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Award-Winning Private School Develops Service-Oriented Students For Life

By Allison Wilson

St. Mary's Episcopal School's educational philosophy is founded on the Episcopal tradition of academic excellence, regular worship, service learning and physical well-being.

It's no coincidence that St. Mary's Episcopal School was voted Best Private School and Best Preschool in The Edmond Sun Sunshine Awards. St. Mary's educational philosophy is founded on the Episcopal tradition of academic excellence, regular worship, service learning and physical well-being. The school's purpose is to foster an education that seeks to develop each student academically while providing a values-centered, character-building education to prepare each student to live a creative, humane and compassionate life.

"Our mission and core values are reflected daily in classrooms by our students treating each other with kindness and respect, using manners and being grateful, encouraging and comforting each other and doing one's best," says Shauna LeGrande, Director of Admissions and Marketing at St. Mary's. "Our curriculum combines the best of educational applications offering an ideal learning environment capable of stimulating the fullest potential within each child. Special care is taken to challenge each child's unique abilities and interests while guiding all students to be respectful, responsible and resourceful."

St. Mary's is designed with an academically rigorous curriculum, and the students are highly sought-after. They graduate with a high level of performance, often testing into math levels one year ahead of their actual grade. St. Mary's students often score in the top ten percent of the nation in math, reading and language arts. St. Mary's School also recognizes the importance of allowing children the opportunity to grow in areas of self-giving and concern for others, as well as the opportunity to know that they can be a part of improving the quality of human life.

Community outreach and helping others is a hallmark of St. Mary's School. First through fifth grade students embrace a variety of service projects throughout the school year. The students and staff of St. Mary's are committed to go beyond volunteerism to include service learning in the classroom.

"Our goal is to help lay the foundation for learning civic participation skills and instilling in the students an understanding of the nature and importance of responsible citizenship that will last a lifetime," LeGrande says. "Through community outreach programs and civic participation, our students will learn that helping others is fun and can make a difference in the lives of others as well as their own."

In addition to outreach and academic programs, St. Mary's School offers several after school clubs and activities including, STEM Club; Chess Club; Strings, violin, viola and cello; Encore, an elite musical performance ensemble; Art Club; and Lego Club. The 51-acre campus has been developed to include a wide variety of outdoor learning opportunities unique to the Oklahoma City metropolitan area, including hiking trails and ponds, where students are given the opportunity to supplement their formal, classroom education.

"As the students become older, they begin to understand how interdependent our ecosystems are and how personal responsibility and science play a vital role in preserving God's creation," LeGrande says. "This becomes an important platform for teaching science, math and even writing skills."

Parents notice the difference at St. Mary's too.

"Our children are receiving a superior education, invaluable social and emotional skills and spiritual guidance," says St. Mary's parent Jamie Kalcich. "It is a wonderful feeling as parents to know that our children are not only studying an excellent curriculum but also learning important life qualities that will sustain them through their life journey."

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Allison Wilson is an award-winning writer and communications professional whose...

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