At first I was a little concerned that they weren't pushing the kids hard enough in the 1st and 2nd grade. But there is a gradual approach to getting everyone to appreciate and like school, and then they amp up the work load as the grade level goes up. What I find is that this approach has made my children appreciate learning instead of fearing it. Pretty smart. Now that the kids are older, I'm very impressed with their ability to take on more challenging work, with confidence and a great attitude. This is truly an experienced administration and what's more, they are continuing to try to make the school even better. They have been introducing a heavy technology based education program for the kids in 7th and 8th grade, including distance learning. Great to see the older kids running around with laptops. And what a great benefit to the community the school is. Great local schools raise everyone up, and the (now Academy of Saint Joseph of the Palisades) is certainly leading the way.
The principal, Eileen Ferrando, is simply... a star. I have never met an administrator and leader with so much compassion, courage and vision. And I know she pushes herself harder and harder each year to be better.
This would get a 'Very Effective', but I'm staying at 'effective'. I would say that every organization has its strong performers and others who aren't quite as strong. However, the last few years have seen some hiring that has brought some really outstanding teachers to the school. The teachers who excel aren't looking at this as a job, but as a stepping stone toward making a greater impact in education in the future. So things are definitely improving. This question is a little hard to answer, because so much of the teacher's effectiveness has to do with the batch of kids they get in a class... and the kids are a product of their parents. So, if the school were to be able to be more selective about who the kids it teaches are, then the teacher effectiveness would probably increase. However, the school is pretty welcoming to most children, so some sacrifices have to be made in how much progress the teacher makes.
In the lower grades, there isn't a ton of homework. I think the parent has to find ways to augment that, either by using services like IXL, and encouraging the children to read, read, read. But as the kids progress, they may sometimes be hit with a very solid afternoon and evening of homework and studying. At the beginning of this year for one child, I thought it was almost too much. The kids need time for extra curriculars. But in the meantime it seems to have found a good level: Enough for the child to progress in learning, but still have time for other activities.
Well, in academics, certainly. The children are pretty competitive with each other about grades. But they understand that if they want to achieve, they are going to have to work at it, especially in the later grades.
That is what this school is all about: You can be the smartest kid in the world but if you don't get along with others you'll never succeed. Compassion, caring and empathy are a solid foundation of the curriculum.
It's the foundation of a Catholic school to teach a moral way of life. Certainly the children are 'steered in the right direction' and discouraged from acting up or treating each other poorly. Kids who are problematic are given a chance, but it seems if they are disrupting the learning environment, then action will be taken. The kids see that, and they work hard to 'stay in the game', but in such a way that it becomes a matter of personal responsibility to be fair and honest. From what I see in my own children's classes, the character of the children is pretty strong, but most importantly, it's not at the expense of self expression. The children are all individuals, but they do really try hard to work together.
We love St. Joseph's!! Our daughter has been with the school since Pre-K and is now a 6th grader. The staff has always been very caring, supportive and dedicated to the students. It's important to us as parents that the values we are trying to instill in our daughter are reinforced at school. We feel she is being challenged academically through a curriculum that encourages complex thinking. We are confident that she is getting the best education. Most importantly, we see our daughter flourishing into a well-rounded individual with so may aspirations and hope for the future.
The best School by far! The care and love that goes into not only teaching my 2 children but taking care of them, means the world to my husband and I. Our older child has be excelling academically and our youngest is thriving. A lot more extracurricular activities are now offered which creates a great balance. We love the staff and feel great knowing that the same morals taught at home are continuing in school. It takes a village to raise and teach a child and with St. Joseph's and our family our children are getting a great advantage. We always recommend St. Joseph's to parents, the start of any child's education should be a loving, happy, pleasant and comfortable experience. They will get that at St. Joseph of the Palisades.