1. How safe is the school?
When it comes to their children, safety is the top concern of parents. In today's world, safety is even an issue in places that traditionally may have seemed safe. St. Alban's takes this concern very seriously. Our facilities are well-cared for and our team of committed custodians is diligent in maintaining the physical plant. The supervision of students is a top priority from toddlers all the way through 6th grade. Our school has a crisis management plan in place and our faculty and staff are trained annually on this plan. Additionally, faculty and staff are trained every two years on CPR and First Aid and a school nurse employed is part time. Recent renovations include fencing and gates to ensure that visitors must check in through the front office and acquire a visitor pass.
2. Is there high quality and committed faculty and staff?
Let's face it – faculty and staff are the most important resource in any school. Parents are looking for degreed, experienced professionals who are committed to their children in every way. We believe that we have the most talented educators in Harlingen! Our teachers are compassionate, well trained and committed to presenting a dynamic educational program. They are dedicated to teaching and demonstrate sensitivity and concern for their students. St. Alban's has a high standard for employment, beginning in our early childhood program. Every one of our preschool teachers from toddlers through three year olds has achieved their CDA (Child Development Associate). In the 4 year old Pre-K and Kinder programs, our teachers are degreed and experienced in Early Childhood. Grades 1-6 Teachers are 100% Degreed or Certified and have an average of almost 20 years of experience. The professional conduct of our staff in their dealings with peers and students reinforces the mission of our school.
3. What is the ratio of students to staff?
Large classrooms mean less individualized instruction and more opportunity for discipline issues. St. Alban's is committed to maintaining low student to staff ratios. All preschool classes (toddlers through Kindergarten) have a teacher and an aide and classes maximums are not compromised. Ratios in preschool range from 4:1 in our toddler class up to 9:1 in our kindergarten classes. Class sizes are limited to a maximum of 18 for grades 1-6.
4. Are there strong partnerships among parents, teachers and students?
The partnership between a school and a family is one of the most important elements to consider when choosing a private school. At St. Alban's, we believe that this partnership is a critical component in the success of our students. Parents want to be comfortable talking and working with their childrens' teachers. Our faculty and staff are approachable and open to parent concerns. Because our mission focuses on the "whole child", we are able to work together with our families to ensure that the students are receiving the highest quality education, not only academically, but socially, emotionally and spiritually. We are all in this together!
5. Is there opportunity for parental involvement?
If you are a parent who is interested in being involved in your child's school, one of the first questions you should ask is what opportunities there are for parental involvement. St. Alban's is committed to developing the relationship between school and parents and the best way to do that is by getting you involved. Our parent group is called PAL's (Parent's Assistance League) and the primary mission of this group is to assist the school by coordinating volunteer activities. There is a high level of collaboration between parents and the school and there are numerous opportunities to be involved in the life of the school.
6. Does the school have a climate that supports achievement?
When choosing a private school for your child, you must take into consideration the climate of the school and if it is one which supports achievement, not only academically, but socially, emotionally and spiritually. St. Alban's has built a culture and climate which is supportive of our mission. Our campus hosts a diverse population and remains committed to providing opportunities for academic, spiritual and emotional growth. Community service begins at an early age and grows in scope by age. Chapel worship, attention to daily formation and community service are valued and reflected in a happy and content feeling that exists across the campus.
7. Is there availability of technology and technological resources?
As a parent, you know the importance of technology in our lives. You should look for a school in which students are actively using all forms of technology. At St. Alban's, our computers and computer resources are an important part of the academic program. Our technology lab has 20 student stations which include 18" flat screens and speakers. The lab itself is maintained by a certified technology teacher. In addition, each classroom has two to three networked computer stations and teachers in grades 1-6 have a laptop, scanner, digital camera, speakers and a class printer. Preschool classrooms have a computer "center" as a means of introducing technology into the curriculum.
8. Are textbooks and teaching materials high quality and up to date?
While teachers are the most important resource in a school, the textbooks and teaching materials must also be considered when choosing a private school. St. Alban's has an excellent curriculum that is updated on a rotating basis. Faculty and staff are trained in every program and funds are provided to purchase any supplemental materials needed to make every program a success.
9. How long has this school been in operation?
You might not be looking for the oldest school in town, but knowing a little bit about the background of a school can help to give you a fuller understanding of its character. St. Alban's Episcopal Day School was founded in 1948 as a half day preschool and has grown over the past 62 years into a full-fledged preschool/elementary school with 298 students from 15 months through 6th grade. We have a strong sense of family and community and offer an unparalleled educational program within the Rio Grande Valley. As we continue to grow and evolve, we believe we have a bright future ahead of us.
10. How successful are the students after graduation?
Let's take a look at what our alumni have to say about their experience at St. Alban's.
"St. Alban's laid the strong foundation for the work ethic that I have in school today, and it also helped me build friendships with people who are still my best friends today."
Julianne Robinson, StA Class of 2003 and 2009 Valedictorian – Harlingen H.S.
"St. Alban's made me a structured individual. I have not been told once since the 2nd grade to do my homework because I knew what was needed to succeed even at such a young age. I also became goal oriented when I
would try to make the honor roll as much as possible. Because of how St. Alban's has made me goal oriented, I have been on the Dean's List at the University of Miami and I am at the top of my class."
Brittany Williams, StA Class of 2000