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St Joseph Elementary School

Private | K-8 | 593 students


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Living in Herndon

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $327,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $1,680.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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3 stars

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33 reviews of this school

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Posted August 2, 2014

Wow, these reviews are very disheartening. Does anyone have anything good to say about the math and science programs at St. Joseph's? I recognize that negative reviewers are more likely to post, but there should be a few more positive reviews here ... unless ...? I am considering St. Joseph's for my 9 yo son, and it would be great if there were more posts here about the specifics of the quality of the STEM classes. Thx.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 20, 2014

We bought a house in Herndon so we would be close to SJS. However, it became clear early on that we would not be sending our kids there for their entire elementary-school career. While I liked the teachers my kids had in kindergarten and 1st grade, the 2nd-grade choices were questionable, and above all the principal is not interested at all in the opinions/concerns of the parents. Suggestions are met with a paternalistic pat on the head. Times have changed in the ~40 years she has been there, but things remain status quo. As far as the quality of the education - I judged the science fair for 2 years and had to stop volunteering out of disappointment. There are no opportunities for enrichment or extra help. The Blue Ribbon status they are always touting was from SEVEN years ago! Like many parents, one of my reasons for choosing a Catholic-school education for my kids was so they could be taught in a Christ-like environment. I found this was not the case at SJS - the only benefit was having religion classes so my kids didn't have to spend their Saturdays in CCD. Christian values can be taught in any school, whether or not they can use the word Christ.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 16, 2013

Overall, St. Joe's is a good school. It is challenging academically with large classes (35 max per classroom - which really is too large for first graders trying to learn to read). If your child is at either end of the spectrum, it may not be the best fit for them as classes are geared for the high middle of the curve. The teachers are mostly very encouraging and loving, except for one who likes to bully certain kids - and yes, everyone knows who that teacher is but nothing is ever done about it. (I hear the same complaints each year.) The school community can be cliquish and some of the kids are bullied terribly - again, everyone knows who those bullies are, but nothing is done, maybe because their parents are bullies as well. I hear the older grades are worse than the younger, so heaven help us when we get there. Having said all that, our kids are happy, they are learning and I have met many wonderful people there. There are many volunteer opportunities (once you take a class) that give you the chance to see the school and meet others. I think smaller classes (at least for the little ones) and a zero tolerance toward bullying would go a long way to make this a 5 star school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 17, 2013

For the most part I think St. Joe's was a good school. I sent my children (3) there because I wanted them to get the same education I did, that is a catholic taught environment. The biggest problem I had with the school was bullying and clique problem particularly by the students. It was apparent that the parents imparted this behavior because, for the most part, they were very competitive. However, there were a few congenial parents. The teachers tried to help the students, some more than others. Another problem, there was a lot of nepotism.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 20, 2013

I absolutely love this school. It's my son's first year and he enjoys the teacher, faculty and all the kids in his class. It's a loving community and enviornment. Not sure what the below review is all about, but I've seen nothing but warmth and kindness toward the kids and parents. I regularly check in with my son's teacher and love the updates I'm given. Their aftercare program is wonderful - with plenty of people to oversee the kids. Everyone has to go through a background check in order to volunteer at the school - that includes all faculty as well...anyone who works for the church and school. It's a close-knit community and couldn't feel happier or more confident with the education my son is getting from the school. For me, the fact it seems smaller than other catholic schools (and public) with 600 kids shows me they get the time and attention needed to thrive. I think the experience is what you make it - become involved and volunteer and you and your child get more out with the more you put in. I've made several friends and find it extremely easy to talk to the staff, parents and students. I'm confident in the school and the faith and education they instill in my son
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 13, 2013

Teachers not very well educated. Overly competitive. The concentration is on the stars of the school, so the test scores go up. No-one cares about the kids who are not super-achievers. The parents and teachers are clique-ish. Years of pain that has left my son damaged. A cruel environment. Religion without kindness.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 30, 2013

Great school. So far in two years there, my son is thriving. He is doing well academically, spiritually and physically and he makes friends easy. I've liked the interaction I've had with the Principal and teachers there. I like this school a lot and know my son will do well and is in good hands. I don't understand the negative reviews as I haven't seen it and my wife and I are fairly active and she volunteers her time there. She taught in Catholic schools and she sees what a nice place it is for our son.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 9, 2012

I have three children at this school. All three are doing well academically and enjoy going to school. The teachers are caring and experienced. The principal is a very hands on lady who shockingly seems to know everyone's name. The parents at this school are aslo very hands on and very involved (some might see that as cliqueish, I'm not in a clique nor do I care to be). Parents are encouraged to volunteer in classroom activites, field trips and special events. I volunteer and having been a teacher (elsewhere) myself I know what to look for in a classroom setting and student behavior. My observations have led me to conclude that this is a healthy nurturing environment! (BTW, all volunteers even parents must submit to a background check & attend a lengthy seminar prior to any contact with students) I am pleased with the moral values taught to the children. Some have complained about the student teacher ratio, but the teachers receive help from TAs and volunteers which consequently frees up the teacher's workload and allows them to focus more on the students. No school is ever perfect, but this one does not deserve some of the negative comments I have seen on this website.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 9, 2012

Don't send your child to this school. When I attended it, I was constantly bullied and often felt left out. I thought it was my fault until I attended a public high school, when I realized it wasn't me, it was them. I also find the lack of diversity among the students disappointing. I gave this school two stars solely because of the excellent English and history programs it offers. Its math program is terrible, and I suffered its consequences in high school. So one star for you, St. Joe's.

