best school in san antonio if not texas, By far best for college prep. and getting you into ivys
I have 2 children at SMH and we have been there several years. First, let me start with the Middle School administration head....not impressed at all. She has no connection with the kids and disciplines very unfairly and it is obvious to all. Most of the MS teachers are passionate and awesome teachers although they pile on an outrageous amount of homework for 6-8 graders. On the Upper School...very rigorous curriculum and lots of homework every night and on weekends. Most teachers are great and always accessible to the students. Main feedback to give..not impressed with middle school ..would rather have just sent my kids starting at 9th grade. Also, not much of a family feel...seems like they are only concerned with how smart the kids are and how many they can get in to the top tier schools. Bottom line...good school but is an academic machine and you have to fit into that type of student or your child and your family will be very stressed out!
Our daughter started at SMH her freshman year. She has made great friends and her classes are challenging. The school has an eighth period where all the teachers are available. The educators are supportive, encouraging, and positive. The Head of School knows all the Upper School students names. She loves getting up in the morning and going to school. Fine Arts is a big deal at SMH.
The BEST school in SA, bar none! I just graduated, and in my 4 years (9-12) at SMH, I found the teachers wonderful (willing to work after school with students who care enough to go to them), the administration fine (if trying to please too many groups at once), and my fellow students outstanding. It's a trend among students to try to get high grades with little work, but teachers control this better here than anywhere else. Yes, 75% of the high schoolers have iPhones, and some kids can be snobby, but any kid can fit in as long as s/he is willing to learn a few social graces. I come from the lowest 2% of SMH incomes, but I have found a group of friends I've come to love (even though they live in the Dominion and drive audis and corvettes). I've learned a lot academically (going to Harvard in the fall) but I've also learned to appreciate what I do have in the face of my friends' financial superiority. Overall, SMH has given me more than I could ever have asked for in a high school experience. Note: Racial diversity is low. Ideological diversity is good. Whoever said AHHS is on par with SMH is flat-out lying. Keystone comes close, not TMI, not SACS, not any catholic school. Go Barons!
I went to Saint Mary's Hall several years back. Yes, the education is great and coursework is extremely challenging. However, the students and parents, as well as much of the administration have horrible character. In addition, people of low SES are looked down upon at this "elite" school, and I agree with a previous comment that the students have lived in a privileged bubble for too long (included myself until I had to transfer to a public high school because of lack of financial aid). I was lucky enough to have parents who worked overtime as waitstaff and bartenders just so I could go to this great school. Because of them, I received a wonderful education and have had the opportunity to continue my education beyond undergraduate college. Yet when they came to pick me up in their run-down car, other students would laugh and make fun, jokingly asking what it was that my parents do. When I went there, I would have said that it was great, and that the students were great (I had a great group of friends). But after having experienced other communities and schools, I would say that the families here soak in their privilege.
Until last year (2009-2010), the modern language department was great, this year the level leaves much to be desired. Their standards have been lowered, mainly due to some changes at upper level. It's starting to go downhill, hopefully they wake up and make the necessary changes to stop the problem. Also be aware that the middle school administration trustworthiness might not be as expected.
I am both a teacher at Saint Mary's Hall and a parent of a student. Despite the high tuition, I firmly believe that this wonderful school is worth every penny. My son is in the Lower School, and I have been so impressed with the caring attention of his teachers, the rigor of the curriculum, and the amazing opportunities for extra enrichment that you just can't get anywhere else. As a teacher in the high school here -- and a former college instructor--, I see my teenage students being remarkably well-prepared for college. Speaking as both teacher & parent, I know first hand that the administration and staff love the school and the kids. Although expensive, this is an ideal place for chidlren of all ages. If you want the best for your kids, this is probably it.
I have not been impressed with the St. Mary's Hall graduates. Please don't misunderstand, they are bright and capable, well-mannered to a degree, but are privileged and I have witnessed them place judgement too easily, particularly on those who are in a lower socio-economic bracket. Yes, they are great performers, but I have not been impressed with their character. It seems as if they lived lived in a affluent bubble for too long.
Horrible administration. Academics are comparable to Alamo Heights High School. WAAAYY OVERPRICED FOR WHAT THEY DELIVER. They have offices for free-lance tutors that are paid by parents, separate from tuition. These teachers at this high priced school don't have extra time to offer their students? Terrible.
SMH is an extremely challening,time-comsuming, and some times quite frustrating school. SMH offer a huge variety of programs and has some of the greatest teachers that give that extra push. The downside to everything is all of the homework we get and the extremely strict dress code (especially in MS w/ a new administration). typically it is easy to make friends but in some situtations students are very selective to whom they spend any of their time with.
