We have nothing but great things to say about St. James. Truth be told, we decided on St. James for Pre K mainly because of its location (we recently moved) and we were planning on going somewhere else for K. But after being there for a year, we decided to stay. We have loved everything about St. James. We looked into a lot of the other private schools in the city (Parker, Latin, St. Clements, FXW) so we know what is out there and we are still thrilled with the educational envoriment at St. James. I can't say enough wonderful things about our children's teachers (Miss. Buschle and MIss. Adams) as well as all of the parents we have met . I know there have been comments about kids leaving every year, but every private school as some attrition as families move to the suburbs or transfer children into their public schools. I also can't speak for the older grades, but we are there until our experience proves us otherwise.
As a graduate, I think the school has both its highs and lows. The highs are that its a great school if you want to be in in a small private school environment. I think the school lacks a rigorous curriculum that prepares students for Chicago's elite high schools. They also don't do a good job of preparing students for standardized tests. Some of the teachers care about their students, but some don't. It was even tough to talk to some teachers when you really needed to talk to them. Some teachers showed favoritism to certain students, and those same teachers were racist to minorities at the school. Teachers there would gossip a lot, and they didn't really give their students personal space. Some teachers also purposely were making sure certain kids were always in trouble. I witnessed this often. The school also doesn't properly discipline certain students. Kids were often being harmed physically and mentally that the staff was aware of and didn't do anything about it. Kids were even being forced to join extracurricular activities even if they didn't want to. There also weren't enough, interesting clubs for students to join. The school also didn't support their students.
Only two questions need to be asked: 1. Tell me about the Board of Education... how is the school governed? 2. How many families choose to move their students each spring? That will tell you all you need to know. There is a small hard-core group that offers unquestioning support there, but many many people come and go dissatisfied.
This school wasnt meant for my child. Number one, her 1st and 2nd grade class consisted of 40 children. Number 2, I at first thought that it was just a cute private school, but once my child hit second grade I pulled her out ASAP. The second grade teacher was awful at helping students and didnt even attempt helping. Once my student was in a new school she started off good, but once she got to a specific lesson, she started to do worse. and its all because of that second grade teacher named, Ms. Cornelius. SHe should be fired.
St. James is a sweet little school but there is no consistency year to year in the curriculum. They have trouble retaining students which means the budget isn't stable so so years you may have a language program and an art teacher when other years these programs seem to disappear. My child gets a loving environment every year (which we highly value) but that is the only constant they seem to offer.
My Family and I have had a wonderful and positive experience with St. James. We have always received the love and care of a true family from the community. I'm thankful to have been and continue to be a part of this Christian family.
We have had nothing but great experiences with St. James. With the welcoming community of parents, teachers, and staff it has made our time with them the best we could ask for. The teachers are very caring and they still offer challenging work for the students. The class sizes are small. They offer gym everyday, music, world languages. The extracurricular activities are fun for the kids and all of the events are fun for the kids and the adults. I'm so glad we found St. James.
My family and I have had a great experience at St. James. The community of people are wonderful. We feel the academics have been wonderful for our childlen. They are taught well, loved and respected, which in turns teaches, them the to treat others the same. We enjoy the smaller class size, the teachers, and the assistance which is provdied to us and our kids.
St James puts forth an environment of love, respect, learning, and safety. Each and every teacher, aide, administrator, and employee shows the love of God in everything they do, every day. Whether it is special attention to the student who seeks a challenge, or to the student with which the lesson hasn't quite "clicked", these top-shelf educators give us confident, trustworthy, loving children who will become leaders in the real world. St James is truly an oasis in the city!