Posted September 20, 2012

With my second child at SJS I am still very satisfied. K and 1st grade were excellent and my nonreader blossomed. The spelling, reading, and vocabulary curriculum is mutually reinforcing and a good mix of phonics and whole word recognition. Math is equally good, with the basics and some good set theory blended well. Science is weaker. Religion is a focus, but that is what I expected and wanted from a Catholic school. The staff is not super friendly and the parents are cliquish. This school is not for everyone, but it delivers as advertised.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 19, 2012

Have had my child there since K and have had no issues with the school other than their sports programs which are very questionable. Great school overall
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 28, 2012

St. Joseph's school is nicely situated in Herndon. It has a fairly decent staff, but they are incredibly fast paced and heaven help you if your child is struggling or has a question. They won't slow down. They simply want to get through the syllabus regardless if the children actually LEARN anything. Their handwriting is top notch, their English program and History programs are excellent. Their Science is so-so and the Math is horrendous. You will find your child ill prepared for the rigors of High School (private or public) in the areas of Math and Science if they attend St. Joseph's.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 11, 2012

If you love your kids, do not send them to this school. I attended SJS from 94'-01 and it was an awful experience that no child should have to endure. Send your kids to a public school this building's administration does not have the right aim for instructing our youth

Posted December 1, 2011

My personal opinion about st. Joe's is that this school has some how engaged in some creative and questionable computation of test scores in order to be given a blue ribbon title in 2007. Their aggressive race for the blue ribbon title came about in response to another catholic school that opened up just a few miles from st. Joe's which consequently caused their enrollment to decline. When that other school opened their enrollment was just around 55 students and in the next few years that quickly rose to over 300. Their increase meant that st. Joe's had to up their anti and find a way to stand out. What better way than to get the blue ribbon title, and I will add at any means necessary. I have said all of this to paint a clear picture for you, should you choose to send your child to st. Joe's with it's blue ribbon title and all it's trappings that may convey in your decision making process so that you may think long and hard before making an investment in your child's education that would be by and large in the end perhaps much worse than if you had chosen a well established local public school. To be specific at grade 1 you are lucky if your child successfully passes reading.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted September 25, 2011

Everything's relative. This school is good if your child is "in the middle". However, the teachers simply cannot meet the needs of either end of the bell curve when there are 35 students in a classroom. I went to Catholic school all my life and wanted the same environment for my children. I guess the 70's are over! The school was very rigid and unyielding. My child's teachers was completely unwilling to engage in any meaningful discussions about whether my child was advanced academically. I would not recommend this school if your child is on either end of the spectrum. I also found many of the other parents to be very cliquish and at times unfriendly. I was hoping for a more open, friendly, caring educational environment. The principal is good but she must march to the orders of the Diocese of Arlington and I doubt is able to stretch beyond its rigid educational boundaries.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted August 1, 2011

My child just completed his first year at St.Joe's and we are so impressed with the school. The Principal is phenomenal and our child has increased confidence in himself and his faith has grown stronger.We want our children to have a faith based education, where the word Jesus was not forbidden and we are so happy since we transferred from the local public school system. Sending our child to St. Joe's has been the best decision we have made as parents. Thanks to all the faculty who do such a great job!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 30, 2011

When I heard there was a Blue Ribbon School of Excellence in the Herndon area, I was ecstatic. Less than 300 schools in the nation are bestowed with this prestigious award and I had wondered if I would every find one close enough for my son to attend. My son went to private school from kindergarten until 4th grade. I figured why am I spending all this money when the public school in Loudoun were being herald by the media as "some of the best schools in the country". After two years at Horizon Elementary I was beyond frustrated in terms of teacher quality and the extremely low academic expectations. Every week my son would come home with straight A's. Why is that a problem, you may ask. The problem is that his A's were based on things that he had already mastered 3 years before... he never had to study, he was constantly placed in classes well below his level and it is my belief that they do this to skew their results so they can claim a higher than average test results. Anyway back to Saint Joseph's School... At St. Joseph s, I feel like I m home for the first time in years. The program is phenomenal!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 7, 2011

I will not recommend this school. I transferred my child from another private school where teaching was much more advanced. All his test scores were extremely high (almost always 100%) and yet his teacher omplained that he could not cope with their fast paced envrionment (could not cut, color as fast as the other kids,etc.). The teacher agreed with me that academically he was excelling and also was finding a hard time why she was expressing her concern. When I spoke to my child his explanation was he wanted to do quality work. That's when it dawned on me that "quality work" was not valued at St. Joe's as much as "quantity". I should have known better when I was questioning why their student teacher ratio was so much higher than public school -- 1 is to 35 students as opposed to 1 is to 26.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted May 6, 2010

My oldest child attended this school from 2nd through 8th grade. My younger children attended here several years before we moved. We all miss St. Joseph School. The school is awesome, the faculty is great and the parents are very involved. It is a Blue Ribbon school and I feel it is better than the Blue Ribbon school my younger children attend now. Mrs. Cargill is a loving & caring principal who has devoted her life to making St. Joseph's the best it can be. We love St. Joseph's!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted March 1, 2010

St. Joseph's is both terrible and helpful respectively. Honestly, i would say that the teachers and cirriculum are amazing with english subjects in general. However, in math and science they are extremely lacking. I attend a public high school and am detrimentally behind in my math and science classes, especially in comparison with my peers. The worst part about St. Joseph's is that it doesn't allow you to express yourself whatsoever. The staff is so busy forcefeeding you Catholicism and teaching you to conform, that you don't develop your own personality. In addition, the cliques are terrible. Not only are the strict cliques present among the students, but also within the parents. I now attend a school where i am free to shape my own values and morals, and ultimately, who i am and who i will be. I'm so grateful that i can be who i amr

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The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

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750 Peachtree Street
Herndon, VA 20170
Phone: (703) 880-4315


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