This is an extraordinary school in a region with many excellent private and public schools. St. Anselm's stands out because it lives its mission. My sons were motivated and challenged to work hard, pursue their many interests, try new things, be kind, and, above all, serve others. You will not find faculty more trusting of and dedicated to its students. What a school!
Our son just graduated from 'The Abbey' and we could not have asked for a better school. He is very bright, but far from a genius. We moved him there in 6th grade because he was not challenged at his last school. St. Anselm's is certainly challenging and he has received a truly 1st class education in both the classics and STEM subjects. When he struggled in a subject, the teachers were always willing to help him during lunch/after school. My son was not a sporty kid but he found a home with the fencing team and also loved tech crew and singing with the a capella choir. He was a National Merit Scholar finalist (there were 4 in his class), he got into 12 / 13 colleges he applied to and was offered several very generous scholarships. Above all, his tight-knit class was full of extraordinary young men who will be friends for life. St Anselm's is a diverse school with one of the most caring communities I have ever come across. It was a second home to my son and his friends and with Bill Crittenberger at the helm, the school is going from strength to strength. This is a special place. It is not for every boy but if your son is bright or shows academic potential, look no further.
I am currently a student in the ninth grade of St. Anselm's Abbey School. Initially when I came in 6th grade, I had been forced to come by my parents even though most of my friends had gone to other schools. I quickly learned they has made a great decision. The teachers are deeply concerned with your success and you learn quite a lot. My classmates have never bullied me and a feel very comfortable in the school, and everyone knows my name. This is truly my second home. Contrary to some stories I have heard, besides from a few students who have since left the school, there is no culture of racism and everyone is quite friendly (obviously some exceptions). Pros: Small class size, GREAT teachers, inability of being lost in the crowd If you/ your son wants/needs a great rigorous education and wants a balanced liberal arts education, this is most certainly the school for you, (regardless of religion). Cons: If you are a very good athlete, the league competition in the PVAC may be too easy. If you are a very one dimensional student this is not the school for you. If you are not able to handle large amounts of homework, this is also not the school for you.
My experience here has been absolutely horrible!!! There's no compassion from or rationalizing with the Head of the Middle School. He seems to take great pleasue in bullying the middle school students, and expects parents to accept this poor behavior.
I am a student of Saint Anselm's, and have been there since 6th grade. I have seen numerous reviews citing terrible behavior of students, however, as a rising senior, I feel I am qualified to make a statement of the behavior of the students, and the nature of the student body. The classes are extremely rough for the first few years, as the admissions process seems to practically be 6th through 8th grades, with all behavior and grades culminating in either the student continuing to attend, or leaving for a different school. Due to this, my years in 6th, 7th, and 8th grades were fairly tough on me due to other students, who have either cleaned up their act, or not been "invited to return". The result of this is that by 9th and 10th grades, a solid, tight-knit class has been formed, after careful pruning, and resulting in a great class as a whole. There are always exceptions to this, with some "bad" students barely scraping by, either behaviorally or grade-wise, but my experience has been largely positive, and extremely helpful for my development. I was one of those "excluded" for a while, but I found my niche, and have become quite happy as head of tech crew, model UN, etc.
Our son entered St. Anselm's in 6th grade - we began looking at St. Anselm's in an attempt to keep his interest in school. Our son is bright - not a brainiac by any stretch; very focussed on athletics and we were concerned that his previous school could not keep him engaged in academics. From the moment we stepped foot onto the campus at an open house, as parents, we were in awe. The dedication and intelligence of the faculty was overwhelming. Their clear dedication to the students, was evident. But most importantly, the spiritual presence was everywhere - in the sereneness of the campus, in the welcoming nature of the monks, in the religious icons that pepper the school - but mostly in the faces of the boys who were giving tours and talking about their school. The passion both for learning and for the value that the students placed on their education was impressive. And yet, every door was held for us; every handshake from a student was firm with eye contact that I rarely experienced speaking with a 12 year old. And now, after being a part of the Abbey, we see the transformation of our son happening right before our eyes. We are so blessed to be a part of this community!
The Abbey is, without a doubt, the best school in the DC metro area IF: 1) your son has intellectual curiousity and a love of learning. Although it has a reputation as a school for brainiacs, it has an excellent athletics program (baseball, soccer, lacrosse, cross-country) where all students are able to participate. The Monks, who are ever present, create an atmosphere of tranquility in keeping with the school's moto of "Pax in Sapientia" (Peace in Understanding). The culmination of my son's seven years at the Abbey was a young man who I admired for his intelligence, work ethic, empathy, selflessness, and humility. Thank you Abbey!
My son is in his 2nd year at the Abbey and we continue to be impressed. His teachers are great - he actually likes to go to school b/c it is interesting. He has made great friends and enjoys the camaraderie of an all boys school. He is growing academically and socially and we couldn't be more pleased.