St. Stephen’s Episcopal School – Profile

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School teaches children in pre-kindergarten through 12th grade following Montessori principles.  It was originally founded in 1971 as a parish school at Palmer Memorial Episcopal Church following the educational curriculum of Dr. Maria Montessori.  The school moved to the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church facility in 1983 and was incorporated as St. Stephen’s Episcopal School in 1987.  The middle school was established in 1991 and the high school in 1998.  St. Stephen’s is accredited by the American Montessori Society and Southwestern Association of Episcopal Schools.

Editor’s Note posted on May 16, 2014 – An updated version of this profile is now online at our sister publication HoustonSchoolSurvey.com.

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School

1800 Sul Ross, Houston, TX 77098                                                                     Mr. David Coe, Head of School

713-821-9100                                                                                             Ms. Ky Wilson, Director of Admissions

www.SSESH.org

Religious Affiliation

St. Stephen’s Episcopal is affiliated with the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and students are required to attend chapel regularly.  The school incorporates a Christian atmosphere within the Montessori Method of education, a program that is non-religious in nature.  The school and the church host joint events and activities for the students attending St. Stephen’s.  Upper school students are required to complete a credit of Religious studies each year.

 

Location and Facilities

St. Stephen’s campus is located in Houston’s Museum District on West Alabama Street near South Shepherd Drive.  Modeled after St. Thomas University’s original campus, the school’s buildings are a collection of 1930s-era homes that have been remodeled.  All classrooms are designed to the specific requirements of a traditional Montessori classroom.  Lower School classrooms are grouped not by grades but by multi-age groups, such as ages 3 to 6 years in a single classroom.  Multi-age groups are an indication of an authentic Montessori educational facility.

 

Admissions

St. Stephen’s features rolling enrollment, with application deadlines for early childhood students by December 31st.  Applications may be sent one year in advance for enrollment. Along with the online application, St. Stephen’s requires: 1) three teacher recommendation forms 2) administrator confidential forms 3) academic records (standardized test scores, conference forms, report cards, transcripts) 4) school interview and 1-3 day visitation 5) WPPSI or WISC IV testing for those entering 1st – 6th grade 6) ISEE testing for those entering 7th through 12th grade. Priority is given to siblings of current and former students.

 

Academic Tracks and Curriculum

The Montessori Method emphasizes the natural development of the student with the teacher acting as a guide and not as an instructor.  Each classroom is open and orderly and is filled with Montessori materials, such as the pink tower of blocks.  Students are allowed develop at their own pace, but within the specific limits of the classroom environment.  From ages 2 ½ to 12 years, students participate in mixed age classrooms, where older students support younger students.  St. Stephen’s utilizes the traditional grading system of American education, assigning letter grades or numbers to exams.  St. Stephen’s incorporates the American system into the Montessori Method for grades 7 through 12.

 

For ages 11-14, the school has implemented the International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC) to begin in the 2013-2014 school year.  This curriculum stems from the IPC for Primary grades and boasts to “provide a structured approach to make sure that students’ learning experiences are as stimulating as possible.” The IMYC incorporates six-week-long units of work, each based on a “Big Idea.”  In tandem with IMYC, St. Stephen’s is also implementing the International Baccalaureate curriculum for its upper school.

 

Students must complete 15-30 hours of community service and 25 credits to graduate: English (4), History (3.5), Math (4), Science (4.5), Foreign Language (3), Wellness/Athletics (1.5), Technology & Senior Project (1), Economics (0.5), and Electives (3). Advanced Placement work is available to students who have successfully completed pre-requisite courses.

 

Special Needs

No information provided.

 

Foreign Languages

Students attending St. Stephen’s must complete 3 years of a foreign language as a requirement for graduation.  Historically, students chose between French or Spanish.  The implementation of the IB program will allow additional choices.

 

Arts

The pursuit of the fine arts is incorporated in the Montessori curriculum.  Students are introduced to music and the use of various art materials in the Lower School.  Students in the Upper School are given the option to take two years of Art as an elective.  One course focuses on 2D design through painting and drawing.  The second course focuses on 3D design using materials, such as clay, to create sculptures.  Students may also participate in drama, which includes critiques on previously experienced theatre productions and researching the history of artistic eras.

 

Technology

St. Stephen’s utilizes technology in every level of the school.  Students in grades 7 through 12 are required to bring their laptops to school every day.  St. Stephen’s suggests that students bring a laptop that is no older than two years.  Any Mac, PC, or Linux system with a wireless connection is acceptable.  Students in grades 7 through 12 are also assigned an email account through Microsoft Outlook Express and have access to classroom information and school events through Edline.

 

Extracurricular Activities

As part of the school’s requirements for graduation, students must participate in community service, starting in 7th grade.  Students in 7th grade must complete 5 hours of community service, with each following grade completing an additional 5 hours from the year before.  Seniors will be expected to complete 30 hours of community service before they graduate.  BOSS (Boys of St. Stephen’s) and GLO (Girls Leadership Organization) determine the community service options for students, such as mentoring at the YMCA.  Students also have the opportunity to participate in trips, such as traveling to Puerto Rico, Washington D.C., Mo Ranch, and the Grand Canyon.

 

Athletics

St. Stephen’s includes physical activity within its curriculum and gives its students the chance to participate in various sports programs.  Included in these sports programs are flag football, volleyball, golf, tennis, basketball, and soccer.  St. Stephen’s competes in the Texas Christian Athletics League and the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools league for both Middle School and High School students.

 

Parent Involvement

Parents may get involved with the school’s Parent Community to meet other families and volunteer.  For parents to stay abreast with students and teachers, the school offers an online portal called Edline.

 

 

St. Stephen’s Episcopal School Fast Facts

 

Overview
School Type Montessori, Religious
Religious Affiliation Episcopal
Uniforms No
Date Founded 1971
Endowment N/A
Grades Served PreK-12th
Enrollment 170
     Upper School (Grades 9-12) 48
     Middle School (5-8) 32
     Lower School (PreK-4) 90
Student to Teacher Ratio 6:1
Faculty with Advanced Degrees (#/%) N/A
Minorities in Student Body 21%
Curriculum
Academic Tracks Offered Montessori
Advanced Placement Courses Offered N/A
Languages Offered IB, Spanish, French
Calendar (Semester / Trimester / Other) Semester
Interscholastic Sports Programs 5
Graduating Seniors
National Merit Semi-Finalists (#/%) 0
Average SAT Scores 1770
     Mathematics N/A
     Critical Reading N/A
     Writing N/A
% Students Admitted to 4 Year University 100%
Admissions
Prime Entry Points Pre-K, K, 1, 7, 9
Pre-K $9,820-$11,775
Age 3 to 6 years $10,290-$12,420
Grades 1-3 $13,135
Grades 4-6 $13,915
Grades 7-8 $13,990
Grade 9 $15,385
Grades 10-12 $16,785
Application Fee $125
Facilities Fee $250
Students on Financial Aid 18%

 

Excerpted from General Academic’s publication, “Houston Private & Select Public Schools: Survey, Analysis, and Research, 3rd Edition.”

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