This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
St. John's College High School5
Posted August 06, 2014
- a parent
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!!
Teachers for the most part are excellent. They connect very well with the students. Academically rigorous enough for students in the honors class. AD does a great job with providing an opportunity for all students to participate in a sport. Other extracurriulars are lacking because the focus is sports heavy. Administrators are arrogant and deaf to concerns. Do not expect any sort of reasonable engagement with them if you have a concern about academics or a teacher. They would rather deny there is a problem or spend their energy arguing with a parent than solving simple issues. The principal in particular does not seem to know how to manage parent's concerns and is very rude. Drug and alcohol use among the students is a concern as it would be at any high school but the school does not handle it judiciously or wisely.
My child just started and so far the teachers, coaches and staff have spent more time patting themselves on the back for their reputation and achievements than expressing an interest in our student. Academically, our student is mostly repeating work from last year even though grades were mostly A's then. Jury is still out, but it's not an impressive start.............