Why Choose SMS
Benefits of a Catholic Education – Why St. Martin’s Catholic School?
An explanation about the value of Catholic school – and St. Martin’s in particular
We are a co-educational Catholic school-serving children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade. Our school has been a faith-centered pillar of the Gaithersburg community since 1925. We are an inclusive learning community that strives to achieve each student’s full potential and develop a positive attitude toward learning. St. Martin’s students receive personal attention in a warm, caring, and safe environment. Our students learn to contribute to one another, to their families and to the global community. Scholarship, faith, and service are our guiding principles. These values guide our students, faculty and parent community in all we do. There is no question that investing in a Catholic education can be both a sacrifice and a challenge. We welcome you to take a moment to put the value of Catholic school – and St. Martin’s in particular – in perspective.
Please view these videotaped presentations from our classroom and middle school subject teachers along with parent testimonials.
Teacher Video Presentations & Parent Testimonials
Middle School Math – Mrs. Dillow
Middle School Science – Mrs. Ballard
Middle School Social Studies – Mrs. Morelli
Middle School Language Arts – Mrs. Frelk
Sixth and Seventh Grade Religion – Ms. Stinger
Eighth Grade Religion – Ms. Jones
SMS examples of Academic Excellence
Our teachers, teaching assistants, and staff will know your child's name, their learning style, their strengths and limitations, and we will engage them daily with focused expertise, unwavering commitment, firm discipline, and genuine love. Differentiated learning and small-group instruction are woven throughout a rigorous academic curriculum. We accelerate children who are ready to advance, while ensuring that children who require extra help get exactly that. Lower teacher-student radios mean your child receives greater attention. We have a 12:1 student to faculty ratio and an average class size of 25. Our homeroom and resource teachers, along with our counselor, work together to address the needs of each child.
State-of-the-art technology: As a truly 21st century Catholic school in Montgomery County, we seamlessly integrate modern facilities and cutting-edge classroom technology. Smart boards in every classroom, 1:1 Chromebooks for middle-school students, 1:1 iPads and new iMacs for lower grades, regular Scantron testing (which provides individual skills assessments to assist with small-group placements), and a computer cart for portable technology all work together with our dedicated staff to provide enriched, challenging learning. Recently renovated state-of-the-art Science Lab, including a 3-D printer.
Curriculum: We adhere to the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools Office curriculum and standards. Our curriculum contains educational framework designed to develop 21st century skills. All curriculum standards reflect a continuum of learning from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade. For grade and subject specific standards, please refer to: https://adwcatholicschools.org/elementary-k-8/curriculum-standards/
Our incredibly dedicated teachers work with your child to methodically assemble and then gradually strengthen a solid and lasting foundation of fundamental knowledge and personal self-confidence. We employ a creative, thematic approach to learning. By developing a framework around a core theme, our teachers identify specific multi-disciplinary goals. Students explore independently and as a group as they accomplish the curricular milestones.
Assessment: We use Scantron standardized tests to measure how well students master the concepts and skills being taught. The results provide individual skills assessments to assist with small-group placements. These assessment tools also compare our students’ scores to others across the country. For Archdiocese of Washington regional level test score data, please refer to: Reading and Math Regional Report
Accreditation: We are accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement. The AdvancED accreditation process is recognized for its ability to effectively drive student performance, ensure mission effectiveness, and promote continuous improvement.
SMS examples of Catholic Identity
Morning and Afternoon Prayer: The calming influence of prayer and quiet discussion helps them start their day—every day—with God in their hearts. This exercise reinforces what is important, how to treat one another, and to respect themselves.
Prayer Services: At special times of the year, we pause as a school to hold a prayer service. This helps us focus on the importance of prayer at holidays, special events and disasters.
Bible Buddies: Our middle school students “buddy up” with our youngest grades when attending All School Masses and other special times of the year. This is a wonderful opportunity for our older students to model to our younger students, Catholic traditions and respectful behavior.
Character Development and Service Work
We continually reinforce both the Christian values and the basic human values your family is teaching your child at home to ensure they graduate St. Martin’s Catholic School with morality, character, and compassion. The Golden Rule is the moral compass that guides the students in a Catholic school and navigates every turn in their educational and emotional development. It gives students the strength to say no at appropriate times and the courage to help those in need while others walk past. Catholic education instills the values to understand right from wrong and works to create engaged citizens who respect the rights and feelings of others. Woven into the daily school lives of St. Martin’s students, outreach opportunities teach the students that others need our attention, care, and compassion.
