James madison high school

Discussion in 'High School Education via Distance Learning' started by alohaoahu, Dec 28, 2005.

  1. alohaoahu

    alohaoahu New Member

    Has anyone graduated from James madison high school?
    Any opinion? Thanks...
  2. aic712

    aic712 Member

    It's a public high school here in Northern Virginia, good school from what i've heard. I have had a few students come into undergrad programs with diplomas from there...didn't really talk to them about their experience too much though as most of them had been out for some time...
  3. lspahn

    lspahn New Member

    I personally think the whole high school system is screwy. If you are intent on going to college, then why not start college level classes that count for college credit. I have seen quite a few homeschoolers who use the CLEP and DSST to measure skill, and they get college credit. I would have loved to graduate from HS with 30 or so credits...Not to mention some of the test are not at a College prep high school level ( like Western Civ 1)
  4. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    If you are speaking of the one owned and operated by PCDI I know a little of them.

    They are regionally accredited I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) and the course material is presented in a paper/pen/textbook format.

    I graduated from their 2 year sister school Ashworth College and at first they were really rough around the edges, however the last few times I've called them for anything such as transcripts, etc....they were on the horn in relatively short order. Hopefully this is an indicator that their customer service has gotten its act together.

    Now I don't know for sure and this is pure speculation, but I am willing to bet that many of the customer service options handled by PCDI, James Madison High School and Ashworth College come from the same pool of people.

    my .02 which is what it's worth..
  5. alohaoahu

    alohaoahu New Member

    I currently enrolled in James Madison High School(PCDI).
    I've received my first course in Nov. and I had a question reguard to my subject,so I contact them via e-mail...I still haven't heard from them...I did call,but they made me wait forever I finally gave up. Mean while I did some research about the school and I found this site http://www.ripoffreport.com/results.asp?q1=ALL&q5=james+madison+high+school&submit2=Search%21&q4=&q6=&q3=&q2=&q7=&searchtype=0 filled with all the negative feedback....if you search for PCDI there is more complains.....now I'm thinking about cancel the enrollment.
    So,I desperately need a feedback from who already graduate from JMHS. Thanx for all the replies!
  6. aic712

    aic712 Member

    Please disregard my post, I think we are talking about two completely different schools.
  7. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    PCDI is famous for horrible customer service. According to the folks who post on the Ashworth College Yahoo Group, expect to wait a minimum of 45 minutes to talk to someone on the phone when you call PCDI. They also have a tendency to not return emails in a timely manner. Some students have resorted to emailing the dean directly, bypassing customer service, to get any kind of results at all. I should point out I have no personal experience with PCDI or Ashworth College.

    Penn Foster, formerly Thomson Education Direct, also has a high school. Every now and then I will come across a Thomson high school graduate ( I don't remember the name of the high school) while I'm chatting with other DL students online at other message boards, and they seem to be happy with the experience. I should mention I have also read complaints about ED's customer service, although I have never experienced any problems myself.
  8. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Yet another cogent example of the need for my now-becoming-standard, boilerplate reminder that I'm now inserting into all threads where it's appropriate (and in which I happen to notice it's needed):
    I'm not trying to nag on or embarrass, or single-out anyone, mind you... but this business of thread-starting posts which refer in casual, off-handed, familiar ways to institutions -- assuming that everyone is as up-to-speed thereon as the thread-starter -- is starting to get out of hand around here.

    As for the subject of the thread-starting post: PCDI's James Madison High School....

    Easy, there, alohaoahu. You're overreacting. As one of the educational entities in PCDI's stable, James Madison High School is of high quallity, and it's regionally accredited. It offers the hands-down best full-blown high school program, for its price, in the world of distance education. And if it's not the best, then maybe it's tied with Penn Foster's program, to which TCord1964 referred you.

    On content quality, alone, James Madison needs make no apologies to anyone. And Lord-knows it's inexpensive.

