Students enrolled 823
School leader DR. MARY GUNTER

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546 Mary Esther Boulevard
Mary Esther, FL 32569

School website
(850) 833-3321
(850) 833-3292
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Map of Liza Jackson Preparatory School address.

4 stars
Based on 49 ratings

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April 24, 2014
(First, I do not recommend this school for boys attending the 5th grade. This opinion is a collective one. It may change but has been the case for a couple years now.) On a broader note, the social scene is welcoming and the teachers support healthy communication among the students. The sports' clubs are competitive. The academic standards are high. The middle school crowd in no way affects the elementary students being in such close proximity. Cursive handwriting, arithmetic facts, book reports, etc. are a few things among other lessons that are insisted upon students to exercise which is not the case in the surrounding area public schools.

- submitted by a parent
March 07, 2014
What do you think others should know? BEWARE I WOULD NOT RECOMMEND IT TO ANYONE!!!!! JAIL

- submitted by a parent
February 14, 2014
My daughter is in 5th grade at Liza. I agree that expectations are high. If your child can't do outstanding work, and if tests stress them out, it's probably not a good fit. Just to be clear, anybody can petition for a spot here, via lottery. It is not exlusionary in that sense. However, you have to really want to be here, and the lawyers and doctors in town DO want their kids here. If that kind of "exclusivity" bothers you, then you won't like it here. If football and cheer is important to you, it's not the right place, either. If, on the other hand, you want the best education for your kid (and can put up with the whining about uniforms), the aggressive expectations placed on their little shoulders will give them the best public education in the district. My daughter took a while to figure out what was expected of her. Her teachers were tough, but they were always willing to stay and work with her, to help her figure out how to be organized, to manage her time, and to be successful. She has become so much more capable than I ever thought she could. Liza has taught more than the three-R's. It has taught study habits, organizational skills, and self-confidence.

- submitted by a parent
May 20, 2013
Unless you start at this school young stay away! My 3rd grader had a blast (uniform being the exception) and I LOVED her teacher. My 8th grader came in late and was overwhelmed and unsupported! I had to pull her from the school 3 days before the end of the the 3rd quarter because she was having such a hard time with bullies and snobby, well-off classmates. If I had to do it over again I never would have put my 8th grader there. The principle did not even ask why I was pulling my student just days before the end of the quarter. Not very responsible in my opinion.

- submitted by a parent
March 11, 2013
I am a former student at this school and I must say it has done wonders for my education! I grew up with fellow students, made lasting friendships, and most importantly I achieved academic success. Now, as a succeeding college student, I attribute my success to this school; I still use many skills that Liza taught me like proper note taking and active listening. I never excelled at math or reading until I got the one-on-one time with the teachers/faculty that the school had to offer; I could always find help when I needed it. As a student, I experienced the highest level of compassion that school/faculty could offer. I was comforted when sick or hurt and was always given the attention I needed in order to do well. There was always a place to fit in with the numerous extracurriculars and the classroom activities. I feel that an inside opinion of the school from an actual student is very important when making the decision on whether or not this school is right for you or your child. Liza Jackson is a phenomenal school and it is safe to say that I would not be the student that I am today without the care and quality teaching this school has to offer.

- submitted by a community member
November 03, 2012
I am a previous student. While there, I hated the discouragement of individuality of students. It is frowned upon to be an individual. They claim to teach open mindedness but in reality it is shoved so far down our throats it becomes the exact opposite. You can not teach a child to be open minded. Also, as a member of student council and many other committees, I spent a sufficient amount of time around the administration. The assistant principal runs the whole school to continue funding her own projects that do nothing to benefit the school. She is a two-faced lying hypocrite. The principal does nothing and seems rather clueless. I am very dissapointed and wish I had attended any other school possible. Though Liza will keep your kids safe, it will make the a miserable robot. Take them to Bruner or Meigs. Anywhere but here. The preparation is awful. Teachers try their hardest to teach, but with the school mandated curriculum, they can't teach what they need to. The school simply cares about its own ratings, funding, and FCAT scores. Keep your child far away from this miserable excuse for a school.