Lenten Food Drive led by our Student Council
Christmas Hat and Glove Drive for the homeless
All school Thanksgiving Food Drive
Praying for those less fortunate and discussing special intentions
Donating their own Halloween candy to those in need of a special treat
SMS examples of Community
The enthusiasm and dedication of parent volunteers help create our legendary warm and welcoming culture.
Community events such as Family Literary Night, STEM Night, and Breakfast with Santa are well attended.
Parents are invited into the process of creating the school and often say SMS is the school they wish they had had when they were growing up.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram further connect families.
What St. Martin’s Parents are Saying
- Great teachers and wonderful students.
- I love this school! I always saw it as a dream for my son; but today it is reality. It was what I was looking for and could not find. it is completely different from other schools; it is seen in the quality of education and the values that they implant in our children. I recommend it if you want a life for your children based on God; that in other schools has been forgotten.
More than a school, a family. My daughter graduated this year and my son is currently in second grade. Children are taught values, respect, citizenship, and love for God. We love our school!
St. Martin's is so much more than a school! It is a community and a family. We have been at SMS for 7 years and what brought us to the school was our faith, what sealed the deal on our decision to attend were the students! When we first arrived for the open house, the students gave us a tour of the school (which is still true today) and we were so impressed. They were articulate, mature, and knowledgeable and we thought, "This is how we want our kids to be". This school is a small little gem not be overlooked! It is "top notch" in so many way and in this sometimes-crazy world; you will not find a better home for your children and your family than St. Martin's School!
Seven grandchildren graduated from St. Martin's and all went on to do amazingly well in high school and college.
I can only say thank you for the 9 years of great education that my daughter had at this extraordinary school! St. Martin’s is always going to have a special place in our hearts.
Children are prepared to face the difficulties of life, to be good citizens, to be helpful to society, to be good Catholics and to develop a healthy mind in a healthy body. What else can we expect of a school?
This is a great school with a family atmosphere. They have great events for the kids and families.
(www.Facebook.com @smsmd.org, www.PrivateSchoolReviews.org)
Beyond the Classroom
Students have the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities designed to develop leadership, responsibility, a sense of parish and community service, and teamwork. Each year has a different assortment of trips, activities, and clubs. Some examples are Scouting, CYO basketball and track/cross country, Student Council, altar servers, knitting, academic quiz bowl, robotics, Mandarin Chinese, and Amazing Afternoons. Band classes are available for students in grades 4 – 8. Middle school students may also participate in the drama club, yearbook committee, and Safety Patrols.
St. Martin’s graduates earn acceptance at many highly regarded high schools in the Washington metropolitan area. Recent graduates have been accepted at:
The Academy of the Holy Cross
Georgetown Preparatory School
Gonzaga College High School
Our Lady of Good Counsel High School
St. John’s College High School
DeMatha Catholic High School
Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart
St. John’s Catholic Preparatory School
Georgetown Visitation Preparatory School
The Avalon School
Our graduates regularly test into Advanced and Honors level classes. Students who complete Algebra I and Geometry in middle school successfully test out of those classes in high school. Every year our students are offered high school scholarships in the areas of academic excellence, visual and performing arts, band, and leadership.
Catholic education provides a solid academic foundation. Compared with their public school peers, Catholic school students earn higher scores on standardized tests in every subject area. We believe our teachers are the most effective educators in the area, as evidenced by our test scores, high school placements, academic honors, and student retention rates. St. Martin’s eighth graders routinely score higher on the High School Placement Test (HSPT) than the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic School average. The HSPT is an important factor in determining Catholic high school acceptance. The Catholic high school graduation rate is a staggering 99%. Of these graduates, 86% go on to college, compared with 40% of public high school graduates. Catholic elementary schools generally start in kindergarten and continue through the eighth grade, eliminating the need to transfer to a new facility for middle school. Research shows that middle-school students who stay in the same school for grades K-8 perform better academically and have fewer absences than their peers who attend a separate middle school.
Our graduates are well-balanced young people that are prepared to be responsible, independent leaders in their schools and communities. They are well prepared academically and spiritually for the challenges, they will face in high school, in college and in life.
Yes, choosing Catholic school for your family can be a challenge. If you need help, financial aid and scholarships are available to help ease the burden. We also offer a variety of payment options in an attempt to work within your budget.
The bottom line is not how can you afford to choose a Catholic education. The bottom line is how can you afford not to?