    You have not enrolled in the wrong program. All you've done is buy it from the distance education equivalent of Wal*Mart or BestBuy... and both of those retailers are notoriously bad about customer service. You have to demand it of them, and not let them ignore you and treat you like cattle.

    You just need to be more assertive with PCDI's customer service. You'll get your questions answered. You just need to figure out how to work PCDI's system.

    Am I saying that it's okay for PCDI to make getting help difficult for you just because it can be done? Of course not. PCDI needs a swift kick in the butt for the reputation it's earning for itself in the area of customer service. But except for that, PCDI need make no apologies to anyone for the overall quality and content of pretty much every product it sells. It's just that PCDI sort of "blister packages" it, and sells it almost like something one picks off of a pegboard in a Wal*Mart or BestBuy. I'm not particularly wild about that, but you get what you pay for. PCDI/Ashworth/James Madison offers an accredited educational program that promises to qualify its graduates in certain ways, in certain areas... and it does that...

    ...just like Wal*Mart and BestBuy deliver high-quality goods, too. But just as you get lousy customer service at Wal*Mart and BestBuy after you purchase from them -- extremely cheaply -- the same, nice TV or stereo for which you'd pay more at one of their competitors where the customer service is better, you get a very high quality product from PCDI -- extremely cheaply -- but lousy customer service.

    With PCDI, the price of paying just peanuts for such a high-quality educational product is that you have to suffer some indignities when you try to avail yourself of its customer service. Many people do the math and figure it's worth it. I strongly suggest, alohaoahu, that you do that math, too. I think you'll discover that it's worth the trouble for the dollars saved.

    That said, I really wish PCDI took customer service more seriously. But I think it's selling its courses and diploma/degree programs like hotcakes and it can barely keep up. PCDI's not the first company to suffer from growing pains.

    Finally, alohaoahu... don't believe everything you read in a place like Ripoff Reports. It's a web site where people who tend to overreact to poor customer service go and often mislead the consumer by declaring something a "rip off" long before such condemnation is actually earned. I'm not saying that Ripoff Reports doesn't perform a good service, or that it doesn't list bona fide ripoffs that can help consumers from getting scammed. I'm just saying that I know, from the experience of at least two of my own clients, what it's like to have a customer scream "rip off" before the seller has even had a chance to read his very first email asking for help. When customers like that rush over to Ripoff Reports and start posting there before my client has even had a chance to figure out what the heck the customer's talking about, that's unfair. And it happens all the time there.

    There are also people who don't understand how a product or service is supposed to work, or who just like to bust the chops of those to whom they give money in exchange for products and/or services because they think that their having purchased same means that how to use it is supposed to just be self-evident without having to read the damned user manual.

    Indeed, alohaoahu... don't believe everything you read on the Ripoff Reports web site.
  9. Guest

    Guest Guest

    FWIW I took 2 PCDI courses and had no problem with customer service. I have taken many a DL course and I probably got the best feedback from PCDI instructors.
  10. anthonym

    anthonym New Member

    It costs just $1289 for the entire 4-years of high school, paid in $36 monthly, interest free, installments! It's no wonder they are having trouble keeping up.

  11. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Well, you just can't beat that price, although as DesElms said, it might be tied with Penn Foster. If I had it to do over again, I may have taken my high school courses that way. I really hated going to my high school.
  12. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Oops, I guess you CAN beat PCDI's price on its high school program. Penn Foster charges $985 for its entire high school diploma program, which is called (ta da!) Penn Foster High School.


    It's even less if you make automatic payments or pay in full. Pretty good deal. They even include some of the "shop" classes, like Auto Repair, or Personal Computer Specialist. All you're missing is gym class.

    That being said, I agree with Greg. I think you should just stick it out with PCDI and finish your diploma. You're already in the program, and the James Madison High School program is well regarded.
  13. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    And a shop teacher with a missing thumb who wishes he were pretty much anywhere but where he is. Didn't everyone have that guy for shop? ;)

    And, until Education Direct changed its name to Penn Foster, "James Madison High School" sounded better, too... like a real high school. But "Penn Foster"... now that sounds nice. Too bad it doesn't have a better sounding name for its postsecondary programs... but that's another issue, covered adequately elsewhere around here.
  14. alohaoahu

    alohaoahu New Member

    Re: Re: James madison high school

    As for the subject of the thread-starting post: PCDI's James Madison High School....

