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PK-8
Private
Solana Beach, CA

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623 South Nardo Avenue
Solana Beach, CA 92075

(858) 755-1777
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Map of St. James Academy address.

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June 29, 2014
The person below is right about bullying, but it is worst among the parents who throw their weight around - with each other, the principal and the poor teachers. And it is really sad when they exclude other kids. My friends and I agree that our kids had an awesome year. There was lots of controversy in our class this year, but we want everyone to know that 6th grade is sensational, and we are looking forward to a stupendous junior high!

- submitted by a parent
June 10, 2014
Unfortunately, the main problem with this school is Bullying. Especially in the mid-level grades. The Principal does not address the bullying with the questionable families- she fears upsetting them since they give the school lots of money. Nice, huh??

- submitted by a parent
December 13, 2012
Wow, what a great school indeed! The teachers are fabulous and that is the most important thing. They are so dedicated, professional and patient - I don't know how they do it all. If you are looking for a school that is the whole package, this is it. Faith, community, safety, academics, arts, music, foreign language, lab sciences, technology, field trips...nothing is missing. Parents are really involved too, and that is a positive thing. I can't stress enough, from the warm and loving preschool, through the fun and challenging younger grades, to the high achieving upper grades, what a great experience this school will provide your child. I am so happy my children have been here.

- submitted by a parent
September 23, 2012
Saint James Academy is an excellent school!. My child has thrived here. The academics are above standard, (the school is adding Ipads this year), the teachers care about the children and there is a strong sense of community. Parents are encouraged to be involved with volunteering and are welcome in the classrooms. The children are taught to be kind and to respect one another. The school truly is a gem and we are could not be more proud to send our child here. Definitely check it out!

- submitted by a parent
October 15, 2011
I have had the opposite experience from some previous posters: I love this school, the teachers and the principal. First grade was fantastic for my child, and we love the teacher. She is great with the kids - loving, patient, kind, firm, and dedicated. She taught them so much! I don't know why anybody would ever leave St. James!

- submitted by a parent
September 26, 2011
Another Christian value is honestly. How many of last year's graduating class tested into geometry? The year before the school shared with the parents the high school math placement scores. They bragged about the high number of kids that tested into geometry. Last year's class parents could not get an answer out of the principal - because she knew the scores were a reflection on the poor math teaching skills this class had received. Last year's class was taught math for two years by in inept teacher and their math scores reflected it. This inept teacher is still at the school.

- submitted by a community member
May 21, 2011
Good grief ! The negative comments seem more focused on the personal struggles parents have rather than the quality of education children receive here. Enrollment is down like many private schools in poor economic times. Also, there are some excellent alternatives nearby in the public schools and a competing Catholic school which opened within the past five years. St. James Academy is a traditional, Catholic education for K-8 students. The standards are high and parents are expected to help bring their children along in the Faith, volunteer for the school or parish, and help in fundraising efforts. We're expected to act like ...well, Christians and I am glad the standards are what they are here. It shows in the results. The results are indisputable. SJA graduates go on to high schools like Cathedral Catholic, St Augustine Prep, Our Lady of Peace, Santa Fe Christian, as well as the fine public schools. It is not an exception to hear that SJA graduates attend Notre Dame, Boston College, Villanova, Stanford, Berkeley, Gonzaga, Santa Clara, UCLA, USD,DePaul, USC, among others, SJA Graduates become achievers. Submitted by Brian Brady

- submitted by a parent
May 18, 2011
I feel badly for parents who may be conned by the glowing reviews. They probably have been written by St. James employees or parent volunteers. In a nutshell, the teachers simply do not care. The cold, unapproachable principal's main concern is money. Parent volunteers are allowed to play favorites. It is true that St. James does rely heavily on parent volunteerism. These parents truly run the show. One parent coach played her own daughter and her daughter's friends heavily while letting other equally skilled girls sit on the bench. Many parents were furious and complained, but the principal did nothing. Another BIG volunteer and PTA member put extremely inappropriate photos on her Facebook regarding her child's class project. The principal was made aware. Again, she took no action. The parent is still a HUGE presence at the school. This, and the poor quality of teachers compelled us to find a new school. Our children BLOOMED in their new school. The teachers actually care about their students. Volunteers are not authority figures. The teams are coached by professionals. The Christmas program is run by teachers. It is such relief it is to be out of such a poorly run school.

