This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
St. James Episcopal School1
Posted April 25, 2015
- a community member
This is not a review of the school itself but of their borderline deceptive admissions process for the Kindergarten program. For the 2015-2016 school year, we went through a process that included the fee and NUMEROUS visits to the school. However, the school admitted NO ONE who was not an existing sibling or student in their JK, after taking the fees from what I estimate to be several hundred people, who also gave up precious time during work days to attend tours, meetings, Q&A's, evening events, etc. It is not difficult for the admissions office to ascertain how many siblings and rising students from their JK will be filling their Kindergarten program. They should then open up the admissions process with the caveat that they have ONE open space, or whatever the number is. What they did was essentially a scam, selling spots they did not have. We asked them several times how many open spaces there were and never got an answer. For a supposedly "Christian" school this seems surprisingly shady.
I love this school! It has everything our daughter needs for her elementary school education. The teachers are kind and caring, the curriculum is rigorous and engaging, and the parent community is beyond compare. There are always people out there that find fault, but you'll be hard pressed to find a school that's as warm, nurturing, academically enriching, and well run as St. James'.
Ask any hakwon (only because hakwons are exposed to so many kids attending different schools public and private. I am not endorsing hakwons). St. James while looking bright and pretty is academically weak. Little rigor, hence low ICEE scores, fear under the guise of esteem building replaces grit, and the school is plagued by weird racial tension (they still preach color blindness circa 1986). Though they put on a good show, they are behind in methodology, their focus being money. They see the child as a customer and the customer is always right. As a parent, I want my child to be challenged and guided, not told s/he is right. My advice save your money and send your child to a charter school. It s a good moment for the charter school system; pedagogy, rigor, and differentiation are en vogue.
We have a first grader at St. James. St. James is a wonderful, safe, kind, academically challenging (age, individually appropriate there are plenty of children who are challenged in some way and the school fully supports and aids them to the best of their ability). We looked at several schools in Los Angeles and St. James came out number one on our list for many reasons--check out the awesome science, art, computer labs! It has superb leadership, dedicated teachers, active and supportive parents and delightful children. It truly is "the face of LA" as someone said below. It's very special in that it's an inner city private school so to speak so the student body is truly diverse. I have never seen any bullying. Ever. We love it and feel so lucky to have our child there.
Our daughter has been at St James since Kindergarten and is currently in Third Grade. St James is like an extended family. It is warm, nurturing and academically rigorous. The student population and faculty are also extremely diverse and represent the face of LA. We are a Jewish family and feel totally embraced. The religious aspect of the school is not dogmatic, but teaches a broad humanity which is lived every day. I cannot understand the comment about bullying below as I have found the children at St James to be very kind and caring. The older kids look out for the younger ones and children transferring into later grades are warmly welcomed and fit right in. The Head of School Debbie David is a power house and Angela Arrington the Vice Principal is also dynamic. I highly recommend St James. Our daughter is very happy there.
St James is best school in LA. Let me start by saying my son is a gifted child. He was accepted in Mirman, WNS, John Thomas Dye, and Willow. My wife and I choose St James because of the schools academic rigor, religious/social balance, and real world demographic mix. Based on those three criteria, St James is the only school in LA that checks all the boxes. This is my son s second year at St James and we couldn't be happier. His schoolwork is challenging (as we expected), he is gaining an understanding of religion, and his friends are of all races. Lastly, I have to say the kids at St James are happy. I'm on campus everyday, and all I see are lots of smiling faces. I can t wait till my daughters a little older so she can go to St James too :o)
St. James' is a small school with a BIG problem - bullying. For years administration has ignored this problem, especially if the bullies are the children of the affluent and big financial donors to the school. For obvious reasons administration has stuck their heads in the sand when it comes to this growing problem in the St. James' community, while the bullies are running a muck. I think that the parents of these children know that their kids have a serious social problem, but they also know that the school needs money, their money. In the meantime bullying is a rampant problem and administration does not want to confront the problem or the parents of the problem. Money talks at St. James . The bullying includes both physical and verbal attacks. This is a problem that seriously needs to be addressed and the school needs to take a stand against the bullies no matter who their parents are.
Thank you Saint James. We have a happy well rounded eager learner. The school is an academic school with a warm heart. The parent community is open and inviting and as diverse as they come. We are so happy we found St. James and can only hope that our child's education in the future can compare.
We are very happy at St. James'. It is a great mix of strong academics and the fun classes like art and music and computer lab. We are a non-religious family and are happy that our daughter is getting exposure to a strong moral education in a liberal and inclusive (not dogmatic) environment.
We absolutely love St. James. The staff is so solid and the school itself is quite remarkable. Our daughter is super happy and her friends are all really down to earth normal kids with equally cool parents. We have found St. James to be a jewel of a school in the middle of the city. It has great values, caring teachers and an amazing new head of school, Debbi David. The academics are strong and so are the kids. We love it here.