Nativity Catholic School provides a Christ-centered learning environment that fosters strong Christian virtues focused on cultivating the full potential of each child. It’s gives students increasing levels of responsibility and leadership within the school, culminating in Student Council leadership roles. Middle school students learn to lead by example and initiative.
Nativity is a fantastic school. I have two children (one in elementary and another in middle school) who are thriving in the school. The staff is awesome and understanding; the principle and administration are available at all times and very accommodating. Some of the feedback about students leaving in 5th grade negates to mention that Nativity is surrounded by some of the best middle and high schools in Fairfax County. As such, families have lots of choices to pick from, not to mention, save on finances (private tuition is expensive!). Nativity offers 6th, 7th and 8th graders a High School preparatory program based on individual academic excellence. My son has benefited greatly from small class sizes in middle school – I consider it a big strength of the school because it allows for a customized curricula for the students and maximizes there educational experience and developmental growth. The science program is very much hand-on and mirrors what kids will experience in high school. The elementary school is second to none. Nativity was a great decision for our family.
7 students graduated from 8th grade in 2014. 14 students are registered for 8th grade in 2015 although only 11 are expected to return. There are no electives in Middle School. Physical education is once/week from 1-8th grades. PE instruction is poor. A new gymnasium will not solve the problem. Music is taught by a preschool teacher, even for Middle School students. Technology instruction is limited to keyboarding or basic applications, also in Middle School. Art is torturous with a disdainful and angry art teacher due to return next year. Note taking is not taught in this school in any grade level and particularly concerning, in Middle School. Students are expected to know how to take notes, though they have never been taught directly or within curriculums like Social Studies. Middle School teachers are not state certified in English, Mathematics or Spanish. Other Middle School teachers are certified to 6th grade, though it is unknown whether their certifications have been kept current with state standards. No Middle School teacher has Middle School certification in any subject area, nor other needed professional teacher skills and knowledge of practice. Teachers in Middle School are disdainful of students and parents. There are excellent after school activities provided by invested parents. Middle School registration drops significantly in fifth grade as parents explore other Catholic or public school options. There is a very concerning problem with respect for student and family confidentiality due to discussion among and between staff and other parents, including the principal and admissions director.
Active duty Army, our children have attended parochial, public/gifted, & DoDDS, (12 diff schools), from preschool-HS. Recently PCSing from Germany, we attribute our boys positive academic experience to what a special place Nativity school is. Countering concerns in other reviews: It is common in private schools to move kids into 7&8 public middle schools for easier transition into public HS because of $. Also, be aware of helicopter parents in all NOVA! Cossetting parents try to control the Nativity principal & teachers (All which are certified w/ MA) & think their children can do no wrong. When they don't get their way, spread gossip, trying to undermine the school. Thankfully, Ms. Kelly does not give into threats, takes concerns to heart, & settles issues in a fair manner, both for students and her staff. As a result, many of these cosseting parents have left- Thank God! Lastly, I want to emphasis the Middle School Team is SUPERB! My 8th grader will be graduating w/ HS Alg & Geo, & Spanish I. Also, science program exceeds the gifted program in the Fairfax public schools & why we chose Nativity over the GE in public schools. Most impt, my sons love Nativity- can be themselves!
The preschool at Nativity is outstanding. Early elementary is strong. Upper elementary and Middle School need work. Families begin to leave in 5th grade. What we need at Nativity is good communication since at present there is no forum for discussion between parents and administration. Bi-annual 'Town Hall' meetings would be helpful. Meetings in October and a second meeting in February to discuss areas of strength and growth would help. Questions/concerns could be prepared & reviewed in advance, an agenda set & solutions discussed in open & transparent communication. Meetings should be grouped (K-2, 3-5 and 6-8) in order to best address topics pertinent to the grade levels. The handbook should include a section for parent expectations of the school (professional conferences, responsive classrooms etc.). There are outstanding STEM opportunities (robotics, math and chess clubs). It should be clear that these are after school and wknd activities entirely initiated & supported by dedicated parents. Without parents the programs would not exist. Caution should be taken describing others as spiteful. As parents, we are concerned about our children, naturally.
I don't believe some of the negative reviews are based out of spite, but concern. The low student numbers in the upper grades are very disturbing. The mixed level of teacher certification (state certification, not VCEA) is a cause for concern. We will be leaving Nativity after this year because we feel it is not an academically challenging school, while it is a mostly friendly environment. Others may disagree, Though it was selected as a "Blue RIbbon" school in 2008, it has not received that distinction in subsequent cycles. That selection was 6 years ago. A few of the current teachers are excellent and dedicated, while many seem simply under-qualified in both credentials and in practice. Note: The pre-school program is probably the best in NoVA. So, I would not tell prospective parents not to enroll their children there, but would encourage them to ask hard questions about why many students are leaving well before 8th grade. Ask about specific teachers your children will have. Ask about specific testing and grading methods and ask a lot of questions about gifted and/or special needs programs, if those are a concern. Everyone can make up their own mind.
This is our first year at Nativity and I am pleased we chose this school. My son has adjusted well and loves coming to school. Nativity cultivates confidence, fosters leadership and responsibility rooted in the Catholic values of faith, hope, and love. It s a safe and supportive learning environment enforcing mutual respect among students, faculty, and the administration. The teachers I ve interacted have all been responsive and kind. My son s teacher is simply phenomenal! She has been very responsive to our inquiries and requests. She s simply a great teacher, I can t say enough about her. The school offers rigorous academics and appreciates all learners. The school administration addresses concerns quickly. It s a wonderful caring and nurturing community that values the uniqueness of each student within a truly supportive environment. I can t wait for my younger son to join Kindergarten in the fall.
I respect free discourse. However, I am wondering if some of these negative reviews are simply out of spite. My family has been very involved in this school for many years, and we have seen an increase in the number of children enrolling in the school, the teachers work very well together and have shared learning communities. My children have all gone through this school and outperformed their peers from other schools in high school. The principle is very responsive to parent concerns. This is a fully accredited and a National Blue Ribbon School of academic excellence with advanced middle school math programs including Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Geometry. It has rich and rigorous STREAM learning, a robotics program, chess club, X-STEM math tutoring, and sets high expectations for student participation. The small class sizes in middle school are a big strength, together with a flexible program that allows for the students to maximize their educational experience and developmental growth.