I went to Saint James from middle school until graduation. As a military brat, I transferred into Saint James from a local public school where I was bored and bullied. STJ made me excited about school again. Yes, it was very challenging (I was in honors and AP classes) and, yes, I got stressed out, but you know what? Every bit of it paid off. I would not have done so well at college or graduate school if I had not had a firm educational base from Saint James. I am grateful to have learned from teachers with a wide range of non-academic and academic experiences, and I am still in touch with many of them. As some reviews seem focused on cliques and the idea of social exclusion, I would like to point out that I was a nerd and was accepted as a nerd - I did not feel pressure to be anything else, and I had plenty of friends in the art and theater departments who did not fit the traditional mold either. My main issues were with the school's need to continuously fundraise on top of the significant tuition expenses, and the administration's fairly conservative orientation. However, if you want the best college preparation in Montgomery, STJ is the place to go.
I think a few things that no one has addressed in this school review 1. The amount of drug and alcohol use. My child was offered drugs daily in his freshmen year was hazed because he didn't use drugs or alcohol. 2. Support for student athletes. The demand from sports and practice is a huge drain on time and effort and grades will suffer. Access to tutoring is available but practice is long and hard and if grades slump there is little flexibility and you can be kicked out of school for low grades. 3. The school has its cliques like most but these are very exclusive and hard for a new student or one who doesn't fit in the ideal cliques.
As someone who was always at STJ, for ten years, it's great to send your kid for elementary school. Middle school & high school, not so much. 90% of the teachers & coaches are wonderful. I would never go back or send my child there until the adminstration and toxic atmosphere are changed.
To be exact, I'm a former parent, but there was no box for that. My children both graduated from this school and received an incredible education. Now in their 20's they have well-paying professional jobs -- which is what we all want when we pay to send our children to the best private schools. Because money is no true measure of a person, I can happily add that my children -- and their friends who also went here -- are kind, caring individuals and good citizens -- in no small measure due to their education and the character shaping that took place at this school. My children were good students but not the most stellar in the class; still they received ample scholarships when it came time to go to college. In fact, their high school education was so good that freshman English was a breeze, and they tested well enough to receive college credit for other courses. The teachers were loving, professionals who looked after our children with care -- an especially important point when both parents work. I would recommend this school to anyone.
As a Freshman that has attended this school since K4, I should know how this system works. Some say Saint James is the best school in Montgomery, that's only half the truth. Saint James is an excellent school for academics. If you want your child to excel with education, I suggest this school. The education is terrific, outstanding really. They push you hard enough to actually learn something other than just sitting there and daydreaming (for most teachers). However, I strongly believe that education is not everything for school. Feeling like you fit in and having a place to feel accepted is VERY important. This school knows exactly how to make you feel like an outcast. I can look back on every year I've been here, and never once remember NOT getting bullied. When I say I've gotten bullied, I don't mean physically. They know how to do it verbally, even silently, and make you feel worthless. You'd be surprised what this school hides under the "we're the perfect school" facade. Even the kids that are black act white because they don't feel accepted unless they're snobby, white kids. If you plan on putting your child in this school, make sure they are EXACTLY the right "normal".
We are new to Saint James this year with an incoming Freshman and 7th grader. I was worried about coming to a new area and new school but can't be happier with the warm welcome my kids have received. There were so many events at the school before the first day, that my boys were completely comfortable on the first day and already had friends. Thank you to the entire Saint James staff for making this an easy transition.
Saint James School is an amazing school! The academic curriculum is the strongest in the city and is recognized as the strongest by many university faculty members. Saint James offers a wide variety of opportunities to the students through the award winning Arts Program(both visual and performing), outstanding Speech and Debate program, accomplished Athletic Program, unique College Elective Courses for the high school students, Leadership Opportunities, Community Involvement, and much, much more. What sets Saint James apart from the other area schools is the Innovation. Saint James School is constantly embracing the need to grow and change and the students benefit from this! We were the first area school to have a complete 1:1 Middle School iPad program and a complete 1:1 High School MacBook program. My entire family are proud Saint James School graduates!!
I am a student at Saint James and it is an awesome program and if you were in ours seats you would NEVER leave!!!!!
Both of my daughters attended St. James from Kindergarten through middle school. For high school, they attended public magnet schools, LAMP and BTW. Switching to public magnets was the best decision we ever made for them! I am glad that they started out at St. James just because it was a nurturing environment for little ones. But, if I had know how terrific the public magnets were in Montgomery, I'd have transferred my daughters after elementary school.
