Both of my daughters attended Catholic school until high school, and then attended JEB Stuart to experience the diversity the school offered. Both were full IB candidates and went on to ACC and SEC schools. They both competed in varsity sports every season for four years, and one of them went onto compete in college. Unlike a lot of Northern Virginia schools, Stuart does have a lot of minority and disadvantaged students, which brings down their average tests scores, but the needs of the best and the brightest are met better than at lilly white schools where there are so many above average kids. Unlike some schools, Stuart manages to raise up the lowest, and push the highest even higher.
Stuart's sports teams are not that good but for the most part the school is pretty good. IB classes are difficult however, as rumored previously on the site, the classes are not just full of all white teens. Thats simply impossible for such a diverse school. The classes are hard but its worth it when you get good grades. Their is plenty of disciplinary action and students usually know their place. In the 10th grade you could take AP Gov., which is a college level course. Honors classes are sometimes called pre-IB, or classes that prepare you for IB in your junior and senior year. A majority of kids speak a second language. A highly recomendable school.
As a 2003 graduate I can with all hosnesty that I received a wonderful education at Stuart. I just graduated with a double-major. I graduated from an academically-challenging university and although I may have complained about the high school while a student there, I can now see what a great education I received. I took some IB classes and did well there academically , but the true lessons to be learned there were of lessons in humanity. We survived the sniper attacks and 9/11 and the school taught us to lean on eachother, not to lash out at one another. I am a better person for attending Staurt. In fact, I had a full ride to the university of my choice. The topic of my entrance interview? International relations. How appropriate for a Stuart graduate!
I have only recently fully retired from substituting at Stuart. I taught full time (Government and ESL social studies classes) for 10 years and substituted, only at Stuart, for another ten years. Overall, it is the finest school I served in my 40 plus years of teaching. Given the diverse nature of the school, teachers have to be open-minded, fair, and extremely patient. I have a Ph.D. and more than forty years' teaching experience in small towns and urban environments. If I had a high-school-aged child, I would prefer to have him/her at Stuart over any other Fairfax County school except Thomas Jefferson.
JEB Stuart HS has a very diverse student population. The school administration has made great strides in raising the level of basic academic achievement for the student body. Stuart has the IB Diploma high option and also offers AP courses. Student participation in athletics is weak, probably due to the diversity of the student body. The school could also do a better job of developing and encouraging a culture of participation. The award-winning principal, Dr. Mel Riddle (NASSP/Met Life Principal of the Year for the U.S.) is moving to T.C. Williams HS for the 2006-2007 school year. A successor has not yet been found.
Here's what I have to say about Stuart. Its what you make of it. One review said, 'white kids will find it hard to connect with anyone similar to them during school hours, unless they are in IB classes .' Thats... to be nice, close minded. I made the best friends I could have and always had people to rely on. I dont think being white meens I have to join IB and hang out with white kids. Thats why Stuart was a great school. The only divisions are the ones made by the divided. I was in every group I wanted to. As for extra curricular activities, the school was more than generous if you wanted to start your own club. One girl started a kniting club, and was even given a scholarship for it.
If you wanted a real breakdown of this institution, you've got it. This review comes from the perspective of an Asian-American rising junior who is fully enrolled in IB and excelling in all the internationally acclaimed 'rigors' of the IB program. OK, so with that tidbit of background info, I believe Stuart is mediocre at best. Stuart is not the 'melting pot' that President Bush proclaimed it to be during his televised visit to our supposed 'breakthrough' school. Though it is true that Stuart is wonderfully diverse, there is great disparity among the students. As with any public school, the low-income students, do not intermingle with the upper-bracket folks. Additionally, ethnically the students are inclined to conglomerate with their own races. However, I don't view this as a bad thing but the public eye tends to shun this behavior.
JEB Stuart is an OK school. The academic program is said to be very good but from being in the classes it doesn't look like any of the other students care. The after school programs are pretty good. They have a huge variety of extracurricular activies and many sports. It doesn't really seem like the parents are involved that much. Sometimes I see a parent volunteer in the library and parents call to students houses for sports. Overall it's a good school.
My son is has attended a year and a half. If he wasn't in sports, he'd have few to talk to (teams are community spirited and coaches are dedicated graduates of the school). There are only 13% white kids and white kids will find it hard to connect with anyone similar to them during school hours, unless they are in IB classes (but good luck getting in them, some staff say simply sign up and others say 'you have to be recommended by your last teacher!'). It appears from knowing families from zoned elementaries that many families fled to other schools unless their kids had learning/emotional disability issues. It is hard to find stellar performers there now, unlike 20 years ago.
The best part about this school is the diversity. Yeah, once you're there, you'll hear it over and over and over, but it really is great. It teaches you patience, tolerance and understanding in a way that few other schools can match. Most of the teachers are good, the IB program is a definite plus, and the sports aren't the bottom of the barrel. Plenty of cool and interesting clubs to join, however, beware the administration. The guidance staff is definitely lacking, as their turnover rate seems so high as to be alarming, and you'll rarely find a counselor that's not being contradicted by a different counselor. (Best plan of action is to get any sort of long term plan (like summer school or something) approved by the head of guidance, and signed. This way, if they should suddenly be replaced, you'll have proof that the last counselor really told you to do these things) The principal seems to wander around, unaware of how his school is run, and very distant from the student body (never actually saw him interact with any students) but thankfully, the secretaries seem to know what's going on. The security staff is usually friendly (as long as you're not breaking rules) and school lunch is... school lunch. There are vending machines, at least. My strong suggestion: bring your own. Definite plus: fresh baked cookies. On the upside: lots of neat electives you can take, like video editing, computer programming and fashion marketing. After four year, it'll leave a mark. For most people, it's a good one.
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