I am the mother of a 2013 LJA graduate. My daughter loved LJA each of the 4 years she attended, her sever dyslexia. We chose LJA solely because the case loads of the LJA special ed. teachers are about half as large as those of Sp. ed. teachers at the larger public schools. I am a teacher at Central High School in St. Paul, so I am aware of the problems that can arise from heavy sp. ed. case loads. At LJA, my daughter was given plenty of attention and her accommodations were worked in to her daily routine. After 4 years, many other students at LJA were not aware that my daughter had a disability. She was given more than enough opportunity and encouragement to thrive at LJA. Nothing was "dumbed down" for her. The absence of male classmates encouraged her to discover her identity without unnecessary social distraction. My daughter is taking all regular ed. classes at Sibley high school this year. As of the end of first semester, she carries a 3.67 gpa, which puts her on the honor roll. She has LJA teachers to thank for helping her to develop her confidence and her organizational skills. I am thankful that LJA was there for my daughter.
LJA is a fantastic school for 5th-8th grade girls. I constantly find myself thinking "I wish a school like this had been around when I was in middle school." The student-to-staff ratio is fantastic; the staff generally know most of the students in the building by name and are able to form meaningful mentor-type relationships with them. Students are challenged to stretch themselves and are constantly given new goals to meet, and the class assignments are interesting and creative. I am so glad to be a part of the LJA community and others should be, too!
Laura Jeffrey Academy has staff the care for the whole student; academically, emotionally, culturally, and socially. The staff are willing and always go the extra mile to support the students, giving up their personal time to help a student improve and feel motivated to learn and achieve.
We have our girls in this school for its dedication to educating the whole person in a positive learning environment. Great attention is paid to nurturing future leaders who can think critically and ask questions. We have seen our daughter's confidence grow both academically and socially. I do wish a foreign language was offered during the school day. There are opportunities after school for language, however it is only once per week and it is on a pay for service basis.
We are a amazing charter school for girls in grades 5 through 8. Our mission is to provide a girl-focused educational experience where students learn through rigorous study, by asking questions, solving problems, and participating in the community. The class sizes are small, the student body is diverse and students are engaged in all aspects of their learning; including developing a social contract for themselves. Special education services are also very individualized and students needing these services receive high quality services in the classroom. All staff emphasize building relationships and individualizing the learning process to best meet the need of the individual student. Students have opportunities to participate in clubs and sports after school as well as tutoring services for those that struggle in the classroom. The staff are not only high quality, but have a passion to address issues of race, class and gender issues in our society and teach our students how to eliminate these inequities both at school in in our world at large. Laura Jeffrey Academy is a high quality learning environment where students can grow tremendously.
Laura Jeffrey Academy has been a great school for my daughter. She is currently in 6th grade and I've noticed so much growth in her over the past year and a half. She is much more confident and willing to share her thoughts and opinions about a wide range of topics. The school has fostered a very positive attitude amongst the student body and the girls really support and encourage each other in everything they do. I know I picked the right school for my child because for the first time in her life she actually enjoys going!
LJA is a wonderful school that encourages girls to ask questions and make choices. My daughter has a place that cares for her social, emotional, and physical well being as well as her intellectual growth. LJA also gives her a safe place to take the risks involved with asking questions and making choices, even if she sometimes doesn't have the answers or makes poor choices. This is a school that encourages her to find her voice and speak up, instead of encouraging her to sit back and keep quiet. It's a school that helps her get back on her feet after making a mistake and shows her that she doesn't have to be perfect. LJA realizes that growing up is messy and is willing to work with all the girls wherever they are to become even better. If you are looking for a school where things are black-and-white and controlled, where the adults are "in charge" at all times and the punishment is swift and certain....then LJA probably isn't the school for you. But that's not the school we want for our daughter...so I'm glad that LJA gives us such a wonderful choice.
