This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
St Johns Country Day School5
Posted November 05, 2014
- a parent
St. Johns Country Day School is a small family environment with good culture for our children to learn. They have given the ability to be well-rounded, and not just focused on academics. They teach extra-curricular activities such as art and music, which are wonderful.
I have 2 children (high school) and 1 grandchild (kindergarten) enrolled at St. Johns Country Day School. We've been with the school for 12 years. So far, what I most like is their focus on individual students. They make an effort to maximize each student's skills to get the best out-of-high-school college positions. They have a very safe learning environment and have many opportunities for extra curricular and sports activities.
Wonderful academic and social experience My daughter just started going to St. John's Country Day School, and so far it has been a wonderful experience both academically and socially. They are very accessible to both students and parents. If there's any questions or concerns, they are immediately on it. I find them very helpful, and as a parent, I truly appreciate how welcoming they have been to my daughter. When they accepted her, they sent her a nice welcome letter, and they made sure she felt included. So far, she is doing great there in terms of academics and socially. She enjoys working with the technician intern. The school really encourages everyone to participate in all the extracurricular activities.
My family has been at SJCDS for 6 years, with a child graduating. We only have experience with the middle and upper schools and therefore split the ratings...the middle school deserves 5 stars, especially with the new leadership. There are a few (2-3) dud teachers, but overall the middle school sets high standards for the staff and students and creates a warm environment. The upper school deserves 2 stars. While there are some amazing teachers, especially new ones brought in by the new headmaster, there are many who are subpar... Bitter and burnt out. The college counselor is so focused on this 100% acceptance rate that he doesn't really know the kids and/or care when they go just that get in somewhere/anywhere. The new headmaster (came 3 yrs ago) is making some good changes and seems aware of the challenges the school faces. We'll let our middle school child finish up, but are looking at different high school options.
St. John's has given our kids a top class education in a warm and stable environment (pk-12 on same campus)! The new asian math style curriculum is fantastic using math in focus( a more engaging version of Singapore math). Also reading is taught as early as the 3's and 4's whereas other schools tend to focus only on letter recognition. For the upper school, the children have a chance to shine and participate in several varsity sports or other extracurricular programs unlike other similar private schools who unofficially recruit talent or take in boarders who bring in added competition. Families with multiple children love the single campus. Also talented junior highers can participate in varsity sports and arts with the best talent and teachers with St. John's on broadway every other year. As far as a place to live, clay county and fleming island in particular are super safe and family friendly. I would recommend entering before middle school though as it tends to fill up and wait lists are not uncommon. The new headmaster has experience from one of the top private schools in the country as well as military and Wall Street experience and the future of this school looks impressive!
I am a graduate of SJCDS & attended since 1st grade. I am grateful for the quality of the education I received there, but it was honestly nothing more than what a public school education *should* be but unfortunately isn't in Clay/Duval. The low student-teacher ratio is a huge advantage, but favoritism is rampant & is usually based on factors other than academic merit (family's affiliation with the school, how much they donate to fundraising campaigns, etc). Also, in response to the delusionally incredulous response from 01/31/2011, spending one week studying MLK does not magically erase the intolerance that is so pervasive on the SJCDS campus. I'm also not sure which system you're using to determine the "best rated public schools" in France, as educational disparity isn't really that prevalent there since the public schools are heavily regulated by the national government. I guess that superlative sounds fancy and impressive to an ignorant and/or ethnocentric audience though, so knock yourself out. :-D Regardless, I'm intimately familiar with public education in France, and SJCDS doesn't even compare.
My kids have been at SJCDS for 4 years. They are in the Lower School and Middle School. Many of the teachers are very good however there seems to be a lot of nepotism here with regards to the teaching staff. The new teachers are grads of SJCDS or parents. I do wonder about the teaching credentials of some of them. How can someone who is a nurse switch and teach a lower school class? We came here to get experienced teachers not substitutes. Uniforms are a great idea for the kids but the ones the kids are having to wear are like cardboard. No one seems to notice that the kids are not comfortable and the MS admin and teachers are reporting the kids for uniform infractions. If there are so many problems with the uniforms, why would they be so critical? I agree with an earlier reviewer - why teach French to the young kids. Start them with Spanish and then allow them the choice of languages. WHY FRENCH?? The administration also needs to get with the times and start Mandarin also.
LIARS! They told us that they had such good ties with every college they'd be able to practically walk us in the college. My sister can't get in the college she wants because of this school! They don't care what college you go to or what you want they only need that 100% graduation rate. I'm a student here and it's awful! The kids who have been here are now in the "bubble" they won't be taught skills for the real world because they're use to being babied. NONE of these white kids are use to different races because of the "bubble" so they the white kids arent use to any other races. Also if you aren't the smartest in your class you will not be the favorite.FAVORTIES ARE HUGE THERE! The teachers always pick a favorites and they are the most "promising kids". My teacher can't name me but she can name my friends GPA and favorite food because I'm not the favorite. Also the uniforms cost around $60 each and they are horrible quality. The buttons fall off the first week and they get so frayed. I won't get into the college I want with this school so unless you're white, christan/catholic, and super smart DONT GO HERE! I'm a student here and I'm in high hopes for Fleming nest year.
St Johns has many good qualities but is certainly not the perfect school. The teachers are very caring and generous with their time. They will make an extra effort in helping your child. Class size is great and the campus is beautiful with new facilities. The negatives lie mostly with the administration. They do not adhere to their own policies and are arbitrary with their disciplinary actions. Some students are given a wide berth while others are judge more harshly for similar or less severe offenses. The students are very cliquish and new students have a difficult time making friends in the middle and upper schools. Implementation of a uniform policy for the upper school was a real negative and their new food store was less than adequate.
I am not getting the 5/11/11 comments about fear, intolerance, and lack of diversity. Spending the entire MLK week studying MLK, with nearly every class working something MLK into it does not sound like a bastion of intolerance. Always concerned that we are getting appropriate academics for the money spent, we compare our child's coursework with our friends when we can and they are always amazed at how demanding the coursework is SJCDS. This includes a few public schools and one of France's best rated public schools. So SJCDS not only competes academically with its surrounding counties but with European schools as well. Is that "international" enough for you? I do think they need to add Chinese to their curriculum. Unfortunately, many today equate "tolerance" with allowing themselves to be subjected to every conceivable behavior. There is no sense in that in a learning environment. There will be time later to realize that there are people out there who behave badly and should be AVOIDED - not embraced. Those constantly exposed to it will no longer recognize it for what it is.