REVIEW OF St. Margaret's School BY parent, Anthony Lanni
- Date of Review
January 23, 2018
(N/A) Student Experience
The school has been an exceptionally welcoming environment for our family. Perhaps most importantly our children have felt they were an important part of the school community from their first day at school. Our children love the school grounds, with its sizeable woodlot and fields for play, the technology enabled classrooms and the care and attention that both teachers and administrators display. Our kids also love the STEM focused curriculum and the range of extracurricular activities that the school offers in the arts, athletics and sciences.
(N/A) School Leadership
We have found the administration to be completely dedicated to the well-being of the girls at the school, going above and beyond what would normally be required of an administrative body. Perhaps what stands out most is the fact that the leadership and administration of the school truly embody and live the school motto, "Service with Love". We get the sense that this isn't just a job for them, rather, they choose to be there. The administration communicates well with parents, and is always available to facilitate a dialogue on important issues. This is delivered in equal parts of reactive and proactive communication.
The teaching staff are the lifeblood of the school, and the school has distinguished itself by finding such a committed, passionate group of educators. Similar to the administration, we find the teachers really want to be at the school. They are passionate about working to advance girls' education, aren't afraid of the hard work required to bring an entire class forward, and build lifelong bonds with their students. They often bring diverse thinking from their diverse backgrounds, and expertise from their fields of study and work experiences. They don't just teach the curriculum, rather, they live it. The teachers at St. Margaret's are ably and fantastically supported by a wide range of educational assistants, providing an extra level of support and expertise where needed. We've been absolutely pleased with the superior level of communication through the school year, both as required by the school and also with what the teachers do in addition. They are welcoming, strong and accomplished--the perfect examples for young girls to learn from.
The school excels at a well rounded education. They emphasize topics and learnings that are suited to a girl's education, including building leadership abilities & confidence. The school is becoming a leader in STEM education, providing many opportunities for the student body to be exposed to studies in those fields, supported by both extra curricular activities and real-life examples of women in those fields. The small class sizes and personal attention that each girl receives really does create a personal learning environment, where a girl can excel and work to overcome a difficulty at the same time. We would not call the academic environment rigorous or competitive, as it isn't focused solely on marks. A large part of being a successful student at the school focuses on building bonds outside the classroom, and within the community. This is both a strength and a weakness as many expect a high degree of academic achievement, and this doesn't seem to be the only focus of education in the junior and middle school.
The school provides exceptional opportunities to engage in extra curricular activities, through clubs, sports and exposure to community events. We think there is an opportunity for the school to deepen its relationship with the school community by offering even more options that meet the diverse needs of the student body. Regardless, if a student has the interest, we feel that the school provides ample activities and ways to stoke creativity and passion. Students graduating from St. Margaret's do so as exceptionally well rounded members of the community at large, due in large part to the wide variety of experiences that they have a chance to jump into.
The student body is energized to be at the school, as they learn and build relationships. They feel welcome and supported, and because of this, students have the opportunity to push themselves and truly learn who they are. Perhaps most telling is the fact that the young women at St. Margaret's seem happy to go to school every day, no matter the time of year. Students get to know others within their "house" well, regardless of grade, in addition to bonds created due to the little sister/big sister program. We've always noticed interactions between the girls to be friendly, and rooted in a trust of one another. As a member of the school community, there is an expectation on all to lead and be inclusive. This manifests itself in a student body that really does get along!
(N/A) School Life
Our children absolutely love going to the school. It really is a second home for them, and they view it as "their" community. They have already figured out that you get out of the school what you put in, and as such, are active in all facets of school life. We wouldn't change anything about how the school delivers opportunities for students to participate in the life of the school. This is one of the absolute strengths of the school--it really is a community that all can be a part of.
The broader school community is notable for involvement by a passionate core of parents and other supporters. This is welcomed, and encouraged by the school, at almost every opportunity. We believe that the school should focus more effort on encouraging greater participation by the wider community, so that more families become faces around the school. There are ample opportunities to volunteer and support the school. We would like to see more folks making the school central to their family lives.
(N/A) School Location
The school campus is one of the best features of the school. It is large, lush and full of opportunities to grow and explore. The wider community, both around the school and further afield, offers many chances and opportunities to explore. The school organizes many trips and events off campus, so that the students can feel a direct connection to their community.
The admissions process is very much focused on making sure the school is right for your daughter. The school isn't just about enrollment numbers, rather, you embark on an admissions journey that is tailored and individual to your family needs. The school takes a great deal of time to encourage prospective students (and parents!) to experience the school, and build familiarity with it. We found the process to be exactly what was advertised, and completely in line with the values of the school. It's no wonder that the student body loves the school as much as they do!