This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
The Steward School5
Posted March 27, 2015
- a parent
Enrolling our son at The Steward School is hands down the best decision we have ever made for him. He is happy, thriving, and loves going off to school each day. The small class sizes (13-14 per 2nd grade class) and nurturing environment have instilled a sense of confidence in our child, and he is simultaneously being challenged at an appropriate level. We looked at many schools before deciding on Steward, and can honestly say that no school in town -- public or private -- could be doing more for him. Happy child, happy parents.
I attended Steward from 6th to 12th grade. Steward prepared me for college in many different aspects - public speaking, writing, group projects, etc. Steward's classrooms are small which allowed me grow individually as a student. Whether it was reading out loud, forming relationships with my peers and teachers, asking for help, or participating in group discussions, Steward helped me build confidence in these aspects of a classroom. When I attended a large college, I knew that I would be able to succeed because of the preparation I received as a Steward student.
I attended Steward in 1998 as a sophomore. It was not easy to make friends. The children were very judgmental. They seemed to have no idea that a world existed outside of their social groups. They were all quite wealthy and unable to fathom that a person could live without heated floors and in ground swimming pools. These kids would not have been able to make it in the real world without help from their parents. There was NO diversity here. Everyone looks the same, everyone dresses the same. I was given detention (for wearing a t-shirt and jeans) on a day that fell on a holiday for my religion. I explained that to the teacher, who told me there were no exceptions. My mother had to call the school to get the detention moved. Even with only a handful of children in a class, the teachers were still unable to communicate effectively. The children did not work hard or study hard. The teachers did not grade us based on our actual work, because if they had everyone would have failed, because no one tried. They hardly ever handed out a grade below a "C." I'm sure that's directly related to the high tuition cost. .
Steward is a wonderful option for our two children. The teachers know our children and challenge them accordingly. The kids are exposed to many opportunities for engagement-- allowing them to discover their interests and talents. Steward is not a one size fits all environment, which will continue to allow our children to grow and evolve.
Steward offers small class sizes and a strong arts program. This is the only benefit the school maintains over a decent public education. Academically, at least as to the lower school, it is average. It has no core writing or reading program, no social-emotional curriculum, and often teachers use basal text learning. Complacency and lack of a creative curriculum are pervasive. For the cost to send our kids there, I expected far more. Unfortunately, I don't think either the school or other parents realize how average the academic rigor is at the school. The lack of leadership at the lower school is also palpable.
We love Steward, and have two children in Lower School today. The care they receive, the high level of teachers (My kids' Reading and Math just keep getting better!) are what make it stand out. We are really impressed with the focus on character and sportsmanship. Even at ages 7 and 9, our kids (one boy and one girl) have come home with some life lessons I sure could have used at their age. How they do that with all the classes and extras is hard to tell. We're big supporters (as I suppose you can tell). If there was one improvement, it might be to slow down a bit, and let the children not try to "experience" absolutely everything. I think we're different as parents, asking for that instead of running around trying to do it all. But my wife and I feel there's more to life than every possible sport and musical concert. At least they have an out door ecology center alongside the sports fields!
My years at Steward were some of the best in my life. It allowed me to fully develop during my most formative years and I made some of the best friends I have. Even as an Indian kid, I found my place within the school and my teachers were amazingly supportive and I felt loved and at home. Even now that I am at Maggie Walker, I feel that Steward is my home and I have a Spartan family. Coming from a former student, if you are looking to send your child to a private school in the Richmond area, you should choose Steward. I will always feel at home there and I know your child will too.
The only thing this school has going for it is the classroom sizes, the kids, and the parents. The teachers are, mostly, public school rejects; most of them are subpar. If you live in a great neighbourhood on the west of either Henrico or Chesterfield (Cosby, Midlothian, Godwin, Deep Run, or Freeman), save your money and send your kids to public school. Use the money to travel during the summer. If your kids don't end up in one of those free public high schools, home school them. It'll beat this educational facility.
I LOVE my new school so much more than anything! I have met so many friends here. I used to attend a public school in Henrico County, and I am so glad I made the switch to this school. Everyone was very welcoming, and there were lots of new students attending also. I am in 6th grade, and there is nothing I complain on.