As a member of the class of 2012, I must say that I feel prepared for my future coming out of this school. Truly, a Saint James education, while expensive, is worth the investment. I don't dread going to school; learning here is invigorating. A student's courseload can be tailored to be anywhere from average to Ivy League caliber. Few schools can rival the preparation Saint James gives its students. Attending this school for all of middle and high school has been a remarkable experience, and, while I've had my ups and downs, Saint James has always been there to help me along the way. Send your child here. Challenge them to be their best... and enjoy the results.
We are a military family and the overwhelming feeling is that the school is ultimately concerned with money and fundraising. Alternative school options in the area are poor and this school is undoutedly the best, however, you pay over the odds for it. I find it ugly that the school is constantly asking for extra donations from parents on top of the high school fees - a large proportion of which is spent on glossy brochures, printed banners and unecessary leaflets sent home through the mail!! Children are under pressure to achieve high grades and the school is very academically driven. Focus on individuals is good, but I get the impression this is for statistics purposes. It can be difficult for some children mixing with spoilt rich kids who have everything they want.
I know what you think, this school is just full of snobby rich kids but its not. My dad is in the military and we move so I dont get to stay in one place for long and im always excited about moving but this time I dont want to go. This schools althletic program is very welcoming and so is extra help and tutoring.
I agree with the person below. I am a student at Saint James and I adore it there. I find everybody very friendly and understanding. Saint James is a great school and I recomend it to anyone who is looking for a great education.
I would have to disagree with the review below. Saint James might be challenging, but the education you recieve is worth it. The people there are very friendly, and the teachers always offer extra help if needed. Everyone is very understanding and kind. Saint James is a college prep school so it should be a little challenging. I appriveate all the time and work that the teachers spend on students.
I would have to disagree with the 'snobby rich kids' writer. We are a military family, with 4 kids. So we are not rich. My kids entered St. James and were welcomed with open arms. Even my introverted one. Of course, there are some cliques, but I challenge you to find me a High school that doesn't have cliques. As for academics.... STJ is a college prep HS. If you aren't planning on succeeding at college then STJ academics maybe a challenge. My kids have never had a problem with getting extra tutoring. STJ will prepare any child for college but they are not going to just hand over a diploma. You child will have to work for it. The support is available. Tuition costs are high, but not as high as other local private schools. The public schools are terrible so our money goes to STJ.
This school is not all that it is made out to be. Some say that it is the best school in montgomery and they may be right by the academic standards. I know by experience that St. James is a tough environment for the average teen. It is full of snobby stuck up rich kids who think they are the best. The teachers also do not offer as much help as you would think. They do not fully explain the lessons fully in class or in tutoring. I would recomend this school for someone who is academically advanced, but for average joes, not so much. The price of tuition also is an issue. It is astonishing how high it is considering the amount of money that they have in their savings account. The numbers are rediculous. Just be sure that you and your child are prepared before you make your decision.
The finest school in Alabama. Excellent teachers, counselors, and administration. My child comes home and tells me so many things the he learned at school - things that I never knew. It is a rigorous environment for learning, but the teachers are human, not some stuffy professional with a 'better-than-you attitude.' Great school. We are Saint James School.
One of, if not the finest educational facility in Alabama and the Southeast. Recently celebrated 50th anniversary of founding. Many current students have parent(s) that attended St James. College preparatory curriculum second to none. Highly decorated debate teams and drama department. Athletic programs, both girls and boys, consistently state champions in multiple sports. Girls athletic program top female program in the state (2005) Fantastic faculty and staff coupled with virtually 100% parent and even grandparent involvemnet. Students often recognized by the community for character, academic, spiritual, and athletic accomplishments both at and away from school. The educational and extracurricular experience at St James that provides students with the knowledge and skills to not just succeed but excel in life is more than worth the expense.
Both my son and daughter attended St James from K-5 through high school graduation. The best word I can think of to describe the experience is awesome! The quality of the staff, the educational principles and the facilities itself are second to none. It is a safe and 'homey' environment. I feel extremely lucky that my wife and I were able to put both of our children completely through. My kids stay in touch with the school and still have some involvement. I don't know to spend money any more wisely than to invest in your children's future by sending them to St James.
Main focus of staff and administration is academic and social development of each individual student. Equal devotion to forensics, athletics, chorus, band, theater, photography, journalism and art with priority on academics. Strong bond between K4-12th grade fostered by the senior buddy program, new student mentors, and high school student involvement with elementary students. All grades included in special activities such as Homecoming and Fall Festival. Every child is made to feel special, competent and important. Entire faculty, administration, and board of directors readily available for parent contact or student tutorials. I have three children at STJ. Saint James School has been one of the best things I have ever done for my children. Well worth the tuition and associated sacrifices.
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