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.
We have been affiliated with this school for over 9 years and we consider our experience to be exceptional. SJCDS offers more than just academics, they teach the children lifelong lessons to help them succeed not only in the classroom, but in the real world. We love this school!
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.
I am so grateful to have found St Johns! We live in Duval County and drive 20 miles 4 times a day to bring our children to this school. My "out of the box" children have thrived in the small, personal environment. They are encouraged in academics, the Arts and to participate in any sports they want to try. Through St Johns, my daughter has discovered a love of Latin and The Classics. She has gotten to compete in Latin tournaments all over the State and on the national level.
I am off to college in the fall and have enjoyed every bit of my six years at St. Johns. BEST teachers are here! Highy recommend and I hope to stay in touch will everyone! -A
SJCDS is an excelllent school. The coursework is very demanding and requires students to manage time and their responsibilities. Expect 1-2 hours of homework in lower school and 2 or more hours for middle school/upper school. Most teachers are really good although there are a few slugs. The headmaster is retiring - no big loss though since he really didn't bring much to the table. Tutition is costly, but it really is a matter of priorities. I'm middle class and have passed on new cars, big fancy house and other toys so that I can afford the best education for my two kids.
Spreading misinformation about the competition (AICE) does nothing to make up for the deficiencies currently found at St. Johns. We are leaving St. Johns for AICE and we are GREATLY looking forward to the change. The AICE program is SO much more than accelerated academics and international experiences. St. Johns offers neither the academic nor the social experiences that build strong, intellegent, caring young adults. Between ignoring the cliques, consistently putting athletics in front of academics, and relying on a reputation earned decades ago, St. Johns is losing the battle to its public school alternative...amazing but true.
St Johns is like one big family. They not only are concerned about our childrens education, but also about having respect for our fellow friends and family. If you have any concerns about anything there is always someone there for you and your children.
The 8/13 poster is repeating what they said on 4/23. Why would you do that? If you don't like SJCDS, just leave. You already did that so should we feel sorry for you? Did you take the time to discuss your concerns with the admin? Your statements are false. I have no money, no internal connections to the school. My child works hard, harder than her peers at other schools....but that is why we sacrifice to send her to such a great school...Regarding the Principal, I have spoken to her on numerous occasions and she has always treated me with respect. However, I am not a baby and my feelings don't get hurt that easy. Best of luck at your new school. There are plenty of parents/students at SJCDS that will do just fine.
This school has been a complete disappointment in too many numerous ways to list. Parents are treated like dirt. Favoritism is rampant. Getting rid of the headmaster is not going to cure this school of its many ills. Horrible administrators are running the school into the ground. Educationally, if your child is not what they determine a 'star' child for whatever reason, i.e., a teacher's child, lots of money, been a life-long student, etc., then your child will be basically invisible here. Family environment.....ha ha, what a joke. If you want your child to receive a mediocre education, then, by all means, send them to SJCDS where nepotism is rampant! My child's self-esteem was in the toilet, thanks to this school, and I've spent thousands of dollars for it. Run from this school.....don't walk. Submitted by
Our child attended 2 years. Our first year experince was great ; wonderful teacher, small class size, nice classroom. Second year was a disappointment. SJCDS has a nice facility with small class sizes. However, we felt that for what we were paying in tuition, we should have gotten more for our money. As an example, we had to hire a tutor for reading as did many others in our child's class. Regarding the Lower School Principal, we saw her often in the halls yet she never greeted nor spoke to us. This was common with alot of the staff there. SJCDS has a beautiful campus but is not very secure, especially with the construction; workers often took their smoke breaks around the children. We may revisit in a few years but for now we feel we can do better elsewhere.
I truly love St. Johns and everything that it has done for my child. My child is so sad that summer has arrived. Fall can't arrive soon enough for her!
In our first year at SJCDS we have absolutely loved it. Our daughter was challenged and excelled academically and grew socially beyond our expectations. The school is expensive and we are making great sacrifices to send our child to this school but so far it has been worth every penny. We have had experiences with other private schools and the Clay county public high schools and it has been a refreshing treat to work with the teachers and administrators at SJCDS.
A great school for parents that want a quality education for their children. My children have attended St. Johns Country Day School since PreK. My boys are articulate, accomplished, and well prepared to face the collegiate life and beyond. The excellent teachers continue to challenge my boys year after year. Participation in athletics and the fine arts program has shaped them into well rounded young men. While I would like to take full credit, they have developed strong character, respect and good manners under the guidance of caring faculty. Yes, it is a challenging curriculum. Yes, we have made sacrifices to afford private school tuition year after year. After twelve years of attendance, I have zero regrets about sending my children to such a fine institution.
If "optoon" is any indication of the quality of education at SJCDS, I say "Bring on the overcrowded public school classrooms!" "If want the best ..." ?!?!?! Is this any way to advocate for an educational institution? Spell check is automatic on these comments! I have lived in different parts of this country and can compare from experience. This is a sometimes adequate, but overall rather pedestrian, all too local, private school with delusions of grandeur. From my personal observations, SJCDS is not markedly better than many of the local public schools, and certainly not superior to most of the other private or parochial schools in the area. Do not be misled by the spasm of recent construction or any other attempts to mislead by misdirection. A pretty elevation is not going to help your kids master the basics or thrive in higher education.
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