Teachers push a curriculum that is way too hard for kids to actually understand, and the students are spoiled rich brats, and they're bullies. Don't send your kid here. Its a bad school inside.
St Paul's Academy has been an excellent school for my kids. We have been part of the lower school, the junior high, and the high school. At each grade level we found teachers and administrators who were interested in my children as individuals and who worked to stimulate the most growth and development my children were capable of. Small class sizes are used to great benefit at St Paul's. The school is well supported financially by the families that attend and the larger Whatcom community. The opportunities for sports and extracurricular activities are somewhat different because of the smaller size, but I think my children have had more opportunities to participate (as "average" kids, they aren't sports stars!) than they would have at other schools.
Bellingham is so fortunate to have St. Paul's Academy! I am grateful to be able to send my children (ages 10 and 12) to St. Paul's for many reasons, but most important to me is the unwavering support and guidance they receive from the teachers, administrators, students, and other parents. St. Paul's is a place where my kids are celebrated and supported for their individuality. This atmosphere allows them to think creatively and to explore and express their ideas and thoughts. Because of the small class size the teachers are able to really know my children and to support their learning in a unique and individual way. The teachers recognize their particular strengths and are also able to better guide them in areas of weakness. My oldest, just completed 6th grade. Her teachers were universally full of passion for the subjects they taught and have sparked in her an even greater thirst for knowledge and learning. She participated in Middle School sports (Tennis, Basketball, Volleyball, Track and Field) and was compassionately mentored by 7th and 8th grade teammates (and coaches) in a way that positively impacted her self-confidence and enabled her to grow. We are very grateful!
Our family has been involved with St. Paul's for 13 consecutive years now and we still love it! We have found paying tuition to be a financial strain, some years more than others, but have continued to make the commitment to stay because we feel it is giving our kids the best educational cornerstone possible. We have told our three kids that we will not be funding their college tuition, and feel that the foundation that they have been given at SPA will give them the ability to study hard in high school, achieve good grades/SAT scores and earn scholarships. We love the small class sizes, the wonderful teachers and staff and the ability to stay in close communication with the people/staff who are teaching our children.
I love this school. My children didn't go to SPA, but I often wonder what it would have been like for them to attend school in such a loving, welcoming environment that fosters individualized education and community service. The students, staff, and parents are all part of a great whole that creates a positive, uplifting experience for those involved. I would wish this kind of schooling for every child.
My older son has absolutely loved SPA! He has had wonderfully engaged teachers which in turn has made him an eager student. The small class sizes are what original attracted us, but the school has offered us more than just that. Classroom/teacher collaborations, guest art teachers, a new strong music program for the intermediate grades, have create a stronger school program. We have had setbacks with a continuous change in leadership, but that seems to have stopped and a strong School Head has emerged and I am sure the rest will start to fall into place.
Our family is in our 7th year with St. Paul's Academy. Our daughter started with 3 Year Old preschool and is now in 4th grade. She is extremely happy at St. Paul's Academy. She loves the small class size and that each person in her grade is a friend. She especially enjoys the specialty programs offered at SPA (Spanish is her favorite) and the experiential field trips. As parents, we appreciate the attention our daughter and all students receive from the teachers and administration. Each student's needs are assessed and addressed and then parents, teachers, and staff work together as a team. The strength of the diversity at St. Paul's Academy is what really sets it apart from other schools in the Bellingham area. The families at the school come from several different ethnic and/or religious backgrounds. Every faith (or non-faith) is welcome and celebrated. In fact, it enriches the lives of the students learning the different customs and traditions of others.
We have had our oldest daughter at Saint Paul's Academy in Bellingham, WA for five years now. We intend to send our young son there as well. I'm not sure I could even imagine a better place to send our daughter. The instruction is excellent, the parental involvement is truly exceptional, the small class size and individual instruction is truly a motivating factor in our re-enrollment each year. The tuition, which is about 1/3 the cost of a comparable school in Seattle or San Francisco, is low enough that this could be a clear reason to relocate to the Columbia neighborhood in Bellingham, WA. Best of all, the student body, staff, and parents create a truly friendly, accessible community that welcomes all different types of parental participation. So many problems in a parent's life are solved when they realize they are sending their children to a safe, well-administrated environment with truly caring teachers and a gentle, well-behaved student body. The fact that the school is located in an urban neighborhood close to our residence that we can walk to has made our educational experience here remarkable.
