The teachers are great. You can tell they really care about the students. I've heard the Kindergarten teacher still gets a little teary eyed when a student starts reading on their own and she's been doing this for 20+ years.
SJE has a buddy system where it pairs up kids in the younger grades with those in the older grades. They do special things together like gardening, baking and attend first Friday mass together. It's so sweet.
SJE integrates these values in everything they do. It is reinforced every day through work assignments and projects. In 4th grade my son broke his foot badly during a CYO basketball game and needed surgery. He was out of school a week. One of the teachers took 15 minutes out of class time for each child to make a card for him and they sent the cards home in a big envelope. His face lit up. The teacher taught love & kindness that day. I was so touched.
As an alumni and parent of 3 students I can whole heatedly recommend SJE to anyone looking for a loving, caring community in which to educate your child. The teachers are top-notch and are incredibly creative and motivated. We have a fantastic new principal who is excited adding new programs such as the classics, STEM and International Studies. My son graduated from 8th grade last year and was fully prepared to thrive in high school. But beyond the academics, I can't say enough about the community. It takes a village to raise a family and I love my SJE village. You can't go wrong with SJE.
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.