- submitted by a community member
October 09, 2012
All four of my children have gone to Liza. 2 out of 4 have excelled. It's all in how your child is wired. My daughter started there in 5th grade. 6th was a definite challenge, but we worked through it. 7th and 8th were a breeze. When she enrolled at Choctaw, they said they "love getting Liza kids". My youngest has been there since day 1 of Kindergarten, and has loved every moment. He fits in well, and is very happy. My other son went there for a year and a half, and could not keep up with the rigorous demands, and left for a local middle school. My middle son is an ESE student, which Liza is not set up for. Had I known that when I accepted his offer, I would have turned it down. I'm working with the teachers to get some kind of balance with him for the rest of the year but I do not foresee him staying at Liza next year. That's not my child's fault and it's not Liza's fault. They just aren't equipped for Special Needs children. I will keep my youngest son there until he graduates 8th grade. Their Staff is wonderful, and I always feel welcome at the school, even just to drop by a class for a quick hug. If you have an easy breezy student, then this is your school. ESE need not apply.

- submitted by a parent
September 14, 2012
Liza is not worth waiting for... There are far better public schools in the area that offer many more opportunities for students. The administration at this school does not care about its students, especially those who struggle academically. Students who need remediation in math and reading are punished by being excluded from participating in exploratory wheel classes such as art, music, and PE. During the middle school years, this type of treatment is detrimental to students' mental and social well being. The staff and faculty here are great people who work very hard under an oblivious and self-centered administration. Students don't see this, and it is for their own well being that they don't. Liza's administration focuses primarily on FCAT scores, pushing students so hard that young students taking the exam become physically ill from anxiety. These scores give them their A+ rating. They are not an A+ school. They are far from it. Teacher turnover at this school is extremely high, with approximately a dozen teachers leaving this past year alone. Among new hires were teachers that did not have a bachelor's degree in the subject they were hire to teach. Don't waste your time here.

- submitted by a teacher
July 23, 2012
I am very concerned with what I am hearing about the band program for this coming year. Many of us are paying monthly rental fees at local music stores so our children can be in a band class with an experienced instrumental music teacher. I am hearing that there will be a "monitor" scheduled to cover the class (without a music degree) and the students are expected to practice what they cover in private lessons. How many will be taking lessons after school hours? Can the monitor help with notes, rhythms, how to put a clarinet together, and the multitude of necessary skills that need to be taught at the beginning level? What happens to the students who started band last year? Are they in the same monitored class? I do hope that we have a teacher with a music (major) degree. The decision to have a monitor cover any band class rates as an unsatisfactory.

- submitted by a community member
April 13, 2012
My son attended LJPS from Pre-K until 2nd grade. I was always very satisfied with the level of communication and genuine interest in my child's development that was displayed during our time there. Our family relocated in early 2011 and I have been reminded by the public system why I loved LJPS so very much. We were accepted today by a charter school with near identical ideals as LJPS and I am thrilled to get my son back where he belongs. To any skeptical parents reading reviews, know that your child's academic development requires the parents, students and teachers to participate. The overwhelming consensus of this school is that it is one of the best in the state. There are so many reasons why and so few why not to chose LJPS. In my family's opinion LJPS is a fantastic place for students and parents!

- submitted by a parent
March 13, 2012
Liza is just so horrid. I would not recommend it to anyone. The principal is a lazy brood who does nothing but leaves all of the work to the staff. The children don't know the meaning of an open mind

- submitted by a parent
March 11, 2012
The children who go to Liza are living in a jail. The small ones like it, because all they do is color and read stories, but as you progress within the institution, you see how monotone the mental colors of their minds are. They will not teach you about how to survive in life, nor will they teach you properly. It's like they hire the teachers only to scold the students and give them failing grades. The students have no ambition, no goals in life. They are only being taught to sit and take tests, be "smart". The assistant principal is the worst. She is a lying witch who obviously picks favorites. The principal doesn't even do anything!

- submitted by a parent
August 04, 2011
The Liza Way...... Sorry, the school was opened with good intentions and maybe it worked for a while... but all it did for my son was lower his expectations and his FCAT scores.... It is just not the model school that they are selling..... Too many young, childless, beginner teachers who should be listening instead of preaching and too many idealists who should open their eyes and quit believing thier own propaganda. We have moved my son back to the "public-public schools" at least they admit their faults and don't pretend to be better than the rest.....

- submitted by a parent
July 12, 2011
The idea originally meant for this school was a good one. When my child started in 4th grade, we were very pleased. In the following years we started noticing a decline in abilities of new teachers. We also started noticing a decrease in the original intent of the school, that being a preparatory school. The rules originally in place for acceptance when by the wayside. No it is a school that determines what is done by who holds the most money. The math teacher this last year for my child was unable to keep her word, was poor at controlling the classroom setting, and was an avid lier. Her poor teaching ability is evidenced by the significant drop in Math FCAT scores this year from 93% to 70%, the lowest it's been in at least 4 years. My kids are slowly being challenged less and less. Hiring new teachers with little to no experience doesn't help. Teachers that have been there from the beginning notice the change, and don't like it. Although it rates high now... I can see numbers dropping in the future.

