It's really hit or miss here...some teachers are good but some are simply mean and out of date. This school had such a good reputation but I think the former principal let things slip for too long with some of these teachers. Ask around before committing. PJ does ask a lot in extra contributions beyond the tuition and some public school have more resources, depending on the needs.
We transferred our child from a well respected public school because she was not learning to read. They just kept having her do the same things over and over and it wasn't working. Instead, she was feeling stupid and frustrated. Moving her to Pope John was the right decision. From third grade to seventh grade her Terra Nova Reading score went up 34 points and she is now in the 8th Stanine for reading. If your child is having trouble with reading and is in the lower elementary grades, this may be the school you are looking for. However, because the reading program is so good in the lower grades, by the time students reach middle school they are reading at a very high level. They are reading upwards of 15 novels a year. Some of the middle school novels are The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings (in the same year), Pride and Prejudice, Great Expectations, To Kill a Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and many other books they will encounter again in high school or college.
This school is fantastic. It is caring, loving, and rich in its content and instructional delivery. The teachers are wonderful/ My kids transferred in and made multiple gains with test scores and emotional gains.
Academics are not as good this year in the middle school. Several good teachers left and others do busy work or yell and give dimerits. Glad this is our last year.
excellent teachers, strong academics, diverse community, wonderful athletic program. Pope John is the complete package.
I am a former teacher and current parent at Pope John. I taught at PJ for 5 years before having my own children. Now that my son is preschool age, I would not think of sending him anywhere else. I think that it speaks volumes for the school that I saw the ins and outs of the school and am now sending my own child there (I can't say that about other schools where I have taught). The sense of community is amazing. The parents are so welcoming and friendly. The teachers are some of the best that I have ever worked with--and clearly dedicated, if you know how much money a Catholic School teacher makes, you know exactly what I am talking about. The level of respect that the children are taught at a young age is remarkable. Half of this years 8th graders are taking math classes at Evanston High school, which obviously says a lot for the academics. As far as the principal, she was a great principal to work for and I very much agree with her approach to discipline--which is one of the main reasons I want my children at Pope John.
This school is not like it used to be--lots of meanness among kids goes unnoticed by teachers or its seen as a normal thing and ignored. Lots of nice parents, but a plan to focus on the caring part of the student day would help.
My child attended this school for one year and was treated very poorly by the other children. Two years later she still cries about how unaccepting they were. The staff never noticed what was going on, or if they did, they did nothing about it. Truly ironic since this school is affiliated with a wonderful parish that preaches tolerance and acceptance. Our experience was a huge disappointment given what we'd heard about the school. It just didn't live up to the hype in so many ways.
Fantastic education. Great teachers especially the middle school and Kindergarden. My son went here and then on to the High School ( ETHS) taking honors and 4 ap courses by jr and sr year. He now has been acceted to 10 Colleges and is going on to Clemson in South Carolina. Have your son or Daughter take the LATIN class and he or she will be prepared for anything at any school they go to! My son was just an average student when he started out here, they got him private math help at no charge, by the time he finished they had him prepared for High School in more ways then just the class room! Now he is so ready for college he can't wait to go. He is an only child too!
This is a wonderful school with great academics and a close knit, caring community. The school teaches the subject matter, but also how to study, break down complicated material and really learn. Teachers are great about providing clear instruction and working with kids at all levels to engage them. The principal really knows the kids and works hard to make sure the kids have the right amount of challenge or extra help. We have had kids at two other schools on the North Shore (public and private) and this school is, by far, the best.
