Today was the last day of my son's first year at Steward. We are all sad. This has been his best year ever. He started this fall in the 6th grade and had we known how wonderful this school is, we would have started him in kindergarten. His self confidence went through the roof this year and this is thanks to all the wonderful people at Steward. Everyone is truly incredible at this school. Everyone I have met working here is passionate about their jobs and the children they teach. I feel so lucky to be a part of the Steward family.
Our Steward story began 9 years ago when we first stepped foot on campus. Although we had driven by the school hundreds of times in our daily comings and goings, we had never taken the time to take a closer look. The tour of the facilities knocked our socks off, but we were even more impressed by what we saw happening in the classrooms, studios and on the fields - true engagement. As you search for independent schools in the Richmond area Steward is a must see - WOW! Steward has been the perfect fit for all five of our children.
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.
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 School is by far the best independent school in the Richmond area. I the two years our daughter has attended she has been well cared for and the education revived has been bar none. Steward doesn't just have a strong integrated educational, social\emotional, language and arts curriculum but also, empowers children with pursuing their passion in life. The faculty has been absolutely fabulous toward our entire family and all staff and faculty knows our daughter by name! There has not been a single occasion in which we have questioned our decision to send our daughter to Steward!
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.