This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Jefferson Forest High School4
Posted May 09, 2014
- a parent
I have two children currently enrolled at JF, on opposite ends of the academic spectrum. One has an IEP and has to work hard for average grades; the other takes all advanced classes and never gets below a B. So I feel that I have "seen it all" in terms of teaching strategies and coursework. It does seem that my child in advanced courses gets the better teachers. That being said, with the exception of 2 teachers (who I wonder why they are still employed), I think they have done their best and really care about my kids. Even my IEP child has passed all his SOLs, which is impressive to me. The band program is easily the best in the area and the director gives 110% effort to make it so. I can't give JF 5 stars, mainly because I come from an area that invests a lot more in its students in terms of funding, and there are things that JF is lacking in comparison. Poor funding by the county is not their fault. They do the best they can with what they are given, and I have been very satisfied as a parent.
First off, the only reason I won't give it a 5 star rating is because no school is going to be perfect. As a current student, I find JF to be a great place to attend school. Yes, there are cliques, but we all still understand each other and we don't have wars between the various cliques. I am currently a junior and since freshman year I can only recall maybe two rights, and they were not bad at all- just minor. The band program is easily the best in central Virginia and defiantly in competition for one of the best in the state. The theater and choir programs are both excelling at what they do, each earning various titles for their achievements. The sports teams are all mediocre at least, most are competing for state champion year after year. Lacrosse has recently been added as a sport. The teachers are mostly great, with a few exceptions, but that is objective. With all the AP and pre-AP courses offered it is easy to excel. The administration is great for the number of students there are; they cannot catch everything, but still enforce the rules. The building itself is ion good condition. I highly recommend JF to everyone!
I've had three kids progress from Forest Middle School to JFHS, two have moved on to college. I do think that some of the criticisms are warranted. It is a large enough school that various student groups (cliques) exist. I've encountered at least one case of excessive rule based approach by the management. Still, a student that wants to excell can do so here. They have a decent AP and pre-AP program. The band program is the best in the extended area, and many kids participate. The football program is mediocre (which I see as a plus) except for the halftime shows. I have periodically asked my kids about how they are treated and have yet to see a hint of what I had to put up with when I was their age. The bottom line for me is that the two local elementary schools (Forest and TJ) are excellent. Forest Middle school is very good, as is JFHS. My two college age boys are adapting well to the next level. I am happy with this school.
JF is simply in the top of the area. I am a current junior. Of the teachers I've had, two were below average, most were average, and maybe five or six have been GREAT. JF offers the most AP classes in the area, and is part of the VASS grant that both pays for the AP test, pays for review sessions for the AP test, and gives both the student and teacher $100 if the student passes the AP test. I have had no qualms with he building. JF has some of the highest test scores in the area. I am lucky enough to be in both the JF Cross Country team and Wind Symphony (Both consistently successful for over 15 years). The soccer and volleyball teams are also often successful. The other arts such as theater are also good, just not at the level of the nearby EC Glass High (the only comparable school in the area). Yes, there are cliques, as in every high school. I am in what would be considered cliques for band (the biggest), Latin (The most fun and diverse), Cross Country (The most...Health Conscious), and CVGS (This one spans multiple schools in the area). People tend to stay in their groups, but they don't resent others. New ones are constantly formed. New students are welcomed with open arms.
JF is a great school to which to send your child. There are many course offerings, and they challenge the students to think critically and develop understanding of the world around them. They offer many Advanced Placement courses, and have many students in upper level and advanced classes. The students take pride in their school and most seem to enjoy being there. As others have stated, there are problems with cliques, but that is in any high school in any city or county in the country. I would encourage any parent or student to find a school anywhere in the country or for that matter in the world that doesn't have cliques. I guarentee that you cannot. The staff does a much better job in enforcing the rules, and in making sure that students are respected. Student input in resolving inter-student issues is highly encouraged. I would most definately send my children to JF without any reservations. The education that they receive there goes beyond the classroom to teach them about life and how to interact with people of all types and how to deal with cliques, which students will have to deal with even after school.
There are many problems with fights, and selling, buying and trading things. Most families are unsophisticated, insular types. The typical "popular" student drives a pickup or SUV too fast, chews tobacco, smokes, uses crude language. Girls cake on makeup and wear revealing clothes. Quality of education is average for comparable rural Virginia schools. Teachers drag their heels on special needs. Admin focuses entirely on rules. Arts are virtually nonexistent, No hockey or lacrosse. Excellent volleyball. Lynchburg City schools are definitely better: my child has gone to both. JF kids say Glass students think they're a bunch of rich snobs--I'm actually quoting here!--but the reality is that city students think Bedford Cty students are rednecks. The average income and education level of the population from which the school draws is higher in the city. Wish I hadn't bought a home outside city. I'd willingly pay higher taxes for better schools.
As a current student, I would give JF a 2 1/2 star rating. JF's an okay school but there is defenitly nothing special about it for the average student. The only things I really consider positive are good test scores and their good band and cross country/soccer teams. However, JF is ruled by cliques-if you're not solely in one, you become a social outcast-and a bunch of extremely judgemental students. Also the so called 'newly renevated' school has problems with water leaking through the ceiling in the brand new part of the building. For the average student who fits in, JF's probarly fine, but for me, it defenitly does not do me any justice.
I can't give JF a five star rating, because there are a lot of cliques among students, but I didn't send my son there for the social life. My son has a learning disability which for most of his life had been ignored, pushed away, or even turned around on him as 'laziness' or even 'stupidity.' At JF, I have had several congenial meetings with all of his teachers and the administrators, his disability is addressed head on and on a daily basis, and he is learning faster and getting better grades and standardized scores than ever before. I am thrilled to have found such a fine school.