Frequently Asked Questions
When and why was St. Mark's Episcopal School founded?
The School was founded in 1979 by St. Mark's Episcopal Church as a program of Christian outreach. The clergy and parishioners believed that offering a preschool program which emphasized a loving and nurturing Christian foundation was important. As a result, the mission of the School was developed: "to provide an academically enriched program in a nurturing Christian environment." Over the years, the School has evolved and consists of students from grades PK2 through eight. The enrollment capacity is 553 students.
Who owns St. Mark’s School?
St. Mark's Episcopal Church owns the School. The ultimate control and legal responsibility for the operation of both the Church and the School rests with the Rector, Wardens, and Vestry of the Church. The Vestry charges the School Advisory Board with the responsibility of establishing policies for the School. These policies and beliefs are reinforced by the clergy, administration, faculty, staff, parents, and students.
Does the Church subsidize the School?
No, the School budget is separate from the Church budget. The Church and School share the expenses of the facility.
Is St. Mark’s School accredited?
Yes, St. Mark’s is accredited by the following professional educational associations that evaluate and accredit independent schools throughout Florida in order to establish and maintain high standards for non-public schools:
- Florida Council of Independent Schools
- Florida Kindergarten Council
The School is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools and the National Association of Independent Schools.
What are the qualifications of the teachers?
All teachers have, at a minimum, a bachelor’s degree and a Florida teaching certificate or qualify as candidates for Florida certification.
What safety measures are in place?
The School is committed to providing a safe, secure environment for all students, staff and visitors. To this end, the School has created a detailed security plan that includes several key initiatives:
Campus security system
Safe drop-off and pick-up
Rules for on-campus activities
Comprehensive emergency procedures
Cooperation of local law enforcement
What is the approximate student/teacher ratio?
PK2 - 10 students/1 teacher/1 teacher assistant
PK3 - 14 students/1 teacher/1 teacher assistant
PK4 - 18 students/1 teacher/1 teacher assistant
K-1st - 20 students/1 teacher/1 teacher assistant
2nd-5th - 20 students/1 teacher/1 teacher assistant for each grade level
6th-8th - 25 students/1 teacher/1 assistant for all grades
What are the School hours?
|PK2 - PK4 – 3 half days (T,W,Th)||8:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.|
|PK3 – 3 full days (T,W,Th)||8:15 a.m.-2:45 p.m.|
|PK4 – 5 half days||8:15 a.m.-12:15 p.m.|
|PK4 (5 full days)- 5th Grade||8:15 a.m.-2:45 p.m.|
|6th-8th Grades||8:20 a.m.-3:15 p.m.|
Does the School offer bus service?
No, parents are responsible for transportation arrangements. The School will publish names of families interested in forming carpools.
Is extended care available?
Yes, morning care is available from 7:15 a.m. and afternoon care for full day students until 4:00 p.m. or 6:00 p.m. for an additional charge.
Is there an additional fee for textbooks?
No, textbooks are included in tuition.
Are there fees in addition to tuition?
Yes, the cost of uniforms, lunches, and class trips (4th-8th) are the responsibility of the parent.
Where are uniforms purchased?
Is there a cafeteria?
No, students may bring their lunch from home or order special lunches from outside restaurants that are served each day of the week - Joseph's Market, Wholesome Tummies, Chick-fil-A, Moe's, and C.R. Chicks. Parents purchase lunches for a semester at a time. The profits benefit the Parents' Association or the middle school grades. Parent volunteers are needed to assist with each special lunch. Lunch is currently eaten on picnic tables with umbrellas under a canopy of large oak trees on the east playground (K-8th).
Does St. Mark’s allow parent participation in school life?
Yes, St. Mark's has an active Parents' Association, and parents are encouraged to serve as volunteers in the School. Volunteer opportunities are available for the annual auction event, Book Fair, special lunches, Fine Arts Week, special sales, media center, class musical productions, kindergarten Grandparent/Special Friend Day, class projects, Colonial Day/International Day, Middle School Parent Committee, room parents, and parent ambassadors to name a few.
Are there field trips?
Yes, field trips to local areas of interest are scheduled throughout the year to enhance the curriculum. The cost of field trips is included in tuition.
Do students take a standardized test each year?
Yes, students in kindergarten through 2nd grade are assessed quarterly using the Children's Progress Academic Assessment (CPAA), and students in 3rd through 8th grade take the CTP 4 (ERB) each spring.
