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St John Neumann Catholic Elementary School

Private | PK-6 | 365 students


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Living in Columbia

Situated in a suburban neighborhood. The median home value is $115,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $860.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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38 reviews of this school

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Posted Friday, November 14, 2014

It is interesting to me how few people realize that the teachers, academic and spiritual program of a school can be so successful if the leadership is poor! I have taught in many schools over the years, and this principal is one of the most caring people for whom I have ever worked. A student who feels well prepared for the future and a former employee who can't see the forest for the trees don't seem to be reliable sources. I invite you to come see for yourself!
—Submitted by a teacher

Posted Friday, November 14, 2014

I have never seen a successful business just "happen" without solid leadership. This principal does have great expectations of the faculty, staff, parents, and students. Don't see this as a problem. If you set the bar low, you will only have mediocre results. Set the bar high, you can achieve greatness. The principal is very approachable and willing to find a way to make things work for all involved. We have never experienced an issue with our student (who is, incidentally, ADD) not being able to thrive. Communication with the faculty, staff, and principal have always been key. These people love the children here and want to see them succeed!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted Friday, November 14, 2014

As a teacher and parent, I can say that there is no other school I would send my children.
—Submitted by a teacher

Posted November 12, 2014

Its sad when disgruntled employees choose to rant against an administration instead of looking in the mirror and having an "aha" moment. I do agree with everything said regarding teachers, parents and students. Every child exceeds their dreams and is loved and nurtured in the process. However, the Principal is amazing. It is never easy to be a leader but it is easy to criticize what you don't understand. Walk a mile in her shoes and I think there would be a different tune. She is 100% dedicated to her staff and is all about each child. She goes out of her way every day and frankly, it's the little things that most don't see that make the difference. As to the Pastor's passiveness...ha! That's funny. He knows better because HE knows better!!! Enough said...good gracious!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 5, 2014

I loved teaching at this school. The students, parents, and faculty made everyday worthwhile. The school's greatest strengths are its many fantastic teachers and its delightful student body. However, the principal and parish priest may be the school s downfall. The principal is unfriendly, uninformed, and attempts to bully those teachers who express their professional concerns. The parish priest is indifferent to the troubles the teachers face and willing to turn a blind-eye to the principal s abusive nature.
—Submitted by a teacher

Posted August 12, 2014

This school is fabulous. Is it the best fit for everyone? No, but what school is! Everyone does what is best for the children. I don't understand the comments about the principal. She is one of the most caring, kind people we have ever experienced in a school. The school is the best that it is because of her. She will listen to all. It is when some parents don't get "their way" that they feel she does not "listen" and is a "dictator." I would not want it any other way. Who else knows what is best for the school. She hires some wonderful teachers and guides them to help each child. The teachers accomodate all children, challenging them to be the best they can be. If you want to experience a school like no other, come here.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 12, 2014

Sometimes, it is better for some unhappy people to move on! My children have been at this school for 7 years and we are VERY happy. The principal is like no other. She is helpful, kind, and always warm and friendly. Under her guidance, the teachers go out of their way to help all of the children. One of mine would be one of the children that has special needs, she has been diagnosed with ADHD. The principal developed a plan based on the recommendations sent from our doctor, and the teachers go out of their way to help her. This school is truly God blessed. We are so happy here and would NEVER consider going to another school. My only regret is that our oldest will be graduating soon. I wish this school would consider going through high school!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 6, 2014

The Principal is a dictator. There is nobody's way but her way. DO NOT and I repeat DO NOT send your child there if they have any kind of learning disability (ADD,ADHD,etc) because the school is not equipped to help these children "Experience Success." There is no Guidance Counselor or Psychologist on campus. Like a post below mentioned the school caters to the gifted children leaving the children who need help left behind. Don't waste your money. My child will NOT be returning.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 10, 2014

An absolutely outstanding educational environment! My children attended a very highly rated public school for one year before we realized that we needed a different educational setting. The teachers could not teach due to the amount of behavioral disruptions in the classroom. My children came home asking questions about things that no small children should be overhearing from classmates. However, after two minutes in this school, I realized we had found home. The teachers are incredibly dedicated and professional, and they will give each individual child exactly what he or she needs to soar. My children's standardized test scores are now in the top 95th percentile in both math and reading, and it is due to the commitment and dedication of the faculty. They motivate and inspire, they model and guide, they love and care. The educational environment is safe and quiet, and the children's manners are exceptional. The students care for one another because they watch their teachers treat all with respect every day. This school has made such a positive impact on the lives of my children, and I know that they are getting an incredibly strong foundation in academics and faith.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 6, 2014