- submitted by a parent
April 07, 2011
Opinions are subjective. Lets be fair as to what this school is about. 1) Small school - 1 class per grade. 2) Solid academics - The bar is set high and can be challenging at times for all. 3) Well funded. - active parents organize and raise A LOT of money that not only fill a $900 gap per student but provides for additional expenses. 4) excellent facility. - Smart boards in every class, updated computers, very nice buildings. Strong financial management. 5) Strong family connections -'parents in prayers' groups, parents in class. Social fund raisers. 6) Noticeably well mannered and mature students. The expectations are high at this school and it can be challenging for almost all at times - for parents as well. 1 class per grade and they don't teach to Lowest common denominator. This may not be best for some, although as they strive to hit the bar and meet the challenge they learn more than a mediocre experience. No school or teacher is perfect. Not all parents will get along. Maybe because its smaller the little issue become larger in scale to some. St James is an academical above-average school that will more than prepare your child for the next step.

- submitted by a parent
April 04, 2011
Saint James Academy, I give it two thumbs down. Moving on after this year is over.

- submitted by a parent
March 27, 2011
A once great school that has gone to the dogs. The staff, parents and new principal all deserve their current miserable state. The school is in major financial trouble despite the flood of Range Rovers, Mercedes and other high-end vehicles driven by the "Housewives of Orange County" wannabes. It's perhaps one of the only Catholic schools I've ever seen where the priest is so detached most kids have no idea who he is. The parish is in financial ruin and so is the school. With the value of the land - and many rumors about the dioceses selling the land - I doubt SJA will be around in 5 years. Go someplace else...St. John in Encinitas or Notre Dame in Carmel Valley. We moved our one child and it's like shackles were removed.

- submitted by a parent
March 17, 2011
I have two boys at this school and although they are not above average they are doing fine. There is no perfect school. This school has its issues, but the new principal is very approachable and willing to work with each family if you have a legitimate concern. Everyone from the front office staff to the junior high staff really cares about the kids. The curriculum is challenging (but that's what we want, right?) and the kids are definitely not taught down to, but the teachers are willing work with your child if needed. There are lots of after school options, and activities from sports to homework club. If you are looking for a challenging curriculum, good teachers, and a place where your kids can grow spiritually and academically this is a good school for you.

- submitted by a parent
March 10, 2011
We drive far so our child can attend here because the school fosters a sense of community & encourages stewardship: teachers look out for the kids, families look out for other families, older kids look out for younger ones. It s also academically challenging in the best way. I love the organic garden the kindergarten class nurtures, while at the same time learning the science behind it, the Spanish classes that teach our children a valuable skill & cultural appreciation, the music & arts programs that instill a love of culture and builds confidence among the kids. I love the feedback mechanism the school has: always an open door by the Principal & teachers where feedback is heard & acted upon. I love the family concept they have with the kids, grouping one kid per grade & forming school families of K-8th graders. These kids care about each other & that s fostered by programs the school puts in place. I can t think of a better place for my kids to go to school, to be challenged academically, to grow spiritually both in a religious sense as well as a larger sense of understanding how one can impact the world around them. It s a rare commodity & one that is taught 100 fold at St James

- submitted by a parent
March 10, 2011
This school is a hidden gem! It is a wonderful community of people that really care. My son is learning so much and is only in kindergarten! He is now reading at a first grade level thanks to the curriculum at St. James. I can't say enough positive things about my experience here so far. The principal is doing a great job as well - I can only imagine how difficult it can be dealing with parents in general, but particularly in this community but she handles it with grace, helping everyone feel included and appreciated. For the most part, the parents are all great, active in the community, kind to one another and love each and every one of the kids. The staff is wonderful, curriculum is robust and overall it is a great place!

- submitted by a parent
March 07, 2011
Academically this is a great school if you have an above average kid. They will be challenged and get a good education. Some are frustrated, many of my friends have tutors for their kids. I think all of the teachers are very good, except for a couple. Leadership is lacking, and the principal needs to put the best interest of our kids first when she makes decisions. While it is faith-filled with the potential to be better, I do not think the community is as great as the comment below said it was. There is a small group of truly kind and generous people, but there is too much gossip and entitlement, and not enough sincere appreciation for the school or respect for the teachers. We have been in this school for many years, and as a parent of three I can say that if you are looking for a school with a great group of kids, a nice campus, and lots of academic and extra curricular opportunities for your child, this is a school to consider seriously.