How do students cross Gardens East Drive to the athletic field for physical education class?
Students in kindergarten through third grade are transported on the St. Mark's bus. Students in fourth through eighth grades walk to Robb Field with the PE teachers.
How is Christian education treated at St. Mark’s?
Christian education is taught weekly in the classroom in PK2. PK3 and PK4 students attend their own chapel service each week. Kindergarten students participate in chapel each week and Eucharist or Christian education on a rotating cycle.
Students in first through eighth grades participate in a weekly chapel service, as well as a weekly celebration of the Eucharist. Receiving communion is optional. Christian education is taught weekly in the classroom in first through fifth grade. In middle school the students study world religions in 6th grade, the Bible in 7th grade, and ethics in 8th grade. Basic Christian values are emphasized in all aspects of Christian education.
Does St. Mark’s have a library?
Yes, the Library Media Center houses the book collection for all grade levels, a computer lab, and a television production studio. Students in lower school attend a scheduled library visit each week while students in middle school visit the library periodically in their language arts courses. Students may also come at any time to exchange books, engage in research, or take an Accelerated Reader test (see next question). The TV Production Studio, located in the media center, is the location of morning announcements that are broadcast into the classrooms via closed circuit television each day.
What is Accelerated Reader?
Accelerated Reader is a computer based supplemental reading program for students in first grade through eighth grade that is designed to encourage independent reading and improve comprehension. Students take a reading placement test to determine their reading level. Students are then assisted with finding books within their reading levels. After reading a book, students take comprehension tests on the computer where their score is given immediately. With each test passed, the points earned allow students an opportunity to earn various incentives.
Are computers available in each classroom?
Yes, in PK4 through fifth grade, there are five computers per classroom. A mobile laptop lab is located in each grade level for fourth through eighth grades.
Does the School have a computer lab?
Yes, a fully equipped lab is located in the Media Center. Students in PK4 through fifth grade visit the lab once per week for computer instruction; Students in sixth grade take Microsoft Office for a semester; Seventh grade students may choose graphic art as an elective; Eighth grade students may choose web design as an elective.
Are all computers networked?
Yes. The buildings and all computers are connected via a high-speed, fiber optic backbone.
Do students have access to the Internet on all school computers?
Yes, all students have access to the internet via our high-speed T-1 connection. Filtering software is used to block inappropriate content from reaching the school's network. The Technology Coordinator, the computer teacher, and the classroom teachers closely monitor all student computer use. All students, parents, and staff members must sign an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) at the beginning of each school year.
What additional technology is available?
Six wireless mobile laptop labs (4th-8th)
Ceiling-mounted LCD projectors in all classrooms (PK4-8th)
Wireless microphones with ceiling-mounted speakers (PK4-8th)
Document camera (PK4-8th)
Televisions and VCR/DVD players in all classrooms
Premium instructional software featuring Microsoft Office Professional and Adobe Creative Suite
Premium online resources including Edline, Discovery Streaming Video, EBSCO, Study Island, BrainPop, and Accelerated Reader
Television studio featuring closed-circuit classroom broadcasts
How is information communicated to parents and students?
THE LIONSHARE - a weekly news feed that is emailed each Friday and is also available on my.stmarkspbg.org.
EDLINE - a secure web site for reporting class information (PK2-8th grades), homework (2nd-8th grades), and weekly grade reports (4th-8th grades).
MY ST. MARK’S - a web site for school families which contains frequently updated information about the School, including: documents, news, photos, calendars, and informative, interactive applications.
EMAIL - Parents receive periodic emails from St. Mark's to convey important information or breaking news about the School.
Does the School have a Student/Parent Handbook?
Yes, each family is given a Student/Parent Handbook. The handbook contains the following: general information about the School, general policies, academics, and code of behavior.
Where do students apply for high school after graduating from St. Mark’s?
Cardinal Newman, Suncoast High School, Dreyfoos School of the Arts, Oxbridge Academy, The Benjamin School, The King's Academy, Jupiter Christian School, St. Andrew's School, The Pine School, and the magnet programs at Palm Beach Gardens High School, W. T. Dwyer High School, and Jupiter High School.
Can high school credit be obtained for any classes at St. Mark’s?
Yes, those students who qualify for and successfully complete Spanish I or French I, Algebra I or Algebra I Honors, and Geometry Honors will earn high school credit. Geometry Honors is offered for those students who qualify to begin Pre-Algebra in 6th grade.