Many educators burned out. Administration failures. Poor test scores from a majority population of students who are not fluent English speakers with no working plan in place to bring them fluent. So much truancy that the surrounding streets during school looks like a mall on a Saturday. I could go on.
Our boys spent eight consecutive years at Stuart, so we learned a lot about the school and its teachers. With its IB program and AP classes, any student who is motivated can get a great education. There are dedicated and hardworking teachers and a safe environment (I can't remember one dangerous incident while our boys were there). The school has low scores because of it's large low income population, but its amazing diversity was a plus for our boys, not a problem.
My son attended this school and had a great academic and personally experience, the staff is always open for dialogue and understands every kid and every background situation that is so different in this area of Falls Church.The community work all together. The IB program is great and challenging for all the kids.
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.