My school is awesome! We have a 5-8 grade 1 period art class, a 5-8 grade 1 period Wellence (Gym is 3 days a week and Health is 2 days a week), a 5-6 grade 1 period Choir, a 7-8 grade 1 period Choir, a 5-8 grade 1 period Band, a 5-6 grade 1 period Orchestra, a 7-8 grade 1 period Orchestra, a 5-8 grade 1 period Orchestra, a 5 grade 2 period Math, a 6 grade 2 period Math, an 8 grade 2 period Math, a 7 grade 2 period Math, a 1 hour 9-10 grade Geometry class for 8 graders, a 5-6 grade 2 period Science class, a 7-8 grade 2 period Science and Engineering, a 5-6 grade 2 period LASS class, and a 7-8 grade 2 period LASS class. Also, you get tought important skills like how persevere, rember which day is health, gym, art, or music, how to stay organized with your school work, and take notes Also you have no chance to fail. If you don't get good grades then you will get extra help so you can get good grades. There in a uniform, but I like to not call it a uniform, because it is more like a dress code, but with cool and fun LJA shirts. It doesn't matter if you love Harry Potter, Digimon, or One Direction you become friends with almost everyone, even STAFF!
In the spirit of LJA s motto Asking Questions, Making Choices please come check out the school and talk to lots of children and families before making a good educational choice for your child. We would love for you to tour the school and see the LJA vision in practice; set up a shadow experience for your child so she can experience LJA. As a parent you can become a reading buddy or tutor, chaperone a field trip, or plan and implement LJA s Annual Farmers Market; just a few ways to be involved in the LJA community and participate in your child s education. Check out LJA s classroom pages at www.laurajeffreyacademy.org and see what LJA scholars are learning.
My experience with this school is mixed. I found the director to be passionate and smart, but inexperienced and ill equipped to handle the issues that are challenging this struggling system. As other reviewers have stated, it does look good on paper. It's a great vision, as with most charters. The people are passionate but the systems are unstable and it's not living up to the vision. Most of the teachers are passionate and skilled but overworked and unsupported. It seemed to have an internally toxic feel to me.
On paper LJA looks great - reality is another story. We had to remove our daughter after she was heavily bullied at LJA in 2010. It sounds like nothing much has changed. The teachers are very, young and inexperienced. Bulling is rampant and often the victim is blamed. When two girls standing behind her in music bullied our daughter I asked for them to be moved away from her. The teacher's response was that she couldn't because they were all altos. Our daughter basically lost two whole years of instruction. She was so tramatized by being regularly told she should kill herself and the near constant offers/threats of killing her that she wasn't able to get back to regular instruction for two years! There is high turnover in teachers and staff as well. If your middle school girl is an independent learner with skin so thick that taunts of "I'm going to kill you," won't bother her, she may be able to thrive here. I strongly recommend kids with IEPs avoid LJA.
Even though we loved the philosophy of this school, it is very poorly executed. Classroom management is permissive and inconsistent at its best. Some of the teachers seemed overwhelmed by student behavior therefore making learning and teaching a challenge. The principal is new and struggles to deal with the high level challenges. Unfortunately this school is going through growing pains and is struggling with how to handle the student population positively.
Laura Jeffrey Academy is a perfect fit for the youngest of our five children. Our three oldest are in college and fourth is in high school. Our youngest daughter has been very happy at LJA for three years and is looking forward to beginning eighth grade. I am a math teacher at Central High School (one of the possible feeder schools for LJA) in St. Paul. The quality of the lessons and teaching methods used at LJA are superior in comparison to what I have witnessed in many other middle schools. The amount of personal attention received from teachers and administrators at LJA surpasses what three of my oldest children received while attending a parochial school during their middle school years. My older daughter, who is 19 and attended a parochial school for grades K-8 has exclaimed many times, "Why couldn't Laura Jeffrey Academy have been around when I was is middle school"? My response, "I wish it had been".
