Parental Controls: Protecting your Child on the Internet

We can’t always directly watch a child while he or she is using a computer or electronic device, but there are some very good tools out there to keep your kids safer on the internet.  Software offering parental controls in an Operating System like Windows or Mac OS can be circumvented without much trouble and don’t cover everything a parent … Read full article

Parents Spoke, SMA Listened: Changes Ahead for Tuition Payments

We have some exciting changes for the 2017-2018 school year that were recently approved by our Board of Trustees. Many of our current parents have shared with us valuable feedback about our student tuition and fees, invoicing procedures and other financial policies. We want you to know that we listened to you and were able to draw on your suggestions to … Read full article

Educational Research: Be Certain It Meets the Quality Standard

One day, a comedic teacher challenged his colleagues to adopt the latest innovation in education. During his conference period, while in the teacher’s lounge, he claimed that some Ivy League schools in the Northeast discovered that students’ intelligence quotients (IQ) grew exponentially when teachers wore funny hats. A couple of the trend-setting teachers decided to try it with their problem … Read full article


College Preparatory: What It Means at San Marcos Academy

College Preparatory: Introduction

In our recent annual survey, 42% of our students and 52% of our parents said we were primarily a “college preparatory” school. The second highest group said we were a school that develops the whole child; and the third highest group said that we were an international school.

One of the parent’s comments was quite insightful; he said, “It depends on how you define the term college preparatory.” which I thought was a good point.

The term “college preparatory” is somewhat vacuous, like “excellence in education.” It can mean almost anything to anyone. So, in our brief time together, I thought I’d take a moment to define what SMA means when we say that we are college preparatory.

College Preparatory: Definition 1

college preparatorySome schools call themselves “college preparatory” because they provide the high school credits that colleges would prefer to see on a transcript. SMA doesn’t view it that way. College preparatory for us means that students are “college ready,” not just getting credits.

To be “college preparatory,” SMA focuses on the development of the whole person. It says in Luke 2:52, that Jesus ” . . . grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” That’s what we mean by college readiness; we mean a student is mentally, physically, spiritually and socially ready for the college environment.

College Preparatory: Definition 2

college preparatory 2College prep for other schools is a code word for “elitist.” If you are wealthy enough or well-connected enough, you can then enroll in a school. When adolescents head off for college, however, they are exposed to a wide-array of beliefs, personalities and cultures. So, we do not believe that cloistering them in little make-believe bubbles prepares them for college or for life.

As you walk the halls of the Academy, you see that students from all over the world. There is a rich blend of cultures, where students attain real life experiences in the shelter of Christian adults with traditional values. SMA is “college preparatory,” NOT because it is elitist, but because it is truly a melting-pot.

So, for SMA “college preparatory” isn’t just a synonym for “high school graduate.” Neither is it referring to some elitist “bubble” to which only the well-connected and wealthy can apply.

College Preparatory: Definition 3

The third most common definition that people use for college preparatory is that it focuses exclusively on top-tier universities.

college preparatory 3In my 16 years at San Marcos Academy, I am proud of our graduates that have graduated or are currently enrolled at Harvard, MIT, West Point, the United States Air Force Academy, the McCombs School of Business at University of Texas at Austin, the Texas A&M School of Engineering, Baylor University and the list goes on and on. In addition, our graduates often leave with 32 semester hours of college credit.

Yet, SMA does not have tunnel vision; we don’t develop students who are just “book smart.” College readiness, we realize, also involves a strong work-ethic, a clear moral compass, a vibrant faith in God and wisdom.

At SMA, we are all about transforming lives through the power of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and helping each student reach his or her full potential. So, when someone asks you, “Is SMA a college preparatory school?” You can confidently answer, “Yes, they prepare students to be mentally, physically, spiritually and socially ready to perform at whatever level of college they are capable of achieving.”

–By Robert Bryant, Academic Dean

Note: This is the first in a series of short video blogs (vlogs) designed to connect current and prospective parents with the Academy staff in exploring various aspects of the “Academy Experience.” In Episode 1, our Academic Dean identifies what “college preparatory” means in the context of our unique campus culture. 

Fifth Grade Coming Back to SMA in Fall 2017

San Marcos Academy will offer a fifth grade class for day students beginning in the fall of 2017. The addition of a fifth grade will complement the school’s current sixth through twelfth grade program and will mark a return to lower school training at the 109-year old Academy. “We expanded our Middle School in the fall of 2015 to include … Read full article