This school is very frustrating because the principle does not accept ideas from the parents witch is very frustrating and she listens to nobody
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 6, 2014

From the beginning we were very impressed with the teachers. They interacted with the students very well, however, They could have been better had they not been intimidated by the principal. She seems to be a dictator, only looking out for her big sponsors. I do not blame the teachers for their intimidation.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 14, 2014

The school is losing its luster.....parents are not getting involved. Principal is inflexible to new ideas and that is frustrating parents. Seems like students are only doing projects and the students are not being challenged. Very frustrating!!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 6, 2013

We have been at SJN for almost 7 years and really are pleased with our investment. By the time the kids reach 5th grade, there is such a strong sense of community among them. I would highly suggest that anyone considering SJN go ahead and get your child into the preschool/kindergarten program so that he/she can bond with the other children before the higher grades. I have never been a proponent of private education but this has been a perfect fit for our son who once had a tendency to be on the shy side. So confident now. The school does have a very strong principal who may be perceived as inflexible but she knows her stuff. The kids have much respect for her.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 10, 2013

I guess my previous post was deleted b/c I used the principal's name so here is a summation of what it said. This school is great in spite of the principal. The teachers and parents are what make this school great. The principal is not willing to explore any new ideas (unless it was the principal s idea). New parents are fooled by the principal s notes, signing every paper, etc. The more you deal with the principal; you realize how this person really works. The principal is a dictator. The teachers and students truly fear the principal. Parental involvement continues to decline due to the frustrations with the principal. A new principal is needed to lead SJN into the future because the principal is out of touch with most of the members of the school. New ideas are what will allow SJN to continue to excel and be a leader in academics.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 26, 2013

We took both of our children out of this school. One has a mild learning difference, but wonderfully behaved. The principal is a true dictator and micro-manager. She has created a tense and oppressive atmosphere overall. FInd another school or find out the hard way.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 28, 2013

Our son has attended SJN for 6 years and we have been pleased. The school does an excellent job at providing a Christian environment (we are not Catholic but a third of the families there are not) and providing values based character building in all grades. Academics are excellent and the differentiated instruction assures that children will be appropriately challenged. Many students qualify for the Duke TIPS Program and/or are picked up by the top public magnet middle schools. Expectations are high of the students but we believe that is a good thing. The school is very structured which we like. There is limited tolerance for negative behavior issues which could potentially affect the learning experience of other children. Class size is kept low in preschool - 4th grade. Upper grade classes are often higher. The prior comments about the elitist attitude/feel of the school dumbfounds me as we picked this school over Hammond and Heathwood because it did NOT have an elitist feel. Diverse students. Participative parents. Award winning principal, board and teachers. Very safe environment. Only complaint my son has is having to wear a uniform. :)
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 11, 2012

I am a sixth grade student at SJN. This is a great school! I have only been here two years, but I have learned more here than in all my other years of elementary school. I love the teachers, the expansive library, and the differentiated instruction that they do here. This school has improved my study habits and my work ethic. I also enjoy the production each grade gets to act in every year. The teachers give the students opportunities to come in after school for extra help if they are confused on a subject. The principal also goes out of her way to recognize students for sports awards, good behavior, and exceptional grades. SJN is an amazing school!

Posted July 25, 2011

This school was horrible for my child. He was constantly put in detention and made to do chores that the janitor should have been doing. I am deeply disappointed by the elitist attitude at this school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 6, 2010

Definitely a school where children experience success on a daily basis. I have a child in his 7th year at SJN and one in her 4th year. My children have been challeged since day one at SJN. The teacher involvement is superb. The environment is SAFE, loving, and nurturing. The differentiated instruction is happening in every class. If parents don't see this it's because they aren't involved! As for an elementary can't get any better than this. Nothing can compare!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 17, 2010

We have both of our sons at SJN and it is worth the sacrifices we've made in order to be able to afford to send them there. After considering going to public schools in the area, we quickly realized that no other school in the area comes close to comparing to SJN.
—Submitted by a parent

Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 77% 53%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 8% 1%
Two or more races 7% 3%
Black 3% 36%
American Indian/Alaska Native 2% 0%
Hispanic 2% 7%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 0%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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  • Coed
  • Roman catholic
  • NCEA


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  • Religious


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
Partnerships with local resources and organizations
  • Diocese of Charleston
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721 Polo Road
Columbia, SC 29223
Phone: (803) 788-1367


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