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!
I Love this school. One of Virginia Beach's best kept secrets. I can't believe that I failed to moved my kids to this school sooner.
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!
Great place to educate my children in a faith based environment. They truly are "The Best at the Beach."
We have four children at St. John The Apostle school and could not be happier. This is a small, family oriented, well-run school and we feel truly blessed to be a part of it. And Father Cole has been a fantastic addition. He is very involved in the school and I look forward to his regular services and Friday services with the children as he relates to them so well. Thank you St. Johns! Sincerely, Anne Tammaro
We have been at SJA since the beginning and the school has come a long way. The new Principal & administration is wonderful! That was their weakest link in the past. The education my children have gotten is excellent. We left SJA briefly and my child was put in the gifted program at her public school. Even though the public school she attended was supposed to be one of the best in the city, it did not compare to SJA. The teachers did not care as much and when she went back to SJA she was behind. She hated her public school experience and begged us to send her back to SJA. The families care a great deal about the school and the kids. The teachers do too. I recommend this school to anyone who wants a safe, caring environment & a great education for their children.
We are grandparents and we are very involved in our grandchild's education. Our grandchild is a very bright, loving and care child. When the time came to pick a new school for our grandchild we, as a family, picked SJA due to their excellent reputation. Their NEW (2 yrs.) principal, their teachers and staff members are AWESOME! In reading the comments from another parent I noticed that one parent was upset for SJA's volunteer program. I totally disagree with this parent. ST. John's parents work together...and even though working parents time might be limited...St. John offers several ways to volunteer through out the year. Why should only a hand full of parents do all of the work? That is not teaching the children the value of TEAM WORK and fair play. Values needed in the real world, once they are out of school.
It is like one big, loving family. We all come together to help each other out with God's love as our guiding light. The education the students receive is head and shoulders above anything I've ever seen before. My daughter cries whenever there is a vacation or the end of the year comes around- she wants to keep going to school and learn!!!
I Love this school im about to graduate in two years and all i can say is i realy needed help and the teachers are great! <3 i loved every one.
Our son started at SJA for 1st grade and is now a rising 4th grader. We love SJA, the faculty and staff. Our new principal (going into his 2nd year) is phenomenal and is doing a great job. This year they are offering a 'Little Ray's' program for 3 yr olds. We are growing! I highly recommend SJA to anyone who is looking for a Catholic faith-based education.
We have been at St. Johns since the beginning and are so happy with the quality of education our children are getting. The school gets better every year.
I love SJA. The teachers each year have gone above and beyond to teach my child everything she needs to know for the year. Since being in this school her grades have improved and she now loves school. She looks forward to each year. I can say nothing negative about this school. I only wish they went to High School.
Our new principal is wonderful and very active as opposed to our previous. Mr. Badali has a truly open door policy and strives for education excellence. We are proud osf SJA!
Love this school! my child has been here since pre-k. She has a wonderful teacher that strives to ensure each child does their very best! I'm very happy with the school.
This school is being run into the ground. It has only been open about six years and is not doing well. I went there from 4th to 6th grade. Im now in 8th grade. I believe my parents made the right choice to switch me to a new school. St. Johns has so many wonderful people at it ,but the moment a problem comes up no one is there to take responsibility. I know if givin time St. Johns will suceed at becoming a better school ,but it will take some time. Time I did not have. My parents believed that They couldn't just saty at St. Johns and hope they would get it together. It was my last years of middle school and they didn't want to screw up my one and only chance at a good education. Im much happier now that I have left St. Johns
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