St Catherines Montessori
Houston, TX 77025
About This School
In 2010, St Catherines Montessori had 10 students for every full-time equivalent teacher. The Texas average is 15 students per full-time equivalent teacher.
Student Ethnicity (2008)
Students Per Teacher (2010)
St Catherines Montessori Reviews
Horrible Leadership, Questionable Method beyond Primary
This was once a great school, but has significantly declined due to a serious lack of leadership by the Head of School. This person came into the position with no administrative experience whatsoever. She lacks professionalism, passion, basic business acumen, and more fundamentally, leadership skills. The faculty and staff know this, but hide it from the parents, and bury their heads to keep their jobs. To the school's credit, the Primary classes (3-6) are fantastic, because the teachers are fantastic. The upper levels lack boundaries, guidance and consequences. The middle school children spend more time gardening than learning actual skills needed for success later in life. The elementary children behave like Lord of the Flies, and bullying is rampant. This will be my child's last year at SCM.
St. Catherine's Montessori is an excellent school. Having said that, is Montessori for every family? Maybe not. I had to respond to previous parent reviews below. The school knows it's not for everyone. Anyone interested in the school HAS to observe a classroom before giving a parent an application. AMI schools strive for the child to be independent & think for themselves. If your child (more specifically parent) needs structure, then a traditional school is your best choice. My children have been at this school for at least 6 years since their Toddler years. They love their guides (teachers) and communities (classrooms) and thrive in this environment. Have we had our ups and downs? Yes, of course we have. If you expect your school principal and teacher to merely placate or uncritically appease your demands and expectations, find a school that will do this for you. Generally, if there is a problem with your child it takes the partnership of parent and teacher to work together, not against each other. If you're concerned about germs and unsanitary conditions, send your child to school in a plastic bubble. St. Catherine's is quite clean and sanitary. The school does an excellent job in informing parents of illnesses in the classrooms. The school offers parents at least 2 parent education sessions/yr. to help parents understand the Montessori method of teaching. As to the comment of "special circle of parents", I don't know who they're talking about because all the parents I know have from time to time expressed concerns or had suggestions to improve the school, etc. (but wouldn't that be the case in any school?). There is a method to the madness and my children do thrive. Do I need children that will expect me to fix every problem they have? No. Do I need children who can reason and independently think, speak, & do things for themselves? Yes. My oldest child could do fractions & division in kindergarden! My youngest child loves phonics, painting, music & is happy.
At a parent teacher conference, we were less than delighted with the presentation of our child's progress. The teacher was unprepared and then showed us our worst fear. From her presentation of several colored sheets of paper and nothing else to discuss in terms of all the other work areas of the classroom; it was clear that our child had been ushered toward coloring for most of the work period. There was no discussion of progress in the areas of numeracy, reading, or anything else really. Since attending, our child has had numerous injuries and we discovered that she was exposed to the germs of various children in the most unsanitary and inexcusable way. Our experience was a horrifying one in that the leadership proved to be callous, unilateral and unprofessional. Also, the quality of the teachers is much too variable and it is doubtful that all of the aids in the classroom are even certified. If it were a tuition free school that would not be a problem for us. If you want your child to do more than just color and to be supervised properly, save yourself time and money and send him or her elsewhere.
Our child thrived in spite of the lack of leadership and inconsistent management. There are/were some very great teachers at this school and because of that children can do well. That being said, iI would caution that as a parent the leadership has been dishonest, vindictive and outright cruel in dealing with parents that may bring up suggestions that are not popular or criticize any policy or change. At the moment the attitude is that if it works for your child shut up and be happy. There doesn't seem to be any real community feel in terms of feedback and participation. If you are not in the special circle of parents that will not question the leadership you may not enjoy this experience. We are lucky that we were fortunate to have great teachers who are alas now gone. You may have a good experience but please know there is a risk. I believe the toddler program is strong but its hard to recommend the rest without this caveat of meet with the teachers and talk to the parents and also know the principal will make decisions based on her opinions and not much feedback or only feedback from members she deems worthy.
Our children have attended St. Catherine's for seven years and we feel extremely fortunate to have been a part of this school. Our children enjoy going to school and have received great preparation for going on to the high school of their choice. The graduates last year all went to their first choice high schools which comprised the most select schools in Houston. A great place to develop the whole child.