Like many folks, we moved to Wilmette for the school system and community. Given the level of taxes and strong public schools, we assumed our school choices were made. But following conversations with many neighbors, we did our due diligence of the various options before our first child started Kindergarten. We found quickly while there are many strong options (an embarrassment of riches), St Joe's REALLY stands out. In addition to a strong focus on academics and whole child development, the school has a deep, grounded and welcoming culture. Everyone is here by choice, and not because their parents attended. The children benefit greatly, as they develop in a nurturing environment, which truly takes into account each kids' individual needs and strengths. Our experience with staff is highly consistent and positive. Similar to the parents, the staff are all there by choice and highly committed to the children and the school overall. While I wouldn't presume that St. Joe's is the right fit for everyone, our experience has been exceptional and I definitely started the process skeptically But am so happy to have found our children's school "home" until high school.
My children currently attend St. Joseph s School. When we were evaluating schools several years ago, I largely left the decision to my wife, which is quite common for families moving up to the suburbs from the city. While I was focused on solid faith-based academics and extra-curricular activities, all of which my wife assured me that St. Joe s possessed, what really sealed the deal for me was the sense of inclusion I felt from the St. Joseph community. In fact, my wife and I joked that I became sold on St. Joseph s after attending a dad s bowling night.
We have been part of the St Joseph community for two years now and are extremely happy! While there are many good schools on the area, St Joe's is excellent and special. The span from preschool to eight grade is wonderful in many ways, it feels like a family, and a common theme is kindness and community. A great example of this is the 'buddy' system, where older kids are buddies up with younger ones. The teachers are also amazing, they obviously love what they do, and that shines through. Children are genuinely cared for and educated in a way that helps them achieve their best. While we were unsure of private school at first (let's face it, we pay steep taxes to live in Wilmette!) -- we will absolutely be staying at St Joseph school throughout eighth grade, we feel lucky to have found it!! The family support is also great, we have no immediate family in the area, and as a parent I feel supported by the entire school community.
We have children in grades 1-6 and are extremely pleased with SJS. We are proud of the academics (curriculum, faculty and great results - our children are all scoring high on standardized tests). Much of our faculty has been around a long time. In addition to core curriculum, we are strong in Spanish, Art and Music which Catholic schools can't always say. In addition, we are getting so much more at SJS: our children are in this loving community where sports and social are all about including everyone. My children love their school so much. My oldest talks about how she wants her children to go to St. Joe's. Also, for a small school, we offer all the social and extracurriculars of a big place because we have an army of parent volunteers who would do anything for St. Joe's. The dedication of our families is like no other. We are all rooting for eachother, and this tough economy has brought out the best in our community. Seeing our families rally for others who have suffered unemployment or other hardship, has made me so proud to be part of the SJS family. The example my children are seeing of how families help and root for eachother is the best education they could possibly get.
We have five children and recently moved our children to a different school after being at the school for over 10 years. St. Joseph's school follows all the basic requirements a school is expected to follow. There are many other schools in the area that go beyond the basics and have a rich learning environment which exceeds St.Joseph's ability. I would encourage you to take a close look at the other schools in the area and evaluate the teachers and school performance. Good luck in finding a school.
We have been a SJS family since our 3 children were each 2. Every year has brought change but we have found a consistent sense of community here. As they say "it takes a village." Our personal experience is that the principal, regardless of background or yrs of experience, has always exhibited a concern for the well-being and education of the whole child. The newest principal introduced a number of best practices designed to help challenge kids as well as assess progress. In our experience, from PS through junior high, the individual teachers care deeply about our kids. Both faculty and staff have been very willing to partner w/us to help us raise our children successfully. Small class sizes have created an environment where each child has gotten a great deal of personal attention academically. In addition our experience with behavioral issues has been very positive w/zero tolerance for actions ranging from infrequent but purposeful mean-spiritedness to the occasional rude remark. We feel the daily reinforcement of making good choices and doing the right thing is as important as learning how to communicate effectively, how to take great notes and how to really study for a test.
While there is a good community at St. Joes, the academics are average or below. We met with the principal and she couldn't even tell us the name of the cirriculum the school uses. She told us she'd have to ask a teacher to give us more details! While I'm not an expert, the principal should be. Marginal education at best.
This is our 8th year at St. Joe's school/parish with our three children. St. Joe's is indeed a special place for many reasons. It truly fosters the "whole" child: mind, body and soul. The principal and teachers are sharp and proactive. The principal has an open door policy for parents, students and teachers. Her drive to ensure that our students are not only succeeding in their current grade, but being prepared for their future is obvious. Academic programs are constantly being reviewed and improved. In addition and equally important, is the christian community at St. Joe's. Our family was faced with a family crisis this past year. My children/family were loved and supported by both the faculty and community. We will be forever grateful for this gem of a school/parish. In a highly competitive and fast paced North Shore, St. Joe's is special place! We look forward to our next 8 years!
My kids have been at St. Joe's from preschool through junior high. The small class sized, dedicated teachers and true community make this a special place. I've been very impressed by the success the graduates have had in high school and college - at places like University of Chicago and Northwestern - and am confident that my children will be well prepared as they move on.
This is our 8th year at St. Joseph School and we couldn't be happier with the atmosphere of learning and caring there. The principal and teachers are committed to the education of the whole child. They strive for academic excellence as well as facilitate the development of values and morals. The principal has brought a fresh perspective to the school with enhanced curriculum development, greater technological focus, and excellent leadership skills. She has an open door policy for parents and kids alike, and is a great problem solver and critical thinker. We feel confident that our children are receiving the best education we can provide for them. It is true that Wilmette Schools are highly rated. They are also huge. Kids seem to grow up faster in the public schools here. We like the fact that St Joe kids stay sheltered for a while longer, yet don't sacrifice academic challenge.