Hugely disappointing. After two stress-filled years, we're leaving SJC. Our child was accepted into the Scholars Program (combination of high HSPT scores, middle school grades & an extra admissions essay) and received a merit-based scholarship. Always a strong student, he really struggled right off the bat with math (Hn Alg I). After months of failing tests, student tutors, extra help from the teacher, meetings with the counselor, a hired tutor at $250/session, the teacher causally mentions that he tested well below the minimum cut off for Hn Alg I but was put into the class anyway because it was part of the Scholars curriculum. "We thought he had a bad test day." Really?! Six months after taking the math placement test and 4 months of constant stress and struggle, now you tell us? They dropped the ball and were very blase about it!
So freshman year was awful. Considered transferring at the end of the year but he wanted to stick it out.
Sophomore year was a little better but he never really hit his stride. Teachers mean well but are very young and inexperienced. Lots of busy work, not very creative, really uninspired and uninspiring.
Hit or miss. Some are very good with plenty of experience, others are literally a year out of college. I will say that they are responsive to parent emails and do make themselves available for extra help.
Nothing creative going on here. Plenty of work, but nothing really meaningful. Some of the English essay topics were laughable - 'Explain the theme of Huckleberry Fin'. Okay, that *one* theme in 3 pages. No problem.
Let me start by saying that I think one has to evaluate St. John's in the context of one's own expectations and requirements. In our case, my husband and I are both college educated and were looking for high quality academics, and our son is an accomplished basketball player who had wanted to play basketball for St. John's since he was 7. Sadly, we mistook the overpowering arrogance of this school for actual quality. There are many good things about St. John's including some good teachers, a vast array of extracurricular activities, and a sense of community. Their best asset is the great group of kids they have. The school, however, thinks one should be eternally grateful just for being there....and say so repeatedly. In reality, the faculty overall is weak and much too young. There is very little in terms of teacher development and few have advanced degrees. Work is excessive and often without purpose. The newly promoted dean of students seems poorly educated with inadequate age and experience. At a recent band concert, she gave commentary before each piece, but had to read her comments and could not pronounce the composers' names. There is no feeling that anyone at the school truly cares about our son as an individual or who he becomes. The final staggering disappointment was to find that the school has made a strategic decision to become an elite sports powerhouse. While this may sound fine on its face, in fact the result is that there is a diminishing opportunity for kids who are not specifically recruited or nationally ranked superstars to make any of the teams. So if sports is a priority for your family, think carefully about whether St. John's is the place for you. And remember: they don't need you and they will act accordingly.