I was a student there from 1995 to 2003 and I loved St. Mary's. My sister and brother both went there as well and were in the class of 2009 and 2014. They hated it there and I can see why. My brother who was once very strong in his catholic beliefs saying he did not want to be Catholic anymore. His 7th grade year he endured bullying by the students and his 8th grade year he endured bullying by the teachers. I can see why all of the teachers that were there when I graduated left with the new administration. The principal is terrible. I had once thought my family would be going there for generations now I will never send my kids there. It is really sad what happened to a school I loved so much
We were not very happy with this school and I think the public should know before sending their children there. The administration seems to handle any kind of conflict poorly. Teachers are nice but they seem unhappy under the thumb of the current administration. Our son was very well behaved for a boy. He seemed to have developed behavioral issues and bad nerves as a result of the environment he was in. The school handles things in the classroom without considering changes in the children's lives and their home life. We were not happy with the way that they handled several issues, many had nothing to do with our children, during the four or five years that we were there. Our children are very happy at their new school. We were approached by their new teachers because they were both afraid to pick up a pencil without being told to. We also noticed that when we got some notebooks and journals back before we left they had not been graded or commented on. This was very upsetting to us as parents paying to go to a school.
In recent years The Catholic Church has lost it's way, St Mary's School is a prime example of the fall out, so called collateral damage. It is my understanding that several students have been pulled out of this school in recent years because of the continued trauma suffered at the hands of a bully teacher (grade 2). This is near and dear to me because it has happened to a member of my family. Yes, bullying affects the student's family too. For this reason I have chosen to come forward for the children with whom we entrust to this teacher, who chooses to misuse the inherent power that is part of her position. Parents, listen to your children when they explain a teacher making fun of them, an example of them, hurting their feelings, humiliating them. Our children are a precious commodity, our future... protect them. Sadly, children are in a vulnerable position when in an environment with a bullying teacher, ill equipped to fight back alone. Teachers and SMS community, I leave you with this to ponder in hope that like your religion, you might "live it" instead of preaching it. "You never know how far reaching something you say or do today will affect the lives of others tomorrow."
After having our children enrolled in the school for many years, I can honestly say that we were utterly dissatisfied. The reasons are endless, from the arbitrary mistreatment of their children (bordering on abusive) to the beaten down faculty and staff. Teachers leave each year in droves --- and families have followed suit. While the lower grades are better, it isn't until your children need to learn math at an advanced level that you realize they weren't even exposed to it in the lower grades. Overall, it is a sad excuse for a school that we entrusted with our children to learn good values as Catholics. They did not. They can recite prayers, sure...but what this school has really done is shaken my Catholic faith and my faith in those that should effect change in an environment that should exude joy each day. And many parents are delightful and kind and great role models - and that is why we stayed as long as we did. But what I have learned is that there are truly wonderful Catholic schools out there --- and yes, you have to pay more, but the reward is far greater than watching your child cry each night because of mistreatment. Leave for your child - you will be happy
My son and daughter have been at St. Mary's for several years, and we are enthusiastic supporters. It is a wonderful faith-filled, traditional (conservative) Catholic environment, that also offers the technology, resources, programs and activities that rival some of the better private schools in the area. The moral and character development that it offers is invaluable, especially in today's pop-culture. It is growing and maturing to be a hidden gem, that we strongly recommend.
My husband and I did a tour of the school this month, and we were not impressed. We spoke with the graduating class, and they said that their favorite part of coming to school was religion. When I asked them what their favorite class was, they said religion. When we walked around the school, I was particularly struck by how bored the older kids were. There was a line of kids entering their computer lab, and I could not picture a sadder bunch. They just seemed to be bored out of their mind. Younger kids' classes are also very large. Their math curriculum seems average, and their Spanish is taught by a non-native. One of the graduating class kids told me that she can't really speak Spanish after years of taking it at this school. Don't get me wrong, the staff is very nice, but compared to some other schools we have seen, this one seems just average.
We are so excited to be a part of the St. Mary's community. Our daughter is a 2008-2009 kindergartener. Everyone has been so kind and encouraging towards my child and our family. We feel so blessed to be a part of this wonderful Alexandria tradition.