LJA has been fantastic for our daughter! We left a private school in favor of LJA's excellent curriculum. We have watched her mature and become self assured thanks to the teachers and staff at LJA. She is no longer afraid of new challenges. She has learned how to greet new information with an inquisitive mind, has learned how to ask important questions, draw conclusions and make good decisions. She is blossoming into a thinking scholar with excellent study and problem solving habits. Thank you LJA.
I love the school. It is challenging for my daughter, but she has found her voice at Laura Jeffrey. I have seen such growth in her. The teachers commuciate with me, all of my questions and concerns have been answered quickly. I am very impressed with the school.
From my daughter's graduation essay: "(Four years ago), getting situated at a school with new people, new teachers, and a brand new action plan was difficult. But through it all, we never stopped trying our hardest, everyone went the extra mile, and made it a success. The teachers were incredibly dedicated....Every day I have come to LJA knowing that I will be challenged. Whether it s a complex math problem, a difficult debate topic, a disagreement between friends that will be solved eventually....After four years, I have come to appreciate how much this has influenced the rest of my life, and changed me as a person. I have come to respect and even look forward to these constant challenges as a growing experience for me. I ve gotten used to having teachers ask me Why? How? Can you prove it?...LJA has guided me in a direction that I want to follow. I m asking questions, I have made my choices, and now I m leaving.... I know Laura Jeffrey Academy will continue to grow and flourish when we re gone, and I m excited for another girl to have the same wonderful experience that I did here."
LJA has been a big disappointment this past school year and I honestly feel that my daughter has fallen further behind academically. My daughter is spending much of this summer catching up and preparing for next year. Many parents feel that this is a great school but I want to encourage parents who are considering LJA to determine what they are looking for in a school for their daughter and how this school can meet their needs. Don't just read the online reviews talk to the high number of parents who have removed their daughters from this school and find out why and then research their status on the department of education website. Be informed and know the truth before making your decision. LJA could be great and maybe one day it will be but after five years they are still struggling to figure out how. It may take years to turn things around.
This year has created tremendous growth opportunities for my daughter She learned how to work in a team and build a wind generator. She participated in an amazing concert at Macalester College. With Art and Choir teachers directing, she performed in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. She has built lasting friendships with students of all backgrounds. She has seen 7th and 8th graders lead by example in building a wood framed canoe and lauch it themselves. Girls need the leadership skills that Laura Jeffrey infuses in school life daily. Today we participated in a celebration of the legacy of Laura Jeffrey as part the Grand Old Day parade as a school with cultural affirmation at its core. No school is perfect, parental involment adds to its core values. We are proud to have our daughter attend such a great school.
We had such hopes for LJA. We pulled our daughter out of a great school, because of her desire to attend this school, and the great things we had heard about it. As we end our year at the school, I feel like we have wasted a year of her life. This school has encouraged the worst work ethic in her. Class schedules keep moving around. There is always drama about confrontations at school or on the bus. Classwork is unorganized, and we don't hear about problems until conferences. Our child missed part of her MCA test, and the school never bothered to get her a re-test. Now it's too late to take it. When we asked for a transcript, we were told they don't do transcripts, but we could get a copy of her report card. At the last school, there was a homework list that came home every day. Teachers contacted us immediately if there were problems. They sent us a full transcript the next day. I honestly believe my daughter will walk out of LJA knowing less than when she walked in. About the only thing I have good to say about it is that they had a really good strings teacher, "had" being the active word. I would never recommend this school to anyone, and my daughter will not be returning.
We are thrilled to have found LJA! While the school is STEM focused, LJA considers music, art and the social sciences to be equally important components of a well-rounded education. The staff is very supportive and my daughter has thrived. The teachers and principal truly work as a team to insure that the school has a vibrant, welcoming feel and that the girls are challenged academically. The teachers, staff and principal are some of the most dedicated, hardest working people you'll ever meet. We're looking forward to our daughter's next two years!
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