to. The Headmaster is a very caring person who truly cares about the school and is very open to any ideas and suggestions from the parents and faculty.
We are so happy our child was accepted to STE 3 years ago. On our visit to school, I was shocked at how many happy kids were there - they all were happy! At first, not thrilled about all the Scottish stuff, but child loves it--and it is great exercise. Love the math program - way ahead of "G&T" classes at local public elementary. Homework load is NOT excessive at this point and teachers are very understanding yet firm. Children know what is expected of them and behave accordingly. Foreign language and music programs are impressive by any standard. Daily chapel is a time for all the grades to gather and hear some good words - and sing. There is always something going on at the school. Fun for lower school kids to attend the varsity sports events, plays, and concerts. Yes, lots of the teachers/staff send their kids there - why not? They know a great school when they see one!
Wonderful school. I am a former student (K-12) and I have already signed up my child to attend St. Thomas. My education was outstanding and I look forward to my child having the same advantages. There was homework but I'm not sure how you can expect to get a good education without it. St. Thomas has a very strong family environment and with smaller classes, teachers are able to identify students that may be struggling. I love that there is a foreign language requirement in the lower school and just wish that they could fit in more. The Scottish band and dance programs are outstanding and give students something unique to experience. Take the time to tour the school and get a feel for the environment.
I can't imagine a better environment for my kids! The teachers are strict but nurturing. Chapel every day is both a break and a reminder that there is more to life than studying. We are all here to DO something with our God-given gifts. This is a Christian school and morality and ethics are a part of every aspect of their education. The curriculum is rigorous, a lot is expected, but the kids rise to the challenge. The rote memorization in elementary is often criticized but there is no better way to build the foundation in basic concepts. Starting the kids on French in 1st grade is a huge bonus, as it takes advantage of a child s propensity for acquiring language. My daughter loves to point out all the words that are the same in French and English. How fantastic, too, to have the opportunity to be a part of the unique Scottish Band and Dance program! The community is small, tight-knit, and welcoming; there is no shortage of volunteer opportunities. The current headmaster has done much to advance the curriculum and improve the facilities. This isn t the perfect school for everyone (what school is?) but it is a perfect fit for us and what we want for our kids.
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