Thomas Jefferson turned out to be an excellent choice for my academically gifted son. Not only was the curriculum challenging, but also the co-curricular activities were topnotch. Socially, he was very well accepted by his peers, even though he started in middle school. The teachers were extremely affectionate and respectful. They went above and beyond to help him excel. My son was devastated when he had to switch schools because of our move, and is still having a hard time adjusting to his new school setting.
While the teachers tried their best, the students were the problem. Our experience was that if your child hasn't been in the school since they were young, they won't be part of the clique that has been. The turnover in teachers was often, and was a problem when another teacher would be gone with no explanation and be replaced by the first person they could find. We are in a public school now and we are finding the academics great and the opportunities more diverse. With a gifted track and advanced classes, the public schools are what you make them. Don't buy into the hype and fear that they try to sell you.
I wish I could give more stars! We moved our 'spirited' 2nd grader and pre-k students from Carl Junction public school to TJ this year. We just finished the first quarter and my kids are exploding intellectually! My pre-k student is sounding out words and reading by himself, he is speaking numbers & basic words/songs in French, & his vocabulary has expanded profoundly. My 2nd grader was being paired with 'less advanced' students in public school the past two years to help them learn. When she should have been receiving harder/more challenging work so she could learn something. At TJ, the teachers actually love teaching & are very skilled. They have quickly indentified my kids positive/negative attributes so we can be more successful. My 2nd grader is finally being challenged and actually says her brain gets tired by the end of the day... but she loves it! Top notch staff!
amazing school. we drive four hours per day to take our kids here. teacher to student ratio impressive. current (if not ahead) on technology. Very motivated parents! liberal and open-minded. non-sectarian (that's a big deal in this part of the Bible belt). constantly changing and evaluating new ideas. limited sports as they focus on superb academics (a plus in my book), but the athletics they do have are top notch. very nice music program (though this could do with a larger facility), the director is outstanding. long (for just having been around for a fairly short period of time) history of prior student support and recognition. well known in the area. motivated teachers and staff. my daughter has become a different person there as we moved her from public school in Monett, MO to TJ - best investment I have made!
Thomas jefferson is really the only option for motivated children in the Joplin area. 7 seniors out of 20 graduating are National Merit Finalists, the only Finalists in the area. Excellent small classes and superior leadership at Headmaster. A gem in the Ozarks. French,Latin, and superb science program. District champions in multiple sports. 3 time state academic bowl champions, if you want your kids to go to Harvard this is the place.
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