- submitted by a parent
March 03, 2011
I currently have 3 children enrolled at St. James Academy. They are all very happy at school and thriving in their classes. There are many extra-curricular activities and sports that are offered that my children enjoy. The principal, who is in her 2nd year at SJA, has made many positive changes and there are many more to come. The families and community at SJA are wonderful. Please don't let the negativity of some of these reviews influence you on that. The experience is what you make of it, and first & foremost, it is your child's journey. If you are looking for a solid, spiritually fulfilling, top-notch education for your child, you should consider St. James Academy.

- submitted by a parent
February 21, 2011
I am a former parent. I can say confidently from many years of experience that the St. James program develops well-rounded, well-spoken, well-educated, responsible students. St. James graduates stand out when they get to high school for their maturity, thoughtfulness and strong capabilities in every area. The new principal (2010-11 is her second year) methodically assesses programs and does not hesitate to make improvements where needed. The parent community is smart and supportive. Many parents are affluent with very high expectations for perfection---some miss the big picture at times. Note that if your child has special needs-on the low or very high achieving academic end, this may not be the school for you.

- submitted by a parent
February 12, 2011
I have two children attending SJA with a third entering next year. Prior to enrolling, we interviewed two other parochial schools in the area. We decided on SJA because of the community. The families at this school are very welcoming- but you have to be open to it and put your time in also. Like any school, you can find negatives when you look or become disgruntled. Overall I'm very satisfied with where the school is and where it's going. Our new principle is a strong leader and has a clear vision for the school. If you are looking for a school where you can bend the rules for your child to stand out and succeed alone, this may not be the environment for you. However, if you're looking for a school where the whole community is there to support your child as well as their own (as has been my experience) then check out Saint James. For my kids the educational curriculum has been great, but their "whole person" education has been amazing!

- submitted by a parent
January 14, 2011
SJA is a fantastic environment for my children both for the quality of education and the cocoon of a loving small school. I agree that not all the teachers are super fantastic but, where are they all great? The school is sweet and so are the children that go there. If you want a school with no drugs, no bullies, no sex, this is the school for you. My children score in the tof 1% of the nation. The school has a lot to with this. I am a working mom and so are my friends. We do not feel excluded in any way.

- submitted by a parent
November 08, 2010
SJA has been an excellent place for my two children to go to school. The new principal has throughtfully implemented changes to the school that have enhanced the learning experience as well as the grounds, The whole-child curriculum is seen in the time given to the strong music program and character-buillding exercises. If you are looking for a faith-based school with a strong, involved parent community, I highly recommend SJA.

- submitted by a parent
November 06, 2010
Each person we have encountered, from the principal to the staff and teachers, to the parents, is dedicated to the children of SJA and their education. This is anything but a typical school. SJA embodies all of the things that most parents seek for their children an excellent education in an environment where children are nurtured and encouraged to grow as individuals and as members of their school and broader community. We have felt welcomed at this school from the very first phone inquiry. Our children have attended an excellent public school and another Catholic school. Having this frame of reference allows us to appreciate the educational experience our children are now receiving. Every day I drive past the excellent public school and several other private and parochial schools to get to SJA. Our children wish they had been at SJA all along, and so do we.

- submitted by a parent
October 18, 2010
Those two recent reviews sound like they were written by a St. James staff member. Many parents have removed their children this year. The phrase "in droves" is not an exaggeration. Most of them have left during the sixth grade year. The sixth grade class is taught by two women who couldn't be more inept and apathetic. Their classroom atmosphere is negative and demoralizing. During Back to School night, one joked that she would be pocketing the tardy fees they are now charging the parents, then said "Cha-ching". Socially awkward, punitive and mean-spirited are apt descriptions of these two. The new principal is similar. You can bring concerns to her attention, but she will do nothing. She is well aware of the problems but either too intimidated or too disinterested to make any change. They can continue to bump up their ratings. Word gets around outside of Great Schools as well.

- submitted by a parent
October 15, 2010
St. James is top notch. We are thrilled with the learning environment and education our children are receiving. The teachers are first rate and the principal is effectively executing her vision for the school. New programs have been introduced that augment the core curriculum. The school has struck a great balance with challenging the kids, while making learning fun. Our children enjoy their classmates, teachers and the overall learning environment.

