There may be as many reasons for choosing Jewish day school as there are families in our school communities. Some are looking for small class sizes, nurturing environments and positive peer groups, while others seek an early second-language program. Still, some want an academic experience steeped in the Jewish tradition of critical thinking and ethical behavior. Many are drawn by another family’s positive experience. From superior college preparatory programs to a variety of extra-curricular activities, there is truly something for everyone.
Choosing the right school for your child can be an overwhelming process. Just as the nurturing environment of preschool has grown comfortable, it is time to begin thinking about moving on. Making the choice requires investigating what truly matters to you and your family. It takes visiting prospective schools and teachers, speaking to current school parents and imagining your child and your family in a new environment.
Our day schools have increasingly found that their unique caring communities and educational opportunities resonate with families who might not have considered day school when their child first began school. Many day schools run excellent “on-boarding” programs to help new students acclimate to the immersive experience of day school Hebrew and Jewish studies. Year after year elementary and middle school students seamlessly make the transition from secular academic settings to day school.
In recent years it has been well documented that the largest influx of transfer students to Jewish day school occurs during the middle school years when families are seeking a more enriching and values-based academic experience for their emerging teens. The rigor of a day school academic experience prepares day school graduates to go on to successful high school careers at exclusive secular private schools, Jewish high schools, and public schools.
Jewish high schools provide a unique opportunity for students to grow and develop during these formative years. The intellectual rigor of general studies combined with the close reading and analysis of Jewish texts and ideas prepare students with skills to achieve in any future academic setting. Graduates attend many of the most respected colleges and universities. Nurturing community, close relationships with teachers, and a supportive peer group help to reinforce students’ ethical character and personal development. During the often stressful years of high school the power and warmth of a Jewish community create an environment where every student is seen, and where students can challenge themselves to excel with joy and enthusiasm. Judaism can be a source of meaning and inspiration in their lives, precisely at this time of maturation and emerging adulthood.
What sets Jewish day schools apart are the role models—teachers and older students—who demonstrate how to be good people, able leaders, ambitious students, and strongly identified Jews. Students learn how Judaism can be a thread which weaves meaning and joy into the tapestry of their lives. With this strong foundation, day school students are given life-long tools to engage in the broader world with the confidence of knowing who they are and from where they have come.
Our Greater Boston Jewish day schools each possess distinctive characteristics, catering to a diverse set of students with different interests, socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. The dual commitment to general and Jewish studies, shared by all of our schools, prepares students for the challenges ahead – in the classroom, and in life.
Greater Boston’s Jewish day schools are well positioned to provide differentiated instruction for optimal academic and personal growth. Often referred to as an educational philosophy, differentiated instruction is viewed as a proactive approach to instruction. This approach requires teachers to tailor their instruction and adjust the curriculum to students’ needs rather than expecting students to modify themselves to fit the curriculum. Find a day school that is right for your child. Small class sizes allow teachers to tailor their teaching methods to each student’s personal needs. Our community’s schools continually invest resources in providing support services and training teachers to understand and teach to diverse learning styles.
CJP believes that it is the collective responsibility of the Greater Boston Jewish community to ensure that an excellent Jewish day school education is accessible to a broad range of students across the learning continuum and affordable for their families. Expanding the number of families in day schools by welcoming and integrating diverse learners with special needs furthers CJP’s mission to inspire each generation to embrace Jewish life and learning.
If you think your entering student may benefit from special education support, we suggest contacting Gateways: Access to Jewish Education. As a regionally-based Jewish special education agency, Gateways provides services and programs at many of Greater Boston’s Jewish day schools. Gateways can help you better understand your child’s learning needs and give insight into how our day schools might best accommodate your child.