This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Liza Jackson Preparatory School4
Posted April 24, 2014
- a parent
(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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!