Gifft Hill School
I have a friend looking to bring her 2 school age children to St. John. She is probably going to home school but I told her to check into Gifft Hill School. I had heard only good things about the school but she said when she did some checking around she found that there was a lot of negative feelings about what has happened to the school in the last few years. Anyone care to way in?
There have been some administrative changes that aren't to everyone's liking. In a small community like this one, when people don't like other people, or the changes don't benefit their kids, the fur flies. It's still a good school, though. If they are elementary age, check out the Montessori program as well.
The biggest change in the last couple of years is a new headmaster. And I am of the opinion that this woman has helped straighten up the school in a lot of ways. The class sizes are small, which is a plus. Their are a some very dedicated people working for the school. But they tend to have a lot of staff that doesn't stay long. A lot of that has to do with teachers who move here and only stay a couple of years before moving back to the states. It's tough to make it on a teacher's salary anywhere, even harder on St. John. What grades will the kids be in? I can try and help out with specifics.... my son has been going to Gifft Hill for the last 7 years.
If your friend decides to home school, they should check into what needs to be done with that. I am pretty sure that she will have to 'register' with the VI DOE. She will have to give them a call. Even though their website has email addresses... I have never once had an email answered from anyone in the VI DOE.
That's becuase the VI DOE has no clue how to use a computer.......that's what happens when you give those kinds of jobs to family members rather than qualified individuals.
The VI DOE has one of the largest (if not the largest) network in the US Virgin Islands. All 40+ schools are connected on their own private network, and they enjoy large Internet pipes on both STT and STX. I know many of the people in their IT Dept. What you are saying is unfair, and not true.
Yes, I made an error. Mea culpa.
Of course, one could argue that I was asking people to politely insert themselves into the path of the conversation thus needing to find their "way in" as opposed to throwing their weight around in an arrogant fashion.
"Laughing at our mistakes can lengthen our own life. Laughing at someone else's can shorten it."
The biggest change is with the headmaster. This is Judy Champerlain's 2nd year at the school. I don't really see her much, but I can tell that she has made a lot of changes. Some would say bad changes. I tend to think a lot of them were positive changes although hard changes. This is a very small community... change can be hard for us. I think that they have tightened up their hiring process. But I also think they should recruit more heavily in the local market... so you see... good/bad. There is a lot of that at the school, good/bad.
I don't know if the Montessori is still here to tel you the truth. I do know that it was only for the lower grades. There is a Montessori on STT if they want to make the trip.
@Beeski Your right they do have good staff and a huge network. Also note VIDOE and BOE (Board of Education) though both education are two separate entities. BOE has like two buildings and administer their own equipment. VIDOE has like 50+ and IT staff on both islands. I even used one of their VOIP phones between islands direct extension dial and it was a clean call.