- submitted by a parent
September 28, 2010
Both of my children attend Liza Jackson. One is in 5th grade and one is in 2nd grade. The teachers greet my children with smiles every morning in their doorway and really care about them as individuals. My 2nd grader came to this school behind in Reading and her teacher has not only realized this, she has put her into a program to catch her up with the rest of the class. The Parent/Teacher organization called P.A.T.H.S. is fantastic. I have begun helping more with them this year and have been impressed with how hard they work for our kids. My older child was in the play Annie they put on last year and had a wonderful experience and joined the volleyball team this year. Liza has made them well rounded, well educated, organized, and happy. I am thrilled.

- submitted by a parent
November 09, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
no rating August 01, 2009
LJPS continues to grow professionally and personally. There is always room for improvement and we (teachers and administrators) strive for that. Do we have growing pains ? Yes all good schools do. That s how a school continues to improve. Overall, LJPS is a solid learning environment. Both of my children attend LJPS even though they could be attending excellent schools in Niceville. I choose to bring them with me to experience the Liza Way.

- submitted by a teacher
June 25, 2009
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- submitted by a parent
April 26, 2009
Liza Jackson is a wonderful school that exemplifies all the qualities I want in a school for my children!! It is just like the best private schools without writing the check every month!!

- submitted by a parent
no rating March 27, 2009
This is my lovely school and I love it very much. The best learning and school materials plus amazing teachrs who make it esy for you to learn.

- submitted by a student
January 30, 2009
Liza Jackson is an excellent school with amazing and caring professional teachers. My hat is off to them for all of the time and energy that they put into their classes. God bless.

- submitted by a parent
no rating January 27, 2009
As an elementary school LJPS is fabulous. I would give it 4 stars. The teachers know the students well and it is very much a family atmosphere. Teh elementary administration is supportive and understanding of both teachers and parents. The middle school, on the other hand, is lacking. I would not reccommend it. I give the middle school 1 star. There are too many administrators which has led to great amounts of inconsistency. In order to keep the middle school full (a numbers game) often times students are allowed to slide by without following the rulees and policies set forth. Again, there is great inconsistency. LJPS as a middle school does not even compare to others in the area. It doesn't have the opportunities that other middle school offer. It really is a shame considering the elementary is exemplery.

- submitted by a parent
August 09, 2008
I have been very pleased with the attention and care my child received from Mr. Brown. I am sad to hear that he is no longer with LJPS. He was a true role model for kids and he really showed them that learning can be fun!

- submitted by a parent
February 27, 2008
This is a great school! My child went to Florosa Elem last year and the difference is like night and day. To compare: LJPS has playground equipment on a well kept playground. They have PE rain or shine, because they have indoor facilities. They have Tech/ Computer, Spanish and Art classes. They have after school sports and activities. They go on several great field trips throughout the year. Florosa Elem had none of these things. LJPS has much higher standards. The school and staff seem much more professional, as they should!

- submitted by a parent
no rating February 06, 2008
LJPS is an awesome school. I raise my grandson and he's been there since kindergarten. He loves this school and the teachers. He has all the help he needs in every subject and all the teachers are so helpful. The new principal is great and is learning to know all the children. Keep up the good work.

- submitted by a parent
January 28, 2008
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- submitted by a community member
January 25, 2008
We have a new principal this year and it just does not seem the same. Dr. Dawson greeted each child a the door (by name!) and always cared about the students. As for the teachers, we have been very pleased. We love Liza Jackson Prep!

- submitted by a parent
January 15, 2008
I absolutly hate this school.

- submitted by a student
January 05, 2008
I am not sure about the new leadership of the school this year. The new principal does not seem to know the children or have the same energy Dr. Dawson did. I hope everything will be fine but it does not seem the same.

- submitted by a parent
October 03, 2007
We would pay major money for our child to attend this school. We absolutely love it. It is by far the best public school we have ever seen. A++++++

- submitted by a parent
August 28, 2007
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- submitted by a community member
August 03, 2007
There is a new principal at the school now. I hope everything will improve with time. My family no longer attends Liza Jackson because of the poor cirriculum and poor leadership. Hope the new principal can turn the program around.

