Many of the teachers are worthy of huge praise at St. Johns. They love their job and it shows in their enthusiasm. These stellar teachers all go out of their way for students. Only a select few, who have been on the job too, long are a apathetic.
Don't be fooled by the other reviews from a community member. There is an insane amount of homework for students. This is probably warranted for the math classes where repetition and memorization creates solid math students. The rest of the classes... the jury is out.
First – I’m suspicious of the reviews from “a community member” - all submitted on the same day which appear to be littered with the St. Johns marketing jargon in quotes. I suspect these reviews are from the school admin looking for spin control. St. Johns is not the pinnacle of scholastic utopia for all students and for 18k a year, it only makes sense to closely examine the local alternatives. AP classes, as well as the IB and ACE programs, are offered in the local – free - Clay County high schools. So, if your student is state-school bound for college why not save the money for higher ed? This is a question you will struggle with. Sadly, as every year passes the dress code at this private school becomes more and more relaxed. So for all you hoodie fans, if you do not appreciate a school uniform then please attend a public school. Another serious downside to St. Johns is that they reflexively hire only friends and family for leadership roles. Thus, due to its size, not only is the student body lacking diversity but so is the administration. Case in point, the new Headmaster graduated from St. Johns in 1987. He went from the football coach/finance guy to headmaster. Did the board of directors interview anyone else for the position? Time will tell if the new headmaster can grow into the role and start hiring people from outside the alumni/parent talent pool. Unfortunately, provincial ways tend to fester here and zero new people in decision making roles, equals zero big ideas. How can a student be expected to think as a global citizen when he/she will be taught in an environment that shelters them from the outside world? Is there an upside to all this? Sure, while there are cliques at St. Johns, strong moral character on this campus is a must. Classes are small, bullying is scant and few known drug related issues will attempt to influence your child. But still inclusivity takes a wild turn here too. It was odd to learn that if you did not enroll in Kindergarten, then you are not part of the inner sanctum called a “Lifer”. Lifers at St. Johns are the golden children who are awarded a special medal upon graduation. So your daughter or son is either one of them, or they are not - regardless of merit or GPA. The ultimate participation award I’d say.
Teachers are always looking to go the extra mile for kids at St. Johns. They look for opportunities to help kids stretch and get better, and don't hesitate to make changes to better meet students' needs. e.g., if your kid is particularly advanced at math in 6th grade, they bump him up and put him in a 7th, 8th or 9th grade class-- whatever is needed! And it's no problem because those classes are just across the quad. Not like our former, public school where your kid just has to sit there and be bored.
They try to strike a balance, understanding that kids are participating in extracurricular activities and have a *life* outside of academics. There are also study hall periods 3x per week and students are encouraged to stay focused and get their work done then. Plus, the school library is open after school until 5:30 and kids can go get homework done then, too. Or if they have 30 minutes before a sports practice starts, they can hit the library, do homework, and get it done. They have a designated spot to work and be productive. It's great!
Character development is very important at St. Johns Country Day School. From the "interfaith assemblies" that focus on different character traits each month, to the honor code, to simply teachers that *pay attention* to each and every child, a strong emphasis on morals and ethics is everywhere. There is no slipping through the cracks, either academically or behaviorally.
St. Johns has been such a blessing to our family. Our kids were getting "lost" in our local public school-- a good school, but with the large and rising class sizes and constantly losing staff positions, there's no way they can keep up. And don't even get me started on old textbooks or outdated technology. We finally made the decision to move to St. Johns Country Day School, with a comprehensive arts program, PE nearly every day, a full sports program, and, best of all, teachers and staff who truly care about the success of each individual child. They say "your child will be known and loved" at St. Johns, and it's true.
Creative, innovative, and nurturing environment. St. Johns Country Day School is a perfect fit for my kids. They offer everything from academics to performing arts and sports. They have offered wonderful opportunities so far. I love that they have great school spirit and offer a warm environment. It makes me feel great and proud to have them there. I would highly recommend them.
Many families will consider this too far if they live in JAX.We did our homework and fell in love with the beautiful campus and steadfast faculty. They prepare the students for college but it's more than that. My kids are nurtured, loved and encouraged every day. I recommend this "gem" to all of our friends with kids.. (Their college placement list is strong!)