St. Mark's Episcopal School
St. Mark’s Episcopal School began as a nursery program for St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in 1960. Over the next twenty years, St. Mark’s expanded to serve students in grades K-8, graduating its first eighth grade class in 1988. Today St. Mark’s enrolls approximately 430 students from age two years through eighth grade.
St. Mark’s, an Episcopal parish day school, follows the guidelines of the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. Students attend religion classes and weekly chapel services designed to promote the growth of their personal faith, respect for others, and a sense of service. However, St. Mark’s welcomes families of all faiths and encourages them to participate in the Episcopal rituals only so far as their faiths allow. The school honor code is founded on the virtues of respect, responsibility and kindness.
Location and Facilities
The school is located on the southwest edge of West University Place, a self-incorporated town within Houston’s 610 Loop. An affluent neighborhood of single-family homes lies directly to the school’s north and east, and shopping centers are to its west and south.
The campus includes four main buildings which are home to classrooms, three computer labs, two libraries, two science labs, a gymnasium with a stage, and a cafeteria. The buildings surround a courtyard, gardens, and two play grounds.
As the first part of the admissions process, parents must complete an online application that includes a short-answer question about their expectations for their child and includes their child’s picture. Other required forms include a transcript request form, a teacher recommendation form for students in Early Childhood through Kindergarten and grades 1-5, and two teacher recommendation forms (English and math) for students in grades 6-8. For grades PK-8, St. Mark’s requires an admissions test: the WPPSI-III (PreK and K), WISC-IV (grades 1-4), or the ISEE (grades 5-8). School visits are also required. Early Childhood applicants must attend a Saturday Group Observation in January or February, while students applying for grades 1-8 must attend an in-school observation and/or interview with the school.
St. Mark’s seeks to "enroll well-motivated children capable of academic challenge.” The school grants priority consideration to members of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and siblings of currently enrolled children. Applications are accepted year-round and considered on the basis of space available. To be considered for the school’s first round of admission offers, applications must be received by the January 10, 2014 admission application deadline.
Academic Tracks and Curriculum
St. Mark’s demarcates its student body into two divisions: the Lower School (Preschool 2s through grade 4) and the Middle School (grades 5-8). Curricula in both divisions follow the school’s core values of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, and caring. The early childhood curriculum is designed to develop cognitive, social, emotional, creative, and fine and gross motor skills. The core curriculum for grades 1-8 includes math, science, social studies and language arts. Service learning projects are planned for each grade level, with school-wide initiatives led by the Student Council. The curriculum for the Upper Middle School (grades 7-8) includes honors and Pre-AP classes.
St. Mark’s accepts students with learning differences who have demonstrated their ability to succeed in a mainstream, traditional curriculum. The school is unable to serve children whose special educational needs require facilities and training surpassing the expertise of the faculty and staff. Students with learning differences are considered individually for admission to the school.
Spanish is introduced in the early years through stories and vocabulary exercises, with formal Spanish instruction beginning in the fourth grade. Fourth to sixth grade students are further exposed to Spanish through visual and performance activities. The Spanish program for seventh and eighth grade students follows a traditional format and is designed to prepare students for high school Spanish II.
The Lower and Middle School arts curriculum includes classes in studio art, music, and drama. Students in the preschool program attend music and movement classes. Students in grades K-4 participate in art and music year-round, attending each class two to three times per week. Students in grades 5-8 have one quarter of art and one quarter of music each year. Additionally, elective classes for middle school students include dance, art, improvisation, podcasting & videography, speech, and yearbook.
Students are introduced to projects-based technology skills beginning in Pre-Kindergarten and continuing through eighth grade. The Lower School curriculum introduces keyboarding, graphic art tools, word processing, and the creation of slideshows. The Middle School curriculum teaches technology skills as an integral part of the curriculum. Through quarterly classes, students learn Microsoft Office, basic web design, and film-making.
Clubs meet Monday-Thursday from 3:30 to 4:30 during the fall and spring semesters. They include chess, music lessons, robotics, cooking, sculpture, origami, fencing, and more. Student Council is also offered. Middle School students also participate in advisory groups, which serve as a forum to discuss issues in the school, enhance organizational skills, focus on character development, and establish relationships between the students. Students of all ages participate in outreach projects, encouraging students to give of their time, talents and treasures. Outreach projects benefit organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Houston Food Bank, the SPCA, Urban Harvest, and the Sheltering Arms Senior Center, among others. Lower and Middle school students may also participate in the PSIA (Private School Interscholastic Association), which includes events such as Dictionary Skills, Spelling, Impromptu Speaking, Mathematics, and Number Sense.
The school fields teams in six sports: boys’ soccer, girls’ volleyball, boys’ and girls’ basketball, track, golf and tennis. These programs are available to students from the sixth grade onward. St. Mark’s is a part of the Greater Houston Athletic Conference.
St. Mark’s offers many opportunities for parent involvement. The Parent Guild serves to support community spirit, create meaningful events and programs for students, and promote the school in the greater community. All St. Mark’s parents are automatically members of the Parent Guild and are invited to join both meetings and committees.
Parent Guild volunteer opportunities provide parents with connecting points throughout the school and create a stronger partnership between school and family. These opportunities include the following events and programs: Breakfast with Santa, Teacher Appreciation Meals, Monthly Teacher Birthday Snacks, Hospitality (including Welcome Coffees and All School Events), Middle School Dances, Parent Education Events, Field Day Snacks, 8th Grade Graduation, Grandparents and Friends Day, Supplies for Helping Hands, New Family Ice Cream Social, Visiting Authors for the Library, and more.
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3816 Bellaire Boulevard, Houston, TX 77025