This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
St. James Catholic School5
Posted September 21, 2013
- a parent
St. James Catholic School is one of the best academic schools in NOVA. It obtained Blue Ribbon status in 1999, and has maintained it ever since. Recently, the Johns Hopkins Center for Talented Youth (CTY) search ranked St. James #4 in the state. The middle school offers 3 math tracks: pre-Algebra, Algebra, and Geometry, as well as National Junior Honor Society. SJS offers LabLearner, a 100% hands-on supplemental science program for K-8 with a fully equipped in-school lab in its dedicated science room. My daughter was recently accepted into CTY, and we just learned that my son, qualifies to test. CTY will soon be offered on-site at SJS. The class size for both my children was 21 students. In addition to the great teaching and spiritual training, SJS facilities and staff are wonderful. It offers a light filled, spacious art room with two art teachers, a large music center with great acoustics and a wonderful music teacher who goes beyond the call of duty, an up-to-date library, a state-of-the-art computer room, and regulation size gym. SJS recently purchased ipads for students' use. Most important and best of all, my children look forward to school every day!
I have a daughter who went to St. James and it was HORRIBLE! The teachers were strict and she barely learned anything. They do not have any advanced English or math classes, everyone is at the same level. They do not have a foreign language choice, everyone learns Spanish. And the parents and teachers judge people by how much money they have, what they wear, if they live in a bigger house, if they're from the U.S., ect. I thought this was a Catholic school, but its a school for really rich people. I moved my daughter to public school and she is much happier and her grades are better. She I more social and don't discriminate anyone by race or if they are poor.
This school has a great religion program, as expected at a Catholic school and has some great teachers. However, the resources/staff are so limited (one teacher shares an aid with several other classrooms), the classroom size so big for a private school that there is little if any effort to differentiate learning among students or to provide any individualized teaching to advanced learners or students with difficulty learning. Everyone is taught the exact same way regardless of the level of knowledge at the start of the module. In terms of improvement, besides some differentiated learning, the school could benefit from more attention to its art, computer science, and music program. Also, there needs to be more adult supervision at recess because it is basically a free for all and the kids have to fend for themselves against potential bullying and harassment. Overall, the teachers are totally committed and do their best; they just need more support from the administration/pastor and/or congregation in terms of resources and planning time.
Our son and daughter attend St. James and have had terrific experiences, both academically and socially. The facilities are terrific, the homework assignments are meaningful and challenging but not daunting, and the parents and faculty communicate well together. Our kids love the school, look forward to seeing their classmates each day, and have a great time in the aftercare program each afternoon -- so much so that our son asks us to leave and come back later if we try to pick him up early. It's been a great experience.
I have 3 children at St. James and all have had wonderful experiences. The teachers have been caring and sensitive to our personal issues. They want to help each child do their best whether they need more assistance or more challenge (I have children on both ends of the spectrum). I am very active in the school community and continue to be impressed by the dedication of the faculty, staff and families. I have read the previous posting about behavior management, but I don't believe giving children choice cards and positive feedback for good behavior is a negative. I have friends who have transferred to St James and they have told me that the good behavior in the classrooms is a welcome change from their previous school and has really enhanced their children's learning. It has been a wonderful community for us.
WARNNIG TO ANY PARENT CONSIDERING KINDERGARTEN AT THIS SCHOOL. If you want to pay thousands of dollars to damage your child s self-esteem this is the school for you. This school still practices exclusion and humiliation as part of its routine for behavior management on KINDERGARTNERS. And in their dealings with parents they use bullying and deception to coerce parents into agreement. No kindergarten student s behavior can be so bad that it deserves such a poor response from the school system, which is designed to pull students up rather than tear them down. When I brought all these issues to the principal, St. James was unwilling to move my son to another room. I wrote to all the senior members of the Archdiocese of Arlington and had no response. Sadly it was only after leaving St. James that I found many parents with similar experiences here. Perhaps in our typical Catholic fashion we find it difficult to criticize the Catholic Church or its systems.
Great school -- academics, socially, seasoned teachers, science, enrichment programs, being a community for the parents, teachers and kids together. The leadership is wonderful and the only criticism would be that they are not bragging enough. Our first son there (a bright, chipper, fidgety little 2nd grader) is happy and things are only about to get better!
I totally disagree with the comments posted on Feb. 12th. My children currently attend St. James and the teachers and curriculum have surpassed my expectations. Keep in mind the teachers and staff have to hear all sides of every situation they encounter and make the best decision possible based on the information they have. They certainly address bullying issues and are always looking for ways to improve their teaching, technology and communication. I believe they can teach to all levels of the classroom. My children have needed extra help at times and they received it. They've also needed more challenge and received that too. I love St. James!!!!
We have been so blessed to be a part of St. James School. My children have thrived here, because of the rigorous academics and the love of Christ that permeates the school. The IHM sisters model Mary in all that they do. Children are disciplined with love and faith, using the teachings of Jesus Christ.