- submitted by a parent
August 02, 2007
A poor school. A very spotty ciriculum and a poor middle school program.

- submitted by a parent
July 18, 2007
My daughter recently graduated from Liza and I want to thank the school and the teachers for the caring and commitment to my child. I always felt I could talk to the teachers and even though she was not thrilled with the uniform she loved the school and cried on graduation day.

- submitted by a parent
July 13, 2007
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- submitted by a parent
June 29, 2007
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- submitted by a parent
April 29, 2007
As a parent who has also been at LJPS since its inception, my family has had an entirely different experience at the school. While, in the beginning, LJPS started out as a 'family friendly' school, it has become as any other public school. Parent involvement is discouraged in the middle school years. There has been a high number of teacher turn-over from year to year, so there is no consistency in the way the children are taught. A lot of children from LJPS are tutored because the curriculum is hit and miss. FCAT and funding have become the focus rather than the children and families. Children have become a 'faceless number' ready to be replaced by the huge number of children on the waiting list. The school has become the 'lesser of two evils' meaning, safer and cleaner than other schools, but suffering in academics and leadership.

- submitted by a parent
February 11, 2007
I'm a parent ofan LJPS student. My child has attended theschool since its inception. It's not the school it used tobe. We used to be onebig family reaching for thesame goals. Mostof theteachers are terrific,but seem unhappy.

- submitted by a parent
February 01, 2007
My baby sister went to ljps for most of her academic career. My sister was in a public school & not doing very well. My entire family really got to know all of her teachers & ljps was always supportive of my involvement in her schooling. I pray they have an opening when my 2 year old is ready for school - I wouldn't dream of enrolling him elsewhere. Personally, I am not worried about the school's rating on the fcat - standardized testing is not a priority, I don't believe they truly show a child's success. Thanks ljps & mr handley!

- submitted by a parent
January 31, 2007
My children have attended Liza Jackson since it opened and they are both thriving. The professionalism of the staff shows in everything they do. My children are cared for and held to high academic and behavioral standards. Kids who don't follow the rules are dealt with quickly and fairly so they do not disrupt class for other students. The arts programs are first rate, and my kids have been taking a foreign language since they were in pre-k. I highly recommend LJPS to families who care about a structured, loving environment for their children.

- submitted by a parent
January 31, 2007
I love LJPS. Students are treated respectfully and expected to behave respectfully. While traditional academics-reading, writing, arithmetic-are the primary focus, time is taken to cultivate an appreciation of the arts and music as well as foreign language. I like the small school environment. Teachers and administrators know me and my family and are sensitive to our needs. I believe that LJPS has the best interests of my student and all students at heart. They do a fantastic job of teaching the total child. I highly recommend this school to anyone who desires a personalized education experience for their children.

- submitted by a parent
November 20, 2006
Ask questions about procedures and you and your child's life will be made miserable. This school was the worst experience for me as a parent. They want parent involvement however they dictate everything. If I had to do it over again, would I? Heck no! My child made friends there and that's the reason I kept my child there. Math, I had to have outside help who knew how to teach the subject better then the teachers taught the subject. A whole class failed a test and instead of going over the section the teacher moved forward. Thank goodness for my outside help. Really wish I had not pulled my child out from the previous school. Watch your BACK!

- submitted by a parent
November 10, 2006
As a parent whose children have been at Liza Jackson from the beginning, the truth about Liza Jackson is never told. If a child is a 'soldier' and never 'causes trouble' the administration treats you with respect. If you 'cross' the administration, true personalities are shown. Just remember, there are always two sides to a story. My suggestion is to talk to parents who have been around for years and also those parents who have chosen to withdraw their children.

- submitted by a parent
August 03, 2006
Liza Jackson!! What a great school. We are there on a waiver and I am so thrilled. Changing classes for Reading & Math is the best idea. I wish LJPS went thru to High School. The Art program is the best around. They bring out the artist in every child. Uniforms are a wonderful assest as well. It takes a great deal out of peer pressure. The kids get rewarded with Jeans Day for good behavior and that is something my kids look forward too. Lunch at LJPS could stand improvement. I believe Liza Jackson is the best school around. My kids are happier there then their previous school. More acitivies for them to keep focused. LJPS The Best! They have my vote! I am a picky mother and Homeschooled my kids for 5 years. I wouldn't trust any other school.