- submitted by a parent
October 15, 2010
We interviewed 4 private schools before selecting St James Academy. This was several years ago and we are extremely pleased with our decision to attend this school. We have two children and both have flourished in this academic and spiritual environment. The curriculum is challenging and well rounded. In each classroom, we have found the teachers to be strict but nurturing. The current Principal, now on her second year, has made tremendous gains in all respects. We feel very blessed to be members of this community.

- submitted by a parent
October 13, 2010
Disagree with poster below. I think they are making up their "info". New principal has made major positive changes-- both academically and socially. School has a welcoming feel for students and parents. My older child was extremely well prepared for Cathedral, especially in math.

- submitted by a parent
April 19, 2010
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a student
October 20, 2009
St. James is above the norm when it comes to academics. I do agree with the one poster who said that some teachers should have retired years ago. There is one in particular that comes to mind. It is obvious that she no longer enjoys teaching or even likes children. If you are not able to volunteer many hours or spend your every waking minute at the school, you will feel excluded by the other helicopter moms. It's a tight knit clique of mini van SAHMs, definitely a 'who you know' situation. However, as stated earlier, the education is superior compared to other schools in the area. So if you're looking for a sense of community and are not the cookie cutter St. James mom, I would not recommend the school. However, if your only priority is your child's education, there is no school better.

- submitted by a parent
September 17, 2009
We have great teachers, talented and smart children, and a very strong parent community. SJA families are always there for eachother and are constantly striving to improve the educational needs of their children and foster the faith of parish.

- submitted by a parent
no rating July 24, 2009
This school does not stress academics. Very disappointing to spend so much money on children's education, but for the children to be lagging so far behind children from comparable schools in the area.

- submitted by a parent
May 15, 2009
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a parent
January 18, 2009
As one mom put it -'If this is a big happy family, why do I feel like a stepsister?' It all depends on who you know if you'll feel included or not. Some teachers clearly should have retired years ago. If you had any complaints, they were not heard - it was like hitting a brick wall. Unfortunately we did not love the school and are so glad we left when we did. It was disappointing.

- submitted by a parent
December 28, 2008
SJA's small population cultivates an amazing sense of community among the students and parents alike. The school successfully grooms the students to assume additional levels of leadership as they move through the grades, resulting in an extremely confident, competent group of students at graduation. Recent changes at the school have included some new teachers at the 7th and 8th grade levels that are adding a new level of challenge and academic rigor, which the school needed, IMO. The size of the school is a huge benefit, as the students feel very comfortable in their environment, allowing for maximum success in their learning. We have been very happy at St. James, and look forward to more years of success there. If your student has special needs requiring aid (such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, etc.), SJA may not be the place for you, as the public schools have many more resources available.

- submitted by a parent
October 02, 2008
This school is a bit fast moving, and my student complains that there is no time in-between classes to get your books, and you never get free-dress

- submitted by a parent
September 13, 2008
I do not think that the principle at this school is very organized, or has any impathy for her kids

- submitted by a student
February 02, 2007
My two boys were successful at St. James and continued their success in a tough curriculum at a Catholic high school. The strength of staff at St. James Academy and the leadership of their principal are incredible. This school is the best kept secret in the north coast! When your children attend SJA they are joining not only a spiritual community but becoming a member of a larger family. I highly recommend it.

- submitted by a parent
October 25, 2005
All three of my kids went to St. James. One has graduated from Villanova U, one is still at Villanova and the last is a senior in h.s. They were all well prepared for rigorous high schools and were not overwhelmed by any subject. St. James' academic programs were tough, but the kids were given the tools to achieve their best. They have a great music program, the upper grades have an excellent art teacher and there are Varsity & JV sports throughout the year. There are lots of opportunities to be involved and the principal/teacher/parent communication and interaction is excellent. The school has a fantastic principal, Donna Kruzona. Exellent administrator and really cares about the kids.

- submitted by a parent
September 01, 2003
This review submitted without content.


- submitted by a former student
August 27, 2003
excellent school that truly cares about your childs education.

- submitted by a parent
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St. James Academy
623 South Nardo Avenue, Solana Beach, CA  92075
(858) 755-1777
Last modified St. James Academy is a Private school that serves grades PK-8
St. James Academy Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 38 reviews. Top