When our family was searching for a private school in the area we really appreciated the St. Stephen s campus and how it translated to opportunity for our kids. It s a vast and beautiful campus, with tons of trees, a nature trail, a garden and just lots of outdoor space for eating lunch and playing. They also have a field for playing sports, and a gym with all the equipment for a well-rounded P.E. curriculum. And honestly, that was the ultimate determinant for our family. We wanted a smaller private school education, but we wanted our kids to have access to a real P.E. program like we had growing up with the fun competitive games, learning about winning and losing, sportsmanship, and beginning fundamentals of the sports that they may choose to play as they get older. Most of the other area private school alternatives just didn t compare with what St. Stephen s offered in terms of facilities and having a dedicated P.E. teacher and curriculum. And they have P.E. every day of the week, which is hard to find in any setting these days. This was something from our childhood we wanted our children to experience, and they get to at St. Stephen s.
I've had a child at the school now for three years and he has grown so much - socially and academically. My second child started this year and she has quickly developed a curiosity and love for learning that is beyond any of my expectations. Having them in a safe and loving environment - especially in these early years - is very important to us, and St. Stephen's has been the right choice for our family.
The school has declined. The new head master has done some very questionable things. The best teachers in the school are now all gone! We finally had to take our son out once classes were blended. It's sad. It once was a great school. ***** I find it strange that the last 6 raving reviews a were all placed on Aug 1 and 2! Seems very unlikely that 6 parents all decided to post a review on those 2 days. Seems more likely that the staff or same person wrote all 6. Very dishonest for a Christian school! ******
This is my daughter's third year at this school. She loves it, and has thrived here academically and socially. Her standardized test scores are great. It is the perfect balance of high educational expectations and a cherished childhood.
I am shocked at some of these reviews. My son came to SSES last year and we saw a total transformation. We live over 30 mins. away and I gratefully and happily drive my son to & from school here at 92 miles a day total! (23 miles one way x 4) That is testament enough right there!) We live in Austin 2 blocks from an exemplary school and very close to several other private schools & we choose SSES. Being in an environment that is kind, loving & enriching has benefited him greatly on every level. In first grade he read at a 3rd grade level, does math on his grade level & while is a super bright & "all boy" child, he had a hard time staying in his seat! In public school they just sent all his work home incomplete and seemed to care less whether he learned anything or not. SSES has accomodated us on every level, challenging him where he needed to be challenged, patiently and lovingly working with him where he needed it and most importantly viewing him as a whole person and finding ways to facilitate an environment for him (and all the children) in the best way for the child. Realizing all children learn differently and excel in different areas, SSES really focuses on the whole child.
In response to the comments about staff changes, they are eminent in any organization. St. Stephen s has been blessed with many excellent educators through the years, and many children have benefit. Teachers are people, too, and sometimes decide they want to move on to pursue other endeavors, like a few of the beloved teachers this past year. Some staff changes are simply driven by the enrollment and naturally the School must be flexible and responsible with its planning. The veteran teacher mentioned in a recent previous comment was a part-time teacher by choice. When enrollment drove the need to reevaluate the staffing for the PreK class, it was determined that it needed a full-time teacher. This teacher did not want to move forward in a full-time capacity (and deservedly so she made this decision, she put in over 30 years and earned a little free time for herself!). However, this meant the school must find a teacher that could fill a full-time role. To clarify also, the teacher chosen is NOT a first year teacher. There are other exciting staff additions for the upcoming school year including, one, most recently name Teacher of the Year from her former elementary school!
It should be noted that a few of the recent complaints contain some inaccuracies. Combining (or blending) classes was a practice put in place before the current Head of School, but regardless is a common practice for many smaller independent schools; keep in mind there are always pros and cons for any learning environment. As for teachers' schedules, those who are core classroom teachers and assistants are naturally full-time, or work part-time on their own accord. Those who teach Specials work on a part-time basis according to their teaching schedule. It's that simple. In response to "declining academics," it's not accurate to associate this opinion as a direct result of the current Head of School. In fact, it's the current Head who is doing the reevaluating and improving of programs as needed to assure St. Stephen's continues to offer a rigorous curriculum and exceptional over-all program. It's also worth noting that, under the current Head of School, fall enrollment has actually increased from year-to-year for the first time in about 10 years.
The school has declined in the past couple years and had to lower tuition to attract more children. The Headmistress is not approachable and rude. Academically, the were behind in math and we had to seek additional tutoring to catch my child up and enter another private school.