Our daughter is in her 4th year at St. Paul's and we are extremely happy with the school. We transferred her from a nearby public school district (which is ranked as one of the highest in the area) after becoming dissatisfied from an academic standpoint (the math and chess team trophies in the lobby of St. Paul's said a lot about the importance of academics at the school). The small class sizes are a tremendous "plus" for the school. Our daughter is doing work in math and Spanish that is two grade levels above the standard public school curriculum. In addition, the music, art and literature/writing programs are exceptional. One last important comment: we have been uniformly happy with the faculty - in addition to being excellent teachers, they get much more time to actually teach since small class sizes translate to (1) more one-on-one time with students and (2) few/no discipline issues in the classroom.
The small class sizes and individualized attention brought us to St. Paul's 4 years ago. We have been so happy with all of their teachers, including; PE, Spanish, and Music. I also appreciate the moral values that are taught in Chapel. The children who attend the school respect each other, and work together nicely. There is no perfect school, but I feel the needs of my children have been met, and the teachers work as a team with the parents to help make that happen. It is a wonderful learning environment for the whole child, not just academically. We look forward to many more years as Knights at SPA!
I cannot disagree with the previous post strongly enough. I'm not sure of the relationship the person has with the school, but my experience has been that every staff member is professional and does their best to serve the kids at St. Paul's. My children have attended St. Paul's for three years and we have all been very happy there. Yes it's a struggle for us financially, but it's an easy decision - worth every penny!
My child has attended SPA for the past seven years. Yeah, there has been some issues over the years, but nothing out of the ordinary. I feel my child is getting a superior education, well worth the money spent. I am a former teacher and I feel the school's curriculum is very good. The teachers, administration & staff are wonderful. A great college prep school.
SPA offers a breath of fresh air after spending time in the public system. My child loves to go to school and is being challenged. The teachers are creative, weaving various subjects together, and go out of their way in support of the students. SPA offers a wonderful and supportive learning community in which my child is thriving academically & socially. And, yes, the class sizes are small.
Curriculum is so-so but perhaps best in this community, small class sizes but agree with previous reviewers; lack of challenge and traditional approach.
Tried SPA this year. Found the curriculum set to maximize to "state norms", lacking individual attention and creativity. The math curriculum was ineffectual at meeting our children's need for a higher level of math instruction. Curriculum was lacking in both math and sciences. Our daughter experienced early peer issues that we did not feel the teacher was very engaged in facilitating resolution. Traditional education approach; oublic school education at private school prices. Small class size is the only variable different from public. When we opted to exit before the end of the school year, the administration was only concerned with our payments and did not even question our motives to leave.
This is our 6th year at St. Pauls. It is a good fit for our child and our family. We are going through a transitional period and the parents who are involved are very dedicated to supporting our kids, the mission of the school and our faculty. Without exception, our teachers are incredible! Small class sizes are important to us and we get that at St. Paul's. Any social problems (dare I say bullying?) are dealt with immediately in a constructive manner...it's just not allowed. I agree with the comments below regarding the payment of tuition for a full year even if the school is not a good fit. I think this policy needs revisiting...and I'm sure it could be revisited if people complain about it enough. St. Paul's really makes a point to change things that aren't working...and we, as parents, get to voice our opinion. No school is perfect - St. Pauls is perfect for our family...that's what matters to us.
I agree with a previous parent's review. Being made to pay for a whole years tuition, when a child is a poor fit for this school, is a true hardship on a family and does not represent true christian values and compassion toward others. The head of the school should discuss this with the parents and help in making a decision best for the individual child. By the way - my child has excelled in Public School since leaving St. Paul.
I have not been impressed with public school options in Washington State, or the other local private schools, so we enrolled our daughter at St. Paul's--this is now her second year. It is a solid academic program and the most "college prep" of any school in the county. Great teachers so far, parents are so involved it is a little scary. There has been some turmoil at the top dealing with funding of the high school, but the dust seems to have settled on that. I would definitely recommend this school to other parents.
St. Paul's is a great school! For the first time, my child is being challenged academically. Teachers are superior - caring and competent. The principal only hires the best. Class sizes are low and teachers meet the academic needs of students.
Our Daughter started at SPA this year and we love it. She is being challenged academically in new ways and is loving being part of a small dynamic environment. I searched high and low for a school for my child and feel that St Paul's is the perfect place for any student looking for small classes, involved teachers and parents and a strong academic program. I disagree with the previous reviewer's post about similarity to public school - it is head and shoulders above the PS program in Bellingham in my opinion.
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