This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
St John The Apostle Catholic School5
Posted November 01, 2014
- a community member
RECENTLY, I HAD THE EXPERIENCE OF VISITING THIS WONDERFUL SCHOOL. I WAS VERY IMPRESSED WITH THE TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS. THE STUDENT''S REVERENCE AND PARTICIPATION AT MASS WAS EXEMPLARY. I HAVE BEEN INVOLVED WITH CATHOLIC EDUCATION FOR MANY YEARS AND HAVE NEVER MET A FINER OR MORE DEDICATED STAFF. THE STAFF AND STUDENTS MADE ME FEEL VERY WELCOME.
I have witnessed teachers and parents yell at students as well as talk about other students behind their backs. While I know that happens everywhere, I was shocked that it happened at a "faith" based school. This school should be ashamed!
This is an excellent school for motivated students and parents who are involved. This is NOT the school if your child has special needs, and being a private school, the school is not required to have one. Many other local Catholic or private schools boast their special-ed programs, and SJA is an excellent, mainstream, faith-based school. My family feels comfortable at SJA, after previously attending another local private school for four years. The students were warm & welcoming, encouraging even, and the parent involvement is excellent. The teachers are top-notch, providing a challenging curriculum to our three children. My husband and I looked extensively into our public school options and after interviewing several administrators and teachers at our local Virginia Beach schools, neither one of us was impressed. One of the teachers couldn't even speak English appropriately, and this woman wanted to teach my children? NO THANKS! We'll take St. John the Apostle any day!
First of all, I am a former VBCPS teacher and have taught in many different states with public education systems far, far superior to what Virginia Beach professes to offer. Please parents, do NOT believe the hype about the public schools in this city being "excellent", they are average on a good day, and then don't forget about the violence, overcrowding, sex on school grounds (yes, I went there) and the ever present drug problems that plague the schools. No school is perfect, but SJA offers small class sizes, an excellent curriculum, great guidence program which piggy backs onto the religion program and top notch parental involvement. My own children who were A students at the local "gifted" elementary school came here and were behind compared to their peers. Enough said. Make the right decision for your family and your budget, but know that the public education in this city can not compare with the private school offerings.
This is a good school however do not love the kindergarden class. They have a reward system that is very complicated even for adult to understand. They have to wear their brag tags on Friday for the whole school to see. If they do not have many beads they get to show the whole school how poor they are doing. This is not a very motivating system and makes many of the poor kids feel bad about themself! Sad that they are treated like this!
SJA is the place for a faith based education. It is the only Catholic school in VA Beach that offers weekly mass. We are very happy with the religious education, Father Rob, Mr. Badali (principal), and admin staff. SJA offers main stream education; it does not have special ed or gifted programs. Students who are at extreme spectrum will have to engage tutors. We sent our kids for tutoring with a Reading Specialist; Ms. Catherine DiGioia. They have improved tremendously and are able to read at an above grade level. After two school years, I would rate SJA - 5 stars for religious education, 5 stars for my tutor, 3 stars for quality of teachers, and 5 stars for parents involvement.
SJA has its' good points, but they don't outweigh the bad. Our experience was not what was represented to us when we interviewed with the principal. We have one very good student and one who struggles. Instead of helping our child, he was insulted by a middle school teacher (in front of his class mates) on more than one occasion. When we asked for help, we were told that it was the responsibility of our child to search for help, and not the job of the teachers to reach out to him. One of our reasons for choosing a small private school was to get the attention that our child needed. Unfortunately, this is not a school that subscribes to that ideal.
SJA is a good school, just not a great school (I would recommend Red Mill Elementary if you decide to live in the local area (rated much higher than SJA). If your child is above or below average don't expect much... The issue with private school is there are limited resources. There are no advanced classes and if you have a child that struggles, they will be left behind (one of my kids is in this situation). Don t get me wrong, there is plenty of love at SJA and they welcomed us with open arms however, as a parent I want the best education opportunity for my child and knowing what I know today after three years at SJA, I would not personally recommend it unless they change both their hiring policy (get rid of teachers that fail them), and raise their education challenge) just not advanced training or education for those that need extra attention. Our experience was hit and misses. One child would have a great teacher (although no advanced classes) and the other child had a teacher that was clearly a teacher that was doing her time I moved two of my kids to Red Mill (next door to SJA) and I could not be happier!
We brought our child here after many years in a public school. She quickly made friends, connected with her teacher as well as the staff, and is involved in extra-curricular activities and sports (which is not even offered in elementary public school). We are thrilled that this school has helped her academically and socially, but also to grow spiritually!