This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
St Joseph Elementary School5
Posted August 02, 2014
- a parent
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.