I have been at this school for two years and so far have had a wonderful experience. The security of the school is one of the best aspects. The school is locked and there are cameras on the door which is monitored by office staff. Volunteers submit background checks and have to go through a mandatory training. Anyone who enters the school outside of pick-up time has to sign in and at pick up time the children are released from the teacher directly to the parent or guardian.
As a Catholic school the students are diverse including recent immigrants. There is tuition assistance and the student body represents a range of socio-economic backgrounds. There is an interaction between school and the community through food drives, collections, and clean ups. The children also help in the cafeteria serving and cleaning reinforcing social responsibility.
The academics are strong and always improving now with a recent addition of a STEM lab. If a child excels in a particular subject the teachers are able to modify the curriculum to their needs. The early learners use the well regarded Handwriting Without Tears and GO Math. There is also a teacher who offers additional support to anyone who is not on grade level. The school hosts a variety of clubs such as coding, Lego, chess, robotics, sewing, girl scouts, and sports through CYO. There is a drama department that has a very impressive annual production. The school offers before and after care for a very reasonable price.
There is a real strong sense of community that is fostered by the school starting from the beginning of the day when the students assemble for morning meeting where they say pledge and a prayer. A significant percentage of the students are not Catholic and I have not yet heard of any conflict. The teachers communicate through class pages online, email, and make themselves available to meet one on one. Teachers are visible every morning at pick-up and drop-off. The school also has a newsletter that regularly updates the community on upcoming events as well as a FB page.
I feel very lucky to be a parent at the school- it is more than what I wanted for my children.
My children have been overwhelmingly happy at the school, with great learning experiences and just an overall good time. The academics are great, and my children love their peers, but however, there is one large problem that can hopefully be resolved. The principal of 3 years, Matt Eisenhauer, is a horrible disappointment. He is unceasingly rude to the children and parents, and my child has complained about the way he has treated the community. Again, the school is fantastic, we just wish that the board had hired a more capable principal.
We have had positive experiences with the school. Most of the middle school teachers who have been there for many years are truely dedicated to imparting strong academic and moral foundations toward the kids. As experienced teachers they are able to give constructive feedback and have high expectations of each student. Their exuberance for their respective subject areas is such a delight to see and does inspire the kids. When we have had any concerns, the teachers and the principal have been promt about meeting and following up on issues. Both our kids love having the Sisters teach religious education and for that we are forever thankful!! The community at St.Al's is welcoming and energetic. There are countless opportunities for parents to get involved both during and after school to further enhance a family's experience at St.Als.
This is our fifth year at St. Alphonsus. Most important to us is that our children feel safe, respected, and happy and St. Al's delivers in every area. The teachers are excited to see the kids in the morning and the friends they have made are great kids from good families. My husband and I truly value the community that St. Al's has brought into our lives. We look forward to the School events like Bingo and the Annual Gala Auction - as well as all the parties that come after!
We have found it very easy to be involved in School activities and volunteer work - despite the fact that we are working parents. There are many volunteer opportunities that occur outside of the school day. I can't recommend this school enough, a solid choice both academically and socially.
The school is a fantastic community for children to be able to express themselves without fear and to be educated by great teachers who are skilled at what they do and care for each child.
St Als is a great place for any family to send their child to school. It is worth the time to talk with people at the school and to take a tour with the school’s staff.
Our kids have a love of learning and enjoy attending school. This comes from liking and sometimes loving their teachers and the classes they teach. Not every teacher is perfect in every way, but they're only human after all.
Our kids have been at St Al's for coming up on 10 years and we can't say enough good things about it. The community is very inclusive and family focused in positive ways. The classes are small. The middle school being single gender for core classes within a co-ed school is nothing short of brilliant. I don't know why every school doesn't do it. I wish there was a high school that did the same. The teachers are amazing! Most have been there for longer than we have. The Principal is forward thinking and although he is one of many we have had while we've been there, we are seeing so much progress in the facility and technology during his term. The heart of the school is its parent volunteers. In the classroom, on the playground, in the library, running sports teams and clubs. It's a great group to be a part of and to see our kids benefit from. I've seen some reviews mention cliques and it really hasn't been our experience. I feel like with anything, you get out of it what you put into it and I do not perceive any bias towards parents who work outside the home. In fact the current Parents Club Co-Presidents are both working parents. If you want to pitch in, there's a place for you. If you're friendly, people will be friendly right back. I strongly encourage parents to include St Al's when looking for a top notch school for their kids.
As a parent I question the school's emphasis on rote learning and memorization in their teaching. I see the same tests, topics and materials given day in day out, year after year especially in the upper grades. As a volunteer, I witness and hear many words of complaint about the cheating from those kids who don’t - which is rife and has never been dealt with despite them bravely raising it. Identifying offenders brings about retaliation, which encourages submission. Teachers turn a blind eye - come on – it’s not that hard - change the tests and packets every year and be diligent during testing!! Tried to bring this up many times but it falls on deaf ears.
Grade 5 - 8 teachers are mostly ineffective academically. Can think of only two who really try.
Elementary grades can be quite different. But still tend to quash individualism of expression in work, socially or learning styles.
The homework and most of the project based learning is often the way the children learn in the absence of teaching during the day. Parents and children make up for this lost time by homework. It is a helpful way for parents to know what needs to be learnt and keep an eye on progress, but there is a lot in some subjects that is just left for parents to pick up the slack on. It is mostly rote stuff. Very little application of what they may have learnt during the day. In some years the Math teacher spent the entire class time correcting homework and then gave the new questions for homework as a way for the kids to teach themselves at night. Problem was - no support material to learn content at night. Just the 1999 textbook if you happened to buy your own copy for home. I've heard of flipped based learning, but this isn't it. Parents better be OK at pre-alegebra and algebra.