- submitted by a parent
February 13, 2006
Reading/Math classes rotate based upon student performance, in other words students are grouped according to tested level instead of age/grade. The school is very good about tutoring/providing extra help when needed in Math/Reading, but the Success For All curriculum leaves a lot to be desired. If a stronger curriculum was used, tutoring, etc would not be needed near as often. Many parents supplement by using Sylvan and private tutoring. Not as much emphasis is placed on History, Science or other studies.

- submitted by a parent
February 13, 2006
There are plenty of extracurricular activities for students. There are social functions, and parents are encouraged to volunteer.

- submitted by a parent
no rating September 02, 2005
My three boys started the first year it opened. One went on to high school and the FCAT scores were no better. My other two went the next year into fourth. By February I withdrew them. The math was overly challenging and not enough help given. One of my sons has learning issues. Needless to say, after many disappointing schools in this area, I now home school, and the children are involved with the Blended School.

- submitted by a parent
June 15, 2005
I have always been impressed at the improvements that continue to unfold at LJPS. The administration & staff listen to the parents & students and make every effort to address problems. It was exciting to learn what new changes were being implemented. I wanted to make sure my son was challenged academically and that he didn't get bored. Each middle school grade consists of approximately 80 students so it is very easy for the teachers to have real relationships with the students. The teachers know which students need enrichment or more challenge and which ones need a word of encouragement. They truly care about the students. The middle school years are an important transition period for 11, 12, & 13 year olds. I was very pleased at the structure & expectations in behavior. LJPS sets high standards in all areas and middle school students survive wearing a uniform.

- submitted by a parent
August 25, 2004
I am not only a parent of a student at LJPS, but I also teach there. I am a strong advocate for the beliefs and mission of the school. I often find myself at the grocery store, the mall, or a birthday party going on and on about how wonderful the school is. I am always sharing the many successes my daughter has experienced, as well as, what an exceptional place LJPS is to work. Sometimes I find myself carrying on and on just like a parent of a newborn baby. All that said, LJPS is the best school I have ever come across! And I know I will never encounter another one that could come close to compare with LJPS.

- submitted by a parent
July 11, 2004
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- submitted by a parent
May 13, 2004
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- submitted by a parent
April 19, 2004
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- submitted by a teacher
January 08, 2004
Our three children have attended Liza Jackson Preparatory School for the past three years and we couldn't be happier! Their tests scores are phenomenal and they continue to be challenged every day. The teachers, staff, and adminstration are all caring and responsible professionals. We are especially pleased with the discipline and enforcement of the rules. We have grown a greater appreciation for Liza Jackson after our oldest daughter began attending a public high school this year, after attending Liza Jackson the two previous years. The differences are overwhelming, and only wish that Liza Jackson's education continued beyound the 8th year!

- submitted by a parent
no rating October 06, 2003
My son is a fourth grader who has been a student at Liza Jackson Preparatory School since second grade. Since he has been attending Liza Jackson, his learning skills have been implemented with great success! Liza Jackson has a strong history since the day they open the doors. The principal not only is a strong support, but she inspires the teachers to do their best. What really excites me is that the children's reading level is tested every 9 weeks. Each child is placed in whatever level they test. It encourages me as a parent to see lots of parent involvement within the school. I am blessed to have my son place in a school that supports him wherever he is in his learning.

- submitted by a parent
July 11, 2003
My child was recently diagnosed with ADD. In previous years, my child had excellent grades and participation. However, the beginning of last school year proved to be very difficult for everyone involved. The staff at Liza Jackson never left our side! I sometimes felt that they contacted me more for information and assistance than I did for their help! I feel they were able to focus on my child's needs because they weren't dealing with behavior problems of other children due to their strict behavior guidelines. I will hate to leave this school in a few years when we move - I will be at the mercy of regular public schools at our new home. Liza Jackson has the right formula and improves on it every year. By the end of the 2003 school year, my child had excellent grades again.In addition, my child had the highest reading and math scores on the FCAT (or any standardized test) that was historically -a personal best!! Thank you Liza Jackson!

- submitted by a parent
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Liza Jackson Preparatory School
546 Mary Esther Boulevard, Mary Esther, FL  32569
(850) 833-3321
Last modified Liza Jackson Preparatory School is a Charter school that serves grades K-8. It has received a GreatSchools rating of 10 out of 10 based on academic quality.
Liza Jackson Preparatory School Rating: 4 out of 5 based on 55 reviews. Top