    I'm sorry..after I read

    It's a public high school here in Northern Virginia, good school from what i've heard. I have had a few students come into undergrad programs with diplomas from there...didn't really talk to them about their experience too much though as most of them had been out for some time...

    this relpy and I was going to Edit,but it was too late....
    Once again thanx for all your replies.
    Happy new year to all!
  15. DesElms

    DesElms New Member

    Re: Re: James madison high school

    I just want to clarify something: There are better online/distance-education high school programs than James Madison -- or even Penn Foster, for that matter -- but just not for the price. Price is the key factor in my overall assessment.

    If someone pressed me for what I might consider to be among the overall best online/distance-learning high school programs, notwithstanding price, I'm afraid I'd have to go with something like University of Nebraska at Lincoln's Independent Study High School. Now that's a good one... maybe even the best!

    But, for the money, it's hard to beat James Madison or Penn Foster. There's pretty much nothing else from which to choose when price is a major or key factor. And they're both regionally accredited, so there's not a reason in the world why a high school diploma from either of them wouldn't be acceptable to a regionally-accredited postsecondary institution as requisite to an associates or bachelors program.

    You know who's an expert on all this: Tom Nixon. Someone should get him to chime in, here.

    An only peripherally-related afterthought, expressed here more for the wonder, curiousity and sport of it than anything else: We talk around here, mostly, about postsecondary distance education. Distance education high school is another animal altogether.

    One wonders... er... well... okay... I wonder what the overall results would be if we could do a long-term study of... oh... let's say 200 students evenly spread from all around the US, from both urban and rural areas, all races, all income groups; then divide them into two groups, thusly:
    • One group of 100 would emerge from brick-and-mortar (B&M) 8th grade and move right on into B&M high school, then B&M college, emerging from the study with a very traditional education culminating in a bachelors degree; and,
    • the other group would emerge from B&M 8th grade, but would go through high school and college -- taking the identical courses, and obtaining the identical bachelors degrees as the B&M students -- but via distance learning.
    It would be interesting, at the end of the study, to look back on their high school and college writings, tests, etc.; to assess the quality of their overall educations using some kind of standardized testing; to assess their socialization and psychological characteristics, etc.

    That would be interesting, don't you think? (The "you" in that question being whomever's out there.)

    I dunno... maybe a larger testing sample, and better controls would be necessary... but it's an interesting thought, conceptually, eh?

    [sigh] :rolleyes: So many multimillion-dollar, 8-year-long, nearly-impossible-to-manage studies... so little time.
  16. suelaine

    suelaine Member

    I am considering enrolling my son in this school and we sent for their literature. My 17 year old son is currently a senior at a boarding school where his father wanted to send him. He is not doing well even though he is very intelligent, he hates homework and basically doesn't do it. He even failed gym class the first half of this year because he was expected to turn in some kind of written logs (which he was to do outside of class).

    Tests are the only reason my son passes any classes; he does well on those but doesn't turn in work or projects, or he turns them in very late for reduced credit, if he gets any credit at all.

    I think the correspondence/distance learning schools are more test based and I am positive he would succeed. His father is hesitant about this because he wants him to "learn" to be responsible, turn in work on time, etc. as required in a traditional high school. I would like that too, but my son is a senior and he has not "learned" it yet, does not turn in his work on time and barely passes, but only because he does well on tests. His social skills are not great either, but so far, traditional schools have not "taught" him good social skills either so I just don't think those are good arguments to keep him in a traditional school.

    I contacted Penn Foster and James Madison as these seem like the best options at this point. James Madison seems to be less expensive if you only need one year of high school.

