A few reasons why I love this school. The 1 :1 laptop program is great. As a STEM school, it sits above many schools in terms of the level of education. How do I know this? My kids have friends they spend time with that attend other Catholic schools. They have commented about how easy their work is, or that they (my kids) have already covered their friend's coursework at St. Monica. YES, there is homework. However the separation is in the preparation. At a recent high school open house we attended, the admissions counselor told my child that the students from St. Monica are the usually the most prepared for high school. My kids would like to attend Holy Names Academy or Lakeside. The amount of homework assigned at these high schools is in line with what St. Monica prepares them for. The teachers are flexible if communication lines are open. I am not Catholic, but I appreciate the level of religion the kids are exposed to. It IS A CATHOLIC school.
Our children compete at a high level, year round, in several sports (Soccer, gymnastics, Football and mountain biking) and we have never had a problem managing the homework load. Time management is a critical skill and St. Monica is preparing our children for High School.
We have been thrilled with St. Monica Parish School. All 3 of our children (lower elementary, elementary and middle school) are scoring above the 90% percentile in math, with no outside tutoring, due to the differentiated instruction employed at all grade levels. The teachers are wonderful and the classes small. The school uses a rigorous STEM + the Arts based curriculum with full time Spanish, Science, Art, PE and Music teachers on staff. In addition to the regular teachers, St. Monica employs a Reading and Math Specialist to work with all levels of learners, from the children that may need an extra challenge, to those that need a little extra help to keep up. The parent involvement is outstanding. It seems that everyone is helping out in some way, and happily. There is after school care available on regular and drop in basis. After school programs include robotics, Math Olympiads, global reading challenge, chess club, beginning and advanced band and CYO athletics. There is a real sense of community at St. Monica. Everyone is friendly and welcoming. I would highly recommend St. Monica! We are lucky to have Principal Wilson, she is an inspiring and caring leader that greets all the children by name. Our School population is about 50% Mercer Island families and the rest come from Seattle, Bellevue, Issaquah, Renton, Sammamish and Kirkland.
Way too much homework given and extremely inflexible about it. Despite trying to discuss alternative such as reading and math facts in place of their word searches and math sheets they would not budge.
Despite the claim of being a STEM school, the math program was extremely dysfunctional. Most students seem to be getting help from Sylvan or some other private math tutor in the younger elementary grades to actually learn math.
Teachers and principle both seem to subscribe to the idea that more homework equals better school. The homework however rarely was beneficial for my kids and when I tried to discuss this the teachers and staff were very inflexible.
The amount of homework was getting in the way of important family time which should be important to a school that values catholic beliefs, but got no relief when trying to work this out with the staff.