My oldest son who is now 25 years old and an employees college grad. went to JCOS from preschool - 2nd grade. My youngest son(now 18 and going to college) went to JCOS for 7-9th grades. Both of my sons are gifted and needed the freedom to pursue their passions. School is a little weak on the academics so you have to be willing to think outside the testing, grade box.They both had wonderful experiences and gained lifelong skills in interpersonal relationship and self direction. Both have grown into caring, creative adults who have found their own direction. This school is about the people not the test scores. WONDERFUL place!!!
I am a current senior at JCOS. I have been going there for only three years, so I know what a traditional school is like. At traditional schools I spent hours a night working on homework, and dreaming of my future. high school was an experience I had to just get through, not one I planned to enjoy. Switching to JCOS made that enjoyment possible. From trips to the Sundance Film festival to a week long improv intensive in Chicago. I am one of the few students who can say I loved my high school years. I saw the college readiness, and test readiness scores were low. this all depends on how self directed the students are. I am guessing the test readiness is based on the CSAP, however many students who I know scored from a 25 to a 30 on the ACT. I personally was accepted to 3 of the four colleges I applied to, and was told by a former harvard admissions man that my application essay was one of the best he had seen. Don't assume the school is bad, test it out for yourself. Above all, dont let fears of not getting into college stop you from enjoying highschool.
This is an amazing school for a self starting student. Don't plan on dumping you kid off at an alternative school and expect them to graduate. Sure, they will last in the system but they'll get little or nothing from their education if YOU and YOUR child are not involved!
We visited 10 schools, from tradition, HGT to Montessori, before deciding on the Open School. The school was actually recommended to us by an educational psychologist. I am very happy with our decision! Our son qualified for HGT programs but we found that the learner centered, inquiry based approach and experiential education at JCOS suited his learning, social, and intellectual needs more than other programs. We loved that the teachers loop and they KNOW their students and their needs really, really well. Multi-aged classrooms and leveled grouping have challenged him, he has friends across grade levels, and the experiential elements have him asking us if he gets to go to school. It is not unusual for him to come home talking about opposing forces, flight, and rocket launching. The students are given the skills to problem solve and those skills are used across all subjects. The students problem solve openly with each other as well and it refreshing to see this kind of school community. We also love that the school is diverse. I would love to see more parental involvement. Perhaps this will change. Otherwise...awesome, unique, perfect fit for our inquisitive, bright kid!
As a recent graduate, I can attest to the immeasurable power that the Open School has to change lives and encourage students to learn and achieve. Moving beyond standardization and quantitative methods of assessment, a personal approach is utilized in order to give students positive adult and community interactions that help them realize how to utilize resources and appreciate learning for the sake of learning itself. Now that I am attending college, I have noticed that it is much easier for me to engage in discussions than some of my peers, and also that my ability to think critically was honed before I set foot on campus. I could not be a stronger advocate for the Open School and I recommend it for any student who is self-directed, passionate and intrinsically motivated.
I was at Open my entire life, until last year I moved to Arizona to live with my dad. Now I'm a junior at Show Low High School. I took huge advantage of open school, and used it for the wrong reasons... It was a huge mistake, and I'm paying for it by not having any transcripts from my freshman year. Open is life changing... it changed my life. You will learn things you couldn't even imanage of learning. It wasn't for me... because I've come to discover that I am not a very self-directed person. Just please, don't look at JCOS as a joke. Because it isn't. It's an incredible, indescribable school.
I was once a former student (Grades 2-8.) I enjoyed my time here during my first 4 years here, but once I went into Middle School which is for some reason now called 'Pre-Walkabout,' I felt like I was very out of date with my education. To begin with, the lack of teacher controlled learning meant that there was less of lecturing periods, which meant for me, less learning. Some of the students were extremely disrespectful, and the discipline made me think that the administrators were listless most of the time. The students there are required to take trips, even if they like them or not in order to 'graduate' from the school. Classes are so easy to pass, you just need to write a half sheet of paper, and you're done.
I am currently enrolled at Jefferson County Open School. I love it! The lack of teacher controlled learning is exactly what many kids need to open up with their self directedness, passions, and creativity. I personally could not stand being at a regular school, it is so controlled and very, very limited. But when i came to the open school i explored my passions, and i know that i will be much better off when i am an adult then i ever would be attending a regular school. Please don't bash the school just because it was not the fit for you or your children. Because i love it and would not rather be anywhere else.