We had heard so many great things about the school and were told over and over by current families that we would love it there; we certainly are in the minority because neither we, nor our kids, love it there.
The facilities are fabulous, but we find the academics to be average and the educational approach to be the same as any of the local public schools (e.g., lots of worksheets, an emphasis on giving the “right” answer, getting good grades, authoritarian means to try to control the children).
The small class sizes and character development specialist both sound like good ideas, but they are meaningless and ineffective. We were surprised that the teachers and administration are oblivious to the issues going on in some of the lower school classrooms (disruptive students who are distracting from the learning environment, lots of teasing and some behaviors that are correctly characterized as bullying).
I agree with one of the other reviewers who wrote that, if you live in an area with decent public schools, just send your children there and save your money.
My stance on homework aligns with current research: students in elementary school don't need to spend additional time doing homework after being in school for 7+ hours. The homework at Steward is comparable to homework in public school.
I am not sure how much true "bullying" occurs at Steward but I do know that faculty and staff are keenly aware of what is going on at school between peers and are spot on in calling attention to and rectifying social challenges at age appropriate levels. Whenever we have brought concerns to the school's attention, they have been receptive to hearing us and being part of the solution, whether in conversation with us or in more direct action.
Steward challenges all students regardless of learning styles. I like that my three children, with three different strengths in learning are challenged to think outside their comfort box and try different types of hands on learning and learning strategies to stretch their experience.
We have students in the Middle School and the Upper School. We have seen transition in leadership in both divisions over the years as well as the Head of School transition. The teams that lead this school are so strong. They are kind, compassionate, KNOW our children, lead their teachers and staff with such competence. We are so lucky to call Steward home.
I have two students at Steward - an 8th grader and a 12th grader, and we have been part of the Steward community for 3 years. Moving my son from a large public high school following his freshman year was the best move that we could have made. The public middle and high school that my sons previously attended have large classes. The teachers do not have the time to get to know your child, respond to student questions, or stay in contact with you. Everything revolves around "teaching to the test" and survival of the fittest. The guidance counselors we dealt with were completely out of touch with the students that were not part of the specialty center group.
Steward provides the opposite experience - teachers know your child and their friends, they pin-point issues quickly and address them and they are invested in the students as individuals. The only regret my husband and I have is that we did not send our children there earlier.
In today's world, the word bullying is tossed around too frequently, in my opinion. I think that some people believe everything is "Bullying" but most things are just kids being kids, not that it is right but it is an opportunity to for growth.