    I took a diploma program with Education Direct (Visual Basic) and I was very happy with them but then again I have never asked any questions of my instructors. I know instructor response is very important, but personally, I don't care about that for his high school. I am a certified high school math teacher myself and I am confident that I could help him with any questions he has but I really don't want to home school him at this point (too time consuming...I want him to do this on his own with no help from me) even though PA has an accredited home school diploma option. I care more about the content, etc. of the program and the fact that it results in an accredited degree or diploma. Because my son's mid term report card really is "that bad" I am not sure if he will make it through the school year. If he does not, or if we pull him out for any reason, I am going to enroll him in James Madison. The literature and advertisements are obviously aimed at adults who quit school but I do think this program would suit my son just fine. Of course, after contacting them once, they called our house every night for a week straight but I finally got them to stop! I told them at this point, we have the information we need and they are wasting time and money "marketing" to us. He will stay at his current school for the time being. If things don't work out, we will enroll him in James Madison.

    He has no interest in going to college, but I want that "door" left open for him. After all, I didn't want to go to college when I was his age, either (though I did get good grades in high school).

    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 29, 2005
  17. friendorfoe

    friendorfoe Active Member

    For face to face interaction there are numerous tutorial centers such as Sylvan Learning Center, which have certified teachers on staff to help kids struggling in their grades or even improve acceptable grades. You don't want to home school? Don't, send him to Sylvan or the like once or twice a week to answer any questions he has. Generally these learning centers employ local "off duty" teachers in the area, so he will be dealing with the same type of instructors as in the classroom, only one on one.

    As for the social thing…I would recommend external activities such as select baseball or a soccer league or what have you. High school socialization is kind of overrated….I remember fondly of my high school socialization….when I would run around, get plastered and go to a rave.
  18. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Sounds like my kid, until I gave him a good swift kick in the a$$. In my opinion, he doesn't need you to make things easier for him. Life isn't easy. He needs to learn to take responsibility for his life and accomplish something on his own. My kid was a straight "A" student until he decided to hang out with a bunch of Goth kids, wear black and not do his school work.

    Well, I used myself as an example. I gave him the "don't be like me" speech. I sat down with him, explained how I had never finished my college degree and am now trying to get it at the age of 40. I showed him my paycheck, my checkbook, and the bills I had to pay. Needless to say, it was a wakeup call for him. This year, he has been studying and is determined to get good grades.

    DL classes are for people with good study habits. Your son needs to be able to work on his own, and DO THE WORK, to be successful at distance learning. It is not an "easier" way out for him to get his high school diploma. You only get out of it what you put into it.

    Sorry to sound so harsh, but this kid needs to stop being a slacker. You say this is his senior year. What are his aspirations beyond high school? Life is tough enough without a college degree. Without a high school diploma, it is downright brutal.

    He needs a reality check.
  19. DesElms

    DesElms New Member


    I have a feeling that what I'm about to say will come as little or no surprise to you: Something more is wrong than what can be fixed by your son's attending a D/L high school for his final year.

    You need to get at the root problem, whatever it is. His behaviors, attitutudes, etc., are no small thing. If it is not gotten to the bottom of now, while he's young, he will be hounded by whatever's eating at him for the rest of his life... and he will always sabotage himself and underachieve.

    I don't know if it's depression or a learning disability or what... but it's something, and it must be discovered and remedied. Now.

    Get him in to see whatever professionals are able to do a proper assessment, and figure out what's going on... then fix it. With haste. Life's short.

    And, yes, it'll cost an arm and a leg. Use the money you save by taking him out of the boarding school, bringing him home, and enrolling him at James Madison. And when you're in family session with the shrinks, be sure to figure out why a boarding school in the first place. More answers may lie in that discovery than you may realize.

    Just an opinion.

    Good luck.
  20. TCord1964

    TCord1964 New Member

    Re: Re: James Madison High School

    I agree with some of what Gregg said. I don't think DL high school is necessarily the answer, but neither is boarding school, obviously. There's something up with this young man. You need to find out what it is.

Share This Page