This was once a great school, but has significantly declined due to a serious lack of leadership by the Head of School. This person came into the position with no administrative experience whatsoever. She lacks professionalism, passion, basic business acumen, and more fundamentally, leadership skills. The faculty and staff know this, but hide it from the parents, and bury their heads to keep their jobs. To the school's credit, the Primary classes (3-6) are fantastic, because the teachers are fantastic. The upper levels lack boundaries, guidance and consequences. The middle school children spend more time gardening than learning actual skills needed for success later in life. The elementary children behave like Lord of the Flies, and bullying is rampant. This will be my child's last year at SCM.
I think the school is wonderful for the young child (through third grade or so), mainly because the primary and lower el guides and assistants are wonderful and are true and faithful Christians (though not necessarily Catholic) . However, I get the sense that there is a lot of indoctrination on the gospel of environmentalism in the upper levels. I also get the sense that the school feels the need to apologize for its Catholic identity and heavily emphasizes their version of the Church's social justice teachings over Catholic morality and virtue. What the school needs are more orthodox Catholic families to set a good example on what the Church teaches regarding moral issues--at least three teachers and other staff members I know of are public in supporting views that are not compatible with Church teaching re: marriage and abortion. If I get the sense that the upper levels acknowledge, accept, and encourage the children to follow Catholic moral teachings on ALL fronts, not just social, but moral, we will still through the ninth grade. I'm just not sure that the school is prepared to do what it needs to do to make this happen.
Our child thrived in spite of the lack of leadership and inconsistent management. There are/were some very great teachers at this school and because of that children can do well. That being said, iI would caution that as a parent the leadership has been dishonest, vindictive and outright cruel in dealing with parents that may bring up suggestions that are not popular or criticize any policy or change. At the moment the attitude is that if it works for your child shut up and be happy. There doesn't seem to be any real community feel in terms of feedback and participation. If you are not in the special circle of parents that will not question the leadership you may not enjoy this experience. We are lucky that we were fortunate to have great teachers who are alas now gone. You may have a good experience but please know there is a risk. I believe the toddler program is strong but its hard to recommend the rest without this caveat of meet with the teachers and talk to the parents and also know the principal will make decisions based on her opinions and not much feedback or only feedback from members she deems worthy. However, if flagpoles are important I guess you are in luck.
I am happy to say thst the school now houses a beautiful American flag flying on its pole! The school is a great community that taught my children well. The transition of a new principal will go well due in part to the strong parent participation. We will always be grateful and recommend our friends and others to this wonderful place!
Sending our children to this school has been the greatest gift we have ever given them. The teachers, staff, student body and parents are wonderful. This is a world-class Montessori school dedicated to the love for learning, taking care of the earth, and loving God.
For the first three years, we loved this school. Our child was learning, making friends, and the parent community is wonderful. However, in June 2009, the principal just announced (without notice to the parents), that she decided to switch teachers in primary -- and she still has not explained the reasons why. Then, in the fall of 2009, the principal announced that she was canceling the after-hours Spanish program -- again, without notice to the parents. It is very difficult to recommend St. Catherine;s at this time, because we are unsure what the principal will decide next and how it will affect the learning environment.
We have four children here and love the experience. The children are nutured by the staff and they truly have the passion to learn! I only wish that SCM had a more structured Catholic focus with more catechism taught and would consider adding a flag pole to display our beautiful American Flag. As a parent working with the PSO, I hope to see that goal accomplished in the very near future.
At an AMI school, the child is expected to engage in the materials by themselves with the teacher acting as the observer. The materials are considered inviting and, as such, should attract the attention of the child. If however, the child is not engaged in the material, redirection (verbal) is given. This is an AMI school. If the child is not engaging in the materials, this AMI school will not go beyond its ideaolgical limitations to engage the child. At an AMS school, the focus is on ensuring the engagement of the child. The teacher is an integral part of the learning process and adapts to the needs of the child to ensure the best possible result. Please be aware, this is not an AMS school.
Preaching the need for diversity and actually accepting diversity in the student population are two different things. The schools teaching population lacks significant diveresity. The treatment received by diverse students is questionable at best at this time. Leadership is lacking in this area. Until the school's leadership does more to diversify its teachers (not its assistants), live by the Christian teachings it promotes, and addresses teachers who do not engage children from diverse backgrounds, I cannot recommend this school. It must do more than pay lip service to Maria Montessori's philosophy and it must accept all children as children of God. I cannot say that it does so at this time.
I love this school and more importantly, my daughter loves it. The teachers, administration and staff genuinely care about the students and their success.
I would run out of space if I said everything that I like about this school. From the administration to the teachers to the parents and children. This school is exceptional. Big things and details... everything is given so much attention and care.
Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.
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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