Our child is thriving at SJE both academically & socially. The entire K class is friends with no exclusions. All of the K students are reading and writing full sentences & creative stories. My son's math skills are developing quickly and the teacher is challenging him with multiplication to keep him interested. The K teacher runs a tight ship because she loves these children and believes they can meet the standards. She sees the potential and uniqueness of each of her children and works warmly with them so they can meet the expectations. The Value Code is stressed with class discussion and asking "what it means to be a friend." A lot of very old reviews here echo "how SJE used to be" according to some veteran parents. True, the facility is old but clean, secure, and adequate. Today's faculty and staff embrace technology with "smartboards" in the classrooms and multimedia instruction. Primary classes are large at 22+ children but all have a full time assistant so the ratio is halved. The front office secretary is retiring after 46 years so there will be some fresh efficiency. The parents are welcoming. You can be as involved as you'd like. We are very happy with SJE.
We chose this school because we were looking beyond straight academics: which environment could transmit the values that we want our children to be instilled in, one that could provide emotional and spiritual support. This is exactly what we've found. My husband and I often remark to each other how much we love this school. The people who make up this school - from the Sisters to other faculty, to the principal to the families -are just such GOOD people. Watching the kids play at recess, I'm blown away at how kind the kids are to each other, how their play circles effortlessly transform into different groupings - everyone gets along. Our children are flourishing and becoming good citizens. This school is nurturing them. Because of this strong and close community, there is a high level of parent involvement. If you love a place, you want to help in whatever way you can. I'm not sure how the academics compare, but for us, it's secondary to the development of our kids as people.
As a recent graduate from St. John's, I am personally very happy with my experience at this school. The teachers were kind and always caring, and my peers were at all times supportive and loving. Having said this, I can definitely understand why many people are complaining about the "unwelcoming environment". This is a very small school, and each class grows very tightly knit as a group from pre-k up to the 8th grade. I have seen several different instances in which a new student has come to this school - in some, the child fit in perfectly (for example, me); in others, the child was rudely shunned and excluded. I cannot say anything more helpful than that it depends solely on the child and the group of kids in the grade s/he is going into. As for academics, I personally found myself very well prepared for high school! However, several of my friends from St. John's have complained that they found themselves woefully unprepared. Again - it depends on the individual. My advice - start your child at this school from the beginning of their academic career and by 8th grade, s/he will be a successful individual.
We're a large family that has had to travel a good deal for my husband's job, so we have experienced a lot of elementary schools. And St. John the Evangelist in Silver Spring is our favorite too date. The academics ARE VERY competitive, but since the community is nurturing and small, the demands are not too oppressive. Our children are happy to go to school here every day, and I know first-hand that they will be WELL prepared for high school and college with this foundation.
I am an alumni of the school and my child has been enrolled in St Johns from pre-K through his current 2nd grade. He is thriving in this wonderful, supportive environment ! Contrary to other reviews i have read here, I have witnessed a wonderful and caring environment between students of all grade levels. Also, the sense of community is very strong with so many parents pitching in to help make it all happen.
We have seen 3 of our children graduate from St. John's, be accepted into the top high schools of their choice, and our younger 2 children are doing excellently as well. Our high schoolers were very well prepared and continue to earn high grades. We feel blessed that all of our children have or are receiving a top-notch, PERSONALIZED education.
My son and daughter are currently in kindergarten and the three's preschool class at St. John's and both are flourishing. The teachers are AMAZING.The facility is great. The site is warm, stimulating, large enough for classrooms of one class per grade, a gymnasium, library/computer lab, science lab, separate age-appropriate playgrounds. The school was built in the 1960s and so is not as new as some places, but because it is an accredited elementary school, is held to the standards that are expected of Montgomery County public schools...which says a lot. Some others programs I toured in 2006 when I was shopping for a school (I toured about 15 - I was a little obsessed!) were not as nice. The only preschool facilities that I toured that were better than St. John's were significantly more expensive.
I really wish I didn't have to give this school a one-star rating. The intentions of the staff and administration are all good ones. Unfortunately, we all know the phrase about what road those intentions pave and while that may be a bit extreme to state, I can say that I'm very unhappy with the 'scholastic' program at St. John's. The student-teacher ratio stated on this site is very out of date. The younger grades and the teaching style is too 'old school' to be effective now-a-days. We've had to remove our daughter and son from the school because it became obvious to us that they weren't getting an adequate education. It's too bad, because this school could have been a little gem in the midst of Montgomery County.
What a disaster! For several years our son attended this school as an A student. We were consistently told that he was performing at the top of his class. This year, for financial reasons, we have registered him with the Montgomery County public schools only to find that his St. John's 'education' leaves him severely lacking as compared with his peers. What a shame. My wife and I are beating ourselves up over this, and we really fear for the parents of children in this school who don't know better. We are fortunate that with tutoring our son will be able to make up for the lack of education he received at St. John's, but this was a sad lesson to learn.
I have to agree with the parent who noted the unwelcoming environment. My wife is not a native speaker of English and twice she's been hung up on when contacting the school after the 'receptionist' provided her with a cursory: 'I can't understand you.' Mind you she speaks English, but with a French accent. The pre-K is well behind where we'd hoped it would be by this time of year, we'll be removing our son after one, unfortunate, year at St. John's.