Both my children have attended St John's and I can't say that I would recommend it to anyone looking at high schools. I can say that my children had a good experience. But for a high school that bills itself as challenging academically and college prep, it is not. I don't find the school prepared my oldest for college and it was not challenging even in honors and APs. The teachers can be good but for many of the AP classes, the teachers seem ill-prepared to teach at that level. There is a wide range of styles and effectiveness in these classes. This variance i think is attributable to the lack of interest to provide professional development to the staff or even academic oversight over instruction. I have also found the school was never engaged in getting to know my children or even caring about their outcome. I find this appalling for a LaSallian school. There is a small circle of school favorites that receive most of the accolades, leadership roles and attention. The assignments of the students in peer ministry program is a good example of this type of preferential treatment. Children who don't go through the application process are often picked over those who do.
I have two sons currently attending St. John's. We are very pleased with the school. I have seen a steady improvement in my older son in terms of his organization skills and preparation for class. By the time he finishes he will be well prepared for college. My youngest son who is taking honors classes is really challenged for the first time in school. They both get a ton of homework, but at this point are very used to doing it. They are active in sports for most of the year and the teams they play on are very welcoming. The diversity at the school is excellent. The biggest difference I see between this school and public high school is that the parents and kids for the most part are there to learn and all plan on going to college. The % of students that go on to college is over 99%. It isn't cheap, but they do offer alot of financial aid, but you get what you pay for.
The thing I give praise to SJC for is developing the students to want to work together as a family. Yes you may have some clicks( not that bad), but the students here learn a valuable lesson, to work together and treat each other with respect . I give the school credit for the diversity of its student population. In the years helping out with school events, it brought me joy to see how all the students interact with each other. Believe me there is not one "perfect school" anywhere in the DC MD Va area, but one thing is certain,the relationships they established being apart of the SJC community last a life time!!!!
We've had a daughter go through all four years at SJC and a son that transferred after freshman year into SJC. Our daughter's high school years were exceptional. She saw her grades continually improve, finished with a 3.5, took some challenging courses and got a very broad academic experience. She rowed on the crew team, a sport she knew nothing about , and participated in a number of other extracurricular activities, including chorus, clubs and SGA. Our son attended one the most "elite" prep schools in the area for his first year. Bullying, drugs and nepotism were all issues. He transferred to SJC for his sophomore year and thankfully, we got our old kid back. SJC is built around "community", unlike the rote discipline, over achievement or status symbol orientation found at other schools. It is easily the most diverse private school in DC. metro area. Emphasis is on the student as an individual, with a focus on development of integrity, service and leadership. You will be hard pressed to find a better private high school than SJC in the entire Washington area. Check it out. We have no regrets, nothing but praise and travel from Virginia to have our kids attend it.
Our experience with St, John's was very bad. They make promises they don't keep, the athletic emphasis is not backed up by healthy attitudes on the part of the coaches, and the teachers range from excellent to robotic (more of the latter). On back to school night all the teachers gave the same intro speech VERBATIM. Organized? Yes. Honest? No. They have a minimum standard of performance for the teachers, administrators and students, and if you're willing to settle for it, go ahead any waste your money. But if you live in Maryland the public school system - if used wisely - can provide a much better education.
We left SJC for good. As the others mentioned below the indifference and arrogance of the administration makes us to take the decision to leave when our kid was bullied and nothing was done about it. The drug use after school at the school premises is also a very bad problem but I guess that is similar to the public schools in the area. Teachers are ok, you have the ones that care and the ones that not. This is a preparatory school and my kid counselor didn't even know that my kid was planning to go to college, maybe she though that we were paying that much just for high school diploma. One think I didn't like it was that your kid has a different counselor each year, so really they will never get to know your kid.
My husband is an alum of SJC and we are very happy with the education that 5 of our children have received. Our youngest will attend a year from now. We are especially impressed with the teachers that St. John's is able to retain. To have 2 PHD teachers on the staff who have been there each longer than 25 years is remarkable. In our experience, teachers across the board will meet with students before, after or during lunch to help out a student. You won't find that in a public school. We love the Christian Brothers and the atmosphere they engender. We had 2 students with health issues that the school bent over backward to help out. My higher achieving students were challenged with honors courses and AP courses. My children who graduated from St. John's have done well in their college classes. All my children connected with most of their teachers and my husband and I are very happy about this. One of our children did the ROTC program and learned leadership skills from the fine men who run the program. We are also excited about the new Robotics program for our youngest child. This school has been a great joy for us.
My son went to Catholic School grades 1-12. He graduated from St Johns 4 years ago and just recently completed college and has a fabulous job. St Johns was the perfect fit for him. He was in JROTC which really helped him become more confident and the JROTC instructors were superb! He had many terrific teachers during his 4 years. I found his teachers very responsive to any questions that I had. My son became involved in the club ice hockey team and I was happily surprised to see administration and some teachers attend a few games even though they were off campus. I was surprised at some of the reviews below. My son applied at 6 colleges and was accepted at all of them including Drexel. His guidance counselor really helped him start the search and his English teacher helped him with his essay. When his SAT scores were not what we hoped his counselor suggested the ACT and he blew it away! We never would have thought of it. My son became ill during exams and missed several. One of the administrators came in Sat and Sun to give them to him so he would not fall behind. I love St Johns and really appreciate the great job they did getting my son ready for college and life.
This review is from a non Benilde, non athletic and non ROTC family. The comments below on the lack of communication from the school and administration are exactly what we experience. A student here,we found, will need a very healthy dose of self direction and self confidence going in because that may be all she/he will receive. Two stars for some teachers who were indeed very good and gave personal attention. The music program is good.
My kids went to private school from 1st to-9th grades. They were challenged in classes but were missing sports, drama, band and music. Same kids every year - All the private schools care about was the grades and not making sure the kids learn in many ways. In the end very few graduates from these private schools are going to IVY league colleges considering they only put emphasis on academics. In addition, the DC private schools are full of many rich kids with no economic diversity. SJC offers strong academics if you are on an honors path just as challenging as GDS, Potomac School & Maret but they also have diversity with kids who actually graduate with w/scholarships in sport or ROTC getting into the same schools. The kids are forced to be balanced & challenged on many levels rather than just academics making them more attractive to colleges as well rounded kids. At 16k a year my 2 kids were much happier and had way more at SJC over the private schools and they actually made friends they bonded with who understood the value of money, academic, sports, leadership and structure. Go SJC!!