Frequently Asked Questions:
What is Montessori?
Montessori education was founded in 1907 by Dr. Maria Montessori, the first woman in Italy to become a physician. She based her educational methods on scientific observation of children's learning processes. Guided by her discovery that children teach themselves, Dr. Montessori designed a "prepared environment" in which children could freely choose from a number of developmentally appropriate activities. Learn more about St. Stephen's Montessori approach.
What is International Middle Years Curriculum (IMYC)?
The IMYC is a research based rigorous academic platform that ensures the learning of knowledge, skills and understanding of subjects and supports the development of personal dispositions and international mindedness. IMYC responds specifically to the needs of 11 to 14 year olds by providing independence and interdependence in their learning through discrete subject learning and themes, encouraging learning that helps them make connections that are relevant to their own lives. It involves active, skills-based learning, promotes self-reflection and the opportunity for students to make sense of their learning. Learn more about St. Stephen's IMYC approach.
What are the teacher's credentials?
St. Stephen’s employs 30+ full-time classroom Teachers and Assistants. Lead Teachers hold bachelor's degrees; over half also hold master's degrees. Orientation, Primary and Elementary Lead Teachers have American Montessori Society (AMS) diplomas; Middle School faculty maintain International Middle Year Curriculum and/or state certifications.
St. Stephen’s regularly opens its doors to teacher-trainees and observers from around the world. Additionally, our school principal, Nahla Nasser with 30 years of Montessori experience, provides yearly training to other teachers seeking their Montessori certification at the Houston Montessori Center. We are proud of the tenure of our faculty and the life-long learning they provide to our students which is a Montessori way of life.
What is the student-teacher ratio
Orientation - 1:7
Learning Ratios - 1:1
Primary and Lower Elementary - 1:12
Primary Learning Ratio - 1:4
Lower Elementary Learning Ratio - 1:8
Upper Elementary and Middle Years - 1:16
Upper Elementary Learning Ratio - 1:8
Middle Year Learning Ratio - 1:16
Are you a religious school?
St. Stephen's is a progressive Christian community integrating spiritual formation into all aspects of the educational experience. We are members of the National Association of Episcopal Schools. St. Stephen’s values the richness of diversity in all aspects – including religious affiliation.
Do you offer a year-round option?
We offer summer camp at an additional charge.
How are admission decisions made?
Enrollment determinations are based on observations by our faculty, Teacher Recommendation forms from the previous school, special learning needs, legacy and sibling status and availability. The Wait Pool is utilized when mission appropriate applicants exceed current availability though seats may become available before the start of school.
Can I schedule a class visit?
Our monthly Tours offer brief glimpses into each grade. Contact our Principal for information regarding more detailed observations.
what can I expect on a tour? Can my child attend?
Campus tours are designed for adults. In general, tours begin with a group setting and school overview. The walking portion of the tour allows for the division into smaller groups for the program which you are seeking enrollment and also includes those to which your child will progress. Tours include brief observations of classrooms, view of campus grounds and facilities and introductions of faculty and staff, as appropriate. Students applying into Upper Elementary or Middle School may schedule a Shadow Visit before deciding to apply. Applicants to Primary and beyond will be invited for an interview visit as part of the application process.
After I submit an application, when can I expect to receive notice of admission determination?
Complete applications including necessary documents and the students' visit to campus, received by St. Stephen’s
… by February 17, will received notification by March 3rd. Family response regarding enrollment is due to St. Stephen’s School no later than April 3rd.
… after February 18, will be notified after March 3rd. Family response regarding enrollment is due to St. Stephen’s School two weeks following notification.
For an open seat in the current year, families are notified within five business days. Family response period is five business days.
When is the best time to apply?
Online applications open in October. Complete application packages should be submitted by February 17.
Do you offer sibling discounts?
Each sibling receives an $800 discount per year.
How are students with learning differences supported?
Upon review of applicant diagnostic evaluations, the best course of assistance available by teachers within the classroom environment is determined. As teachers are not specialists trained for specific diagnoses, parents may be required to obtain additional support to work with students beyond the school day. With a focus on achievement for every student, St. Stephen’s may not be available to provide support every child needs and will inform each family as appropriate.
If I am in the wait pool does my application rollover to the following year?
Applications for students in the wait pool will rollover to the following school year. However, if you receive an admission offer to which you decline, this will close the application. A new application must be submitted after a previous application has been closed.