We moved to SA from the Boston area where our kids attended private schools. Our biggest concern was the quality of schools. We have found SMH to be a truly exceptional school and recommend it to anyone in the area. The academic are rigorous. The teaching staff is remarkable with regards to their training and their commitment to their students is great. The students are a good mix. As it is a private school, it does skew to a more affluent and conservative group. But there really is a good mix of kids who have been quite warm and welcoming. My kids have made great friends. Please consider it!
Saint Mary's Hall of San Antonio began, over 100 years ago, as an Espicopal school. Today, SMH is a secular school serving students of all religious faiths, including Muslim and Hindu students. SMH has a beautiful campus that looks like a small college. The library and computer resources are exceptional. Classes are small. Students work very hard...perhaps too hard. A typical SMH middle school or high school student puts in 70 hours to 80 hours per week in classes, labs, homework, studying, and in activities such as theatre, speech, debate, or sports. Every student from 7th grade to 12th grade has the opportunity to be on an athletic team each semester, and the great majority chose to do so. Last year, 95% of the graduating class enrolled in college, and many were offered substantial scholarships. SMH grads do well in college because they have learned how to 'out study' most
SMH is an excellent school that has a first-class curriculum that is both challenging and timely. The educators truly care about their students and want them to succeed. As to the 'snooty' factor, one will find that anywhere. The 'special parking places' were purchased through an auction fundraiser called Passport which is held every three years. Overall, we do an outstanding job in preparing your child for college and for life.
I began my education at SMH when I was four and continued there until my freshman year when a difficult family situation forced me to switch to Reagan (public, NEISD). Honestly, I was so bored and unmotivated in even an acclaimed public school environment that my parents sent me right back to SMH a year after I left. The difference is HUGE: nowhere else do you get the sort of individual attention from instructors, the lifelong bonds with everyone in your class, or the challenging but engaging and genuinely interesting sort of work that SMH provides. Not only does the SMH student body have an insane amount of integrity (we leave our backpacks laying in the halls during lunch and no one steals anyone else's iPod), we also genuinely care about intelligence and actually commit ourself to our education because our teachers have demonstrated that it is both valuable and enjoyable.
I'm a senior at Saint Mary's Hall, and the six years that I've been there have been an experience. Not only did I receive a fantastic education in the humanities and sciences, but I also learned how to interact in a certain social setting. I understand that SMH may not be for everyone, but if you have the resources you should seriously consider investing in your child's future. The reaction to Saint Mary's Hall depends on when you attend; for example, middle school was probably not the most ideal time for me at SMH. In fact, I don't think middle school anywhere is easy to transition to, socially. Don't worry though--high school tempers the snobby attitude SMH kids are known for. It's still somewhat present though, honestly. As for sports and extracurriculars, the school leads nationally in it's Lacrosse and Tennis programs. I would go on, but there's a world limit.
I must say that SMH is a wonderful school with great opportunities. Yes it is true that this school is for the wealthier people. The people who attend this school aren't always 'snooty.' In this years 7th grade, there are only few whom appear as such to me. The food here is wonderful but they have changed it and it isn't as wonderful as before. The sports here are great but the only problem is the teams aren't great. This school was designed for high-performance of fine arts and acedemics which I believe that this school lives up to. But on not such a good note, this year we got a new head of middle school whom everyone seems to dislike including myself. She is changing the middle school, some not so good. This is the only reason I dislike SMH.
I'm a student at SMH, and have been since I was 3 years old. I'm a senior now, and all I can say is that this school has taught me so much, including amazing study habits. The teachers are, for the most part, wonderful. There are some drawbacks, mainly the incredibly heavy workload, but it's worth it in the end.
My son attended SMH for 2 years but we did not continue there mostly because of the high tuition. You can get the same (if not better) education for your child at other private schools in San Antonio. Please don't make your entire decision solely on the gorgeous campus and facilities. For the amount of money you pay it would seem the school would have a lower student/teacher ratio. Also, I agree w/other comments on here about the'snooty' factor. It is pathetic. Be prepared to be hounded for donations! It's relentless. My son did well with his teacher. He did well transitioning to a new school though and I see improvment in areas that he struggled w/ at SMH. It's hard to convince me there's anything special about this school besides it's brilliant campus and the status of attending. My advice...do your research and keep your eyes open wide.
I am not a parent i am a student and i just thought you should see things from a seventh graders point of view... i do not like saint mary's hall at all if i had any choice i would not be there. the girls are a big problem they are spoiled and are very rude to who ever isnt like them. they also have a tremendous homework...
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