I strongly recommend against sending your child here to the early childhood learning program or the preschool. It was by far one of the worst experiences that we've had as parents. The director of the preschool is very difficult to work with she does not listen to the concerns of parents. In addition, she's overtly rude to parents when they discuss the development of their child.
The real issue, if I can summarize is that they believe that all children should function and develop in the exact same mannwe and if it's not in concordance to their way, then there must be something wrong with the child.
When my wife and I challenged this it became an issue and it became clear that we were ostracized as well as my child affected and the child was blamed. Needless to say we are one of many parents who transferred their child out to other schools. The other parents are also very educated respectable people who were not treated well from the program director either .
Additionally, the teachers have very little experience and they are all 1st to 2nd year teachers who are not experienced with 2 to 5-year old children. I found that they lack the patience and the education themselves for that type of teaching environment.
Attempts to work with the school despite these flaws were always met with resistance from the program director. We were cooperative and tried to get our child additional assitance ourselves in areas needed. However, the director made it very clear that it would be her way or no other way.
This review only reflects the early childhood learning program. The rest of the school has a gorgeous campus and the other experiences outside of the classroom were wonderful, which is why this review gets one star and not zero.
My review is specifically about the Early Childhood Learning Program (ECLP). My daughter was enrolled in the ECLP when she was two years old and was there for 2 years. The first year was great, the teachers were excellent and provided a nurturing environment. The Director was excellent as well and quickly solve problems. However, during the second year, everything changed. A new teacher was placed, who had been a softball couch for middle school and had no previous experience teaching preschool children. She was rough and demanding; she expected that 3-year olds followed ALL instructions immediately. A new director was placed as well, and instead of being an advocate for the children, she was very defensive and did not address the critical problems that were happening. I have to recognize that the new director had significant teaching experience, however that was not helpful because she acted as a tyrant. She even said that it was our fault that our daughter was having issues in class. If that was the case, why other parents were removing their kids from that class? As the environment became toxic, we transferred our daughter to another school. I still do not understand how they could place a person without prior experience with preschool kids as the leading teacher of the preschool class, it is failure not only from the teacher but also from the leaders. STES has a great reputation, mainly driven by its high school program, however, I do not recommend the ECLP at all. It was a total disappointment.
We enrolled our kids (one now in 8th grade, one in 11th grade and one in her first year of college) at St. Thomas when they entered kindergarten with the intention of putting them in a different private school or public school for high school. When our oldest daughter was in 8th grade they had a presentation for her grade with the head of upper school. He talked about how starting in 9th grade they would be working towards college. He discussed how the college counselor would work side by side with them to get into the college of their choice. After that we talked with out daughter and made the decision for her to stay at STE for at least one year of high school to see how she liked it and work with the college counselor. What a great decision that was! We decided as a family that she would graduate from STE. She was accepted into 6 different colleges and ultimately attended her first choice school. We gave out other two kids the same choice. They have both decided to stay at STE so they can have the same experience as their older sister.
We enrolled our children in STE when they were in kindergarten. They are now in 6th and 3rd grade. My husband is an Alum of the school and was incredibly excited to send our kids there. He had the most wonderful experience at St. Thomas. We are absolutely thrilled with the education they are receiving at STE. The class sizes are smaller so they are getting more one-on-one time with their teachers. The teachers have high standards for their students. Being a smaller school, there is a wonderful sense of community at the school. Everyone really feels like family. There are so many activities throughout the year that all the families attend. Fall Fair is a favorite for my kids. Our kids really love all the the activities that are available to them (athletics, music, theater). One of the things that we love as parents is the Christian based classical education. We really are blessed to be able to send our kids to St. Thomas.
I have two children that graduated from STE and one child currently enrolled. I cannot say enough good things about this school! Being a classical education, the students are exposed to so much more than at a traditional school. The class sizes are small which keeps the students engaged. There are a lot of AP classes offered which helps with college admissions. The students also have a lot of options for interesting electives including Scottish bagpipes or drumming and Scottish dance. College counseling starts in the 9th grade which really gets students more than prepared to start their applications. The schools is smaller which makes for a very nice community feel. Parents are also encouraged to be active in the school activities. STE is a wonderful school run by a wonderful faculty. I encourage anyone in the Houston area looking at private schools to definitely take the time to look at St. Thomas. You won't regret it!!
As a graduate of STES, my experience at this school was great. I can't emphasize enough how the diversity of the academic courses and extracurricular activities prepared me for success throughout my college career. The close-knit, small class size allows students to participate in a variety of activities instead of exclusively in one focus. The academically inclined also participate in arts like music and theater, sports teams, and dancing and/or band and they can be successful at all of them!
Lower school with Mrs. Vogeley's leadership and the amazing teachers from K-5th make STE perfect for our family. At school my children are: safe, loved, happy, learning, & playing. Your child will have homework and high standards are expected. (not the school for the lazy) A lot of family activities offered. Our favorite is Fall Fair.
The Christmas Concerts are phenomenal.
Middle school should be renamed "travel agency school" because expensive trips are being promoted non-stop. This is new and many parents do NOT like it. Puts many families in the awkward position of parents vs school. Buyer Beware!
Upper school students set a good example for younger student body. They are polite and friendly Great resource for babysitters!
I love, love, love this school! It's a place of substance where the Classical canon of academic literacy in math, English, natural science, social studies, and foreign languages is still honored (sadly, this is becoming increasingly rare in education). The students are remarkably respectful to teachers, and they're kind and supportive to each other. It's a formula that works: acceptances to Stanford, Princeton, Caltech, Rice, and Carnegie Mellon this year; state champions in swimming, cross country, and basketball; state champions for their string orchestra; one of the best yearbooks in the nation; and one of the best Scottish band and dance programs in the world prove that this is a small school that packs a big punch! I know my daughter's friends will be her friends for life, and she couldn't be surrounded by a better community of people.
Having three of my children graduate from STE, I can say that attending STE was a life-changing experience for my students and family. Academically based on curriculum, AP test results, SAT/ACT scores, college acceptances, teacher retention, and the expectation teachers have of students STE is one of the finest school in Houston. Even more importantly, it is a classical Christian school where virtues like character, honesty, discipline, and respect are taught and modeled by the faculty and staff. It s a family oriented community where the bullying and social competition is not tolerated. This is not a school for the lazy or for families that gravitate to the latest marketing trends disguised as education. Children are taught using proven pedagogy (dating back to Socrates), they are challenged in the best possible way, and most of them are involved in numerous activities sports, music, art, theatre, clubs, and volunteerism.
I agree with the previous post that the curriculum is outdated, promotes rote memorization and severely lacks in encouraging creative and critical thinking. I have seen teachers raise their voices and threaten the kids "to take away their party" if they dont be quiet. Again, some parents may feel that is okay. However, this is not a conducive learning environment. Most importantly, is the bullying. With so much awareness nowadays regarding bullying, it is pitiful that it occurs here at this school. The idea that ANY school who would not take this subject seriously, is ludicrous. Many emails were sent with no REAL plan of action, only pacifying words. The poorest marker of any school, is their lack of an avenue for feedback from the parents. When we decided not to re-enroll our child at St Thomas, there was not an email or letter inquiring why. This lack of desire to know parallels St Thomas's outdated curriculum and way of thinking. Again, some families will enjoy St Thomas, but it was not for us. Not all "great" schools per these reviews, are "great" for your children. I wish more updated reviews had been written before we enrolled our child there 3 years ago.