My child attended this school for over 3 years. Bitter disappointment. We watched enrollment go from 200+ to under 50. Of the 3 headmasters, the current woman is the absolute worst. Combining grades, great teachers moved to part-time and sharply declining academics lead us to move to another school. Only after we moved, did I realize how truly lacking St. Stephen's was in ALL areas. It is sustained only by the parish church and people who live in such a rural area that they have no other viable options except public school. It's been a very sad decline and the school should have closed it's doors years ago when Headmaster Stark left.
I agree with the parent who said the school has declined. Over the last couple years they have made detrimental changes to the school. The older, more senior staff has one by one been picked off and let go. The wonderful, dedicated and knowledgeable teachers that made this school special are now ALL gone. These older reviews were speaking about teachers and staff that are no longer there! I also just learned they let go one of the most senior teachers in the school and replaced her with a 1st year teacher. She was the beloved PreK 3 teacher for as long as I can remember. She had over 30 years experience with special ed and mainstream students. Our daughter was in her class and she asked me to have her sight checked. I did and the dr said she passed. The teacher suggested I get a 2nd opinion. I took her to a specialist and turns out she has SEVERE myopia! She caught what our Dr. missed. You don't come across teachers like her everyday. How sad they couldn't see what they had! The school's new administration is its own worst enemy. They're creating a shell of what SS once was. At one time I had raved about and recommended St. Stephens to all my friends. But no longer!
Our experience at SSES has been excellent over the past 5 years. My children are excelling academically in a nurturing environment. The grade blends have allowed them to expand their academic capabilities beyond their particular grade levels farther than what could have been available in public schools. Tuition rates are very competitive and reasonable. Parental involvement is encouraged and readily included. Teachers really listen to parents here. Language skills, math and science are emphasized, and go beyond teaching to any state test. Art, technology and music programs are top notch. The facilities are tremendous - over 50 acres - with the chance to grow spritually, as well as academically. Thanks to SSES, my children think it is fun to learn. No doubt a better alternative.
This is a unique and outstanding little hill country school. The caring and the smiles that you get here are contagious. The campus is quaint and beautiful. The focus is on building the kids mind, body and spirit. The turmoil that yielded the previous poor review has played itself out and the new head of school is a vibrant and accomplished person. I would base the decline in enrollment on a poor economy and complacency in previous years on recruitment. The school is in rebuilding mode. The new iPad tech program, daily art and music, outdoor learning, individual focus, morning chapel, and bright smiling polite kids are among other things that you will not find so readily at public school. The price of the education you get here is reasonable and they also offer scholarship and need based financial aid that can make this school a great value for anyone.
Don't put your children in this school! It has declined drastically from the nice school it once was. Academics are dismal. Their practice of combining multiple grade levels in one class undermines students' opportunities to excel & was done not for the sake of educational objectives, but to keep enough students in each class so they could continue to run. We have watched enrollment plummet the last few years - a clue they aren't doing things right. The primary goal seems to be to stay open even if it means providing a poor quality education. The best grade-level teachers are either gone or are leaving this year. The school opted not to replace the former Science & Math teacher who was great. The replacement for another outgoing teacher seems to be a very poor choice. Parents have told us their children are way behind grade-level standards of other schools. They found this out when they sought transfers. There are also no services or support for children with learning challenges. Your children will have better opportunities, resources & receive a higher quality education in public schools. If you are set on private ed. - look elsewhere. We are relieved to be leaving!
I love the well rounded education my children are receiving at St. Stephen's Episcopal. I know that they are always in a safe environment where they feel comfortable. SSES is a good school with core values that the entire staff shares. It gives its students excellent resources and lets them achieve to their full potential. My kids enjoy and look forward to going to school, becuase the teachers come to school fired up to teach and innovate. What's not to love about SSES!
St. Stephen's is a wonderful school. They have always been extremely responsive to our needs, and have truely caring teachers and staff. The teachers are respectful of the students and the students return that gift ten-fold.
My grandson has attended SSES since he was two. It is a safe and loving environment where both his body and mind are challenged daily. Great school!
As a member of the administrative staff I can attest that parents can not possibly find ANYWHERE a faculty more committed to providing students a safe, loving, nurturing environment that is both academically and physically stimulating; and the campus is absolutely beautiful. Visit once and you'll be ready to apply for admission.
Excellent school, sadly the middle school is closing next year, so it will be PK~5... The headmaster next year will be Samuel Sockwell.
I have had children at St. Stephen's since 2002. This school is excellent at bringing out each child's individual and unique gift in a great setting. Your children will be 'known' from day one. They recently (last 2 yrs) adopted new Language Arts, Math, and Science curriculum and are now focused on alignment.
I have had children at this school for 11 years and would be glad to help anyone who may have questions.
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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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