PJ23: Great school! To the parent who says that if child does not excel, he is not welcome: I have 2 kids at PJ; 1 at the top and 1 at the bottom. I have been blown away by the lengths to which this Catholic school, without the rich resources of the public schools, has gone to support my low-scoring, low-performing child. At every step of the very laborious special-ed process, the principal and every teacher - classroom and support teachers included - have given help, support, advice, accommodation and instruction, and have been very kind and accepting of my low-performing child. The other kids have, too! This is completely unlike our experience in both Chicago & Evanston public schools, which were warehouses compared to PJ. I think the difference here is the level and type of parental involvement. I have been at PJ for years (2 kids several years apart) and seen petulant parents with badly behaving kids have negative experiences, and, happily, take their kids elsewhere. I have seen positively involved parents work well with the staff and their kids, like mine, have prospered. Note: Scores of IEP kids are not counted in the stats so they don't "mess up the school's scores".
My experience at this school is that children who do not excel are not welcome. It's possible that the school's academic success is in part achieved by pushing out kids who will lower test score averages. The principal is an enormous liability, with her biggest shortcoming being an unwillingness to work with parents in making decisions about their children. If your child isn't an academic superstar, you would have a much less frustrating experience at another school.
I have had three children attend PJ. It is an great school with excellent academics. The small classes, the students get phenomenal personal attention. The principal stands and greets the children every day at the door as they start and end each school day. You can't beat this small town atmosphere in our urban environment, and great teachers and scores add to the benefits of this gem in Evanston.
My oldest child has just entered Loyola Academy and his education from Pope John has shown to be one of the best. The only freshman in the sophmore honors Latin class are Pope John Students. The Academic Advisory board stated that of all 200 plus school that feed into Loyola, Pope John students are by far the best prepared.
I am a committed PJ23rd parent and can assure other parents evaluating schools that the quality of education, community, and Catholic formation is top notch. For additional objective sources, take a look at the US Dept. of Ed. website for details on the Blue Ribbon Award which the school earned in 2008. Secondly, check with top area High Schools on which schools produce the students ready to succeed in HS on day one. I know Loyola Academy for example is eager to enroll Pope John graduates as very well prepared students. The kindergarten is newly renovated and the physical plant continues to be rejuvenated by the principal, the supporting churches, parents, and generous supporters. Principal Musiala is very talented, extremely hard working, creative, and gets results all around. The school has thrived under her dedicated service.
Pope John XXIII is a nationally recongized NCLB Blue Ribbon School. This award for academic excellence comes from the U.S. Department of Education and only 50 private school nationally were so recognized. The teachers are caring and dedicated to the students. Onver 50'% of the teachers have advanced degrees. The students are successful academically with supeior test scores. The honrs and advanced classes challenge the brightest and motivate all the students to try their best.
We are very grateful that our son has attended PJ23. First and foremost, it truly is a caring community, with a great group of families. It has been a very safe and nurturing environment for our son, now in 8th grade. The longtime social studies teacher and the longtime Latin teacher are especially terrific, and have contributed greatly to our son's education. The principal works very hard and genuinely cares about the students. I may not agree with every decision she makes, but I very much respect her. I highly recommend this school.
My daughter went to Pope John from preschool to 5th grade. I feel Pope John is a great school. My daughter received a great education. The school supported all the values I teach my child at home. The principal was great at running the school. I think private school principals have it harder than public school principals, a private school principal may have to stop a child's education mid year to enforce tuition payments....that's is not an easy job.
I disagree with the comments about a weak principal. Many catholic schools struggle to stay open. PJXXIII is thriving largely due to the efforts of the principal. She is a fine educational leader and is able to attract and retain excellent teachers. The curriculum is solid and there are honors classes and electives in the junior high. A few of the teachers are probably the best my children will EVER have in a lifetime. Further, the principal understands the financial aspects of running a school and utilizing staff to wear different hats and service the students. She is quite creative and adept at placing staff. In all, even though I stand on tippy toes every month to pay tuition, the school is worth it!
Pope John is a great school with a weak principal. The environment is caring and stimulating. The teachers are great to work with and many are above average, providing a superior education. The principal is unfortunately difficult to communicate with and is not properly supervised by the Pastors who are the School's CEOs. Most recently the principal has lost confidence in the school community over her handling of disciplinary issues.
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