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.
Our school is doing an awesome job challenging the children. This is our second year and my children have never been more excited about school. They are never bored as they have been at other schools. The principal is so visionary and it is obvious she has the school's best interest in any decisions she makes. I have found that if parents don't get their way, they feel she does not listen or want their input. She is always open to new ideas. This school is second to none. I truly can not say enough about this wonderful place!
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!!
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.
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.
Wow! This Principal is the same one that hand writes cards to EVERY student for EVERY holiday and EVERY birthday...prospective students too. This Principal hands out ladybugs during assemblies for showing good character (my 11-year old still treasures hers). This Principal cooks gingerbread boys/girls with preschoolers and then runs with them around the school trying to find the escaped cookies. She knows every child by name and how they are doing in their classes without ever opening a file! You may not agree with all her decisions but she is passionate and committed like no other! It's a tought job! When asked what they love about SJN, my kids remark on the library (huge and has dedicated librarian who gets even the smallest child excited about reading), teachers (feel safe, loved and know they can ask any question), and kids (they are just "nice" and don't speak bad language or are mean). That's exactly what my kids told me in the car this morning. Wow, I guess if a loving, safe, strongly academic environment that teaches structure and encourages self- disipline aren't what you're looking for in a school then, nope, SJN is not right for you. Seriously?
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.
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. :)
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!
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.
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 education....you can't get any better than this. Nothing can compare!
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.
I think that SJN school is leaving a deep footprint in my child's life. I cannot complain, because the academic level my child has gotten until now, is wonderful. Although sometimes the grade given is not in accordance with the good answers written. I like the values that the teachers have passed onto my child, and the ways most of them have toward the children to help them succeed. I would pay more attention to the artistic programs, especially music and drama skills. It would be nice if the children have the chance to learn how to play an instrument and some acting skills at the school. The other thing is the so strict disciplinary system, which often is too much for the development of the children's identity and the handling of their issues.
We recently pulled our child from SJN. I am dissapointed to report, our daughter is learning more in her new school than we saw at SJN in three years, and we paid a great deal to have her there. Her writing and math skills have been more challenged and better developed at her new school. I have also found the teachers at this new school to be much more inviting and engaged in the teaching process. I felt SJN had an elitist attitude, we are happy to be in a new environment which fosters individuality and acceptance of a wide range of socioeconomic families.
I thought last year was great, but this year is incredible! We transfered to SJN last year, and were so impressed. This year, they are challenging one child, making her stretch and thinking outside of the box. My other child needs a little more reinforcement, which he receives daily in the classroom. We couldn't be happier with all that is happening at St. John Neumann School.
This school is nationally recognized! The principal was awarded the National Catholic Distinguished Principal of the year award. The teachers put in many, long hours developing Differentiated Instructional lessons to meet individual children's needs. Students score in the top 10% of the nation on the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills. I wouldn't have my children anywhere else!
What a great school! This is our fourth year at SJN and every year, the excitement of the first of the year is outstanding. The faculty and staff, under the guidance of an outstanding principal, is always looking at ways to meet each child's needs. What a wonderful place for our whole family!
There's no obvious reason why this school falls so short. The parents are friendly and active, there's just something about the atmosphere. We were initially excited, but I have to say the rigidness and the doctrinaire approach takes away from the experience. Like any school there are some very good teachers. Extra curricular activities are not offered by the school, but they allow local karate clinics, golf instructors, etc. on campus for a fee. To be fair, we met some parents who liked it. I'd just strongly suggest you look beyond the veneer-- take more than a quick tour and investigate if it's the best fit for you.
The welcoming and family atmosphere at SJN is incredible. The school has been able to meet the needs of all of our children through offering enrichment work and reinforcement help. I love the differentiated instruction and the ability to advance to the appropriate grade level and math and reading, while staying with your class for all other subjects. The teachers know and love these kids. On more than one ocassion, they have told me that my child did not seem like themselves. Sure enough, within 24 hours, they had a bug. How perceptive of these teachers! Truly SJN is a gem!
The environment was very restrictive and stifling. Education here is 'filling the bucket,' not 'lighting a fire.' It was not a fun place to learn. I hate to say it, since I have always liked Catholic education, but if your kids are at all different or challenged, this will not be a good fit. And if you want you kids to be excited about learning, this is not the place.
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