Tips for Parents

What To Look For In A School?

Parents who decide upon a Jewish day school education do so because they desire a school that will not only provide individual attention, small classes and high academic standards but also because they wish their children to be grounded in the values and traditions of the Jewish people.

Perhaps at this time more than ever children are in need of a foundation that fosters a positive Jewish identity, hand in hand with a positive self-image. We at Heschel West believe there is great worth in educating our children to achieve their maximum potential by helping to develop a life-long appreciation of and connection to the teachings and celebrations of Judaism within an integrated curriculum that doesn’t ask them to bifurcate their identity. Humanistic and Jewish values support the individual child while at the same time fashioning a sense of community. By selecting Ilan Ramon Day School, parents provide a setting for differentiated instruction and an emphasis on the individual learner, yielding the best possible learning environment for their children. The end product of a Heschel West education is a humanistic, educated individual who will possess Jewish values and competencies –an individual who will be equipped to confront the challenges of the 21st Century.

You should look for a school that recognizes 
that:

- Each child is different and unique.
- Each child’s personal signature must be developed and respected.
- Children possess different types of intelligence.
- Children exhibit different rates of learning and a variety of interests.
- Differentiation of instruction contributes to success.
- Instruction must meet children’s varied learning levels.
- Success occurs when a child is taught at his/her appropriate level of difficulty. “Success breeds success.”
- For effective learning, results students are taught individually, in small or large groups.
- A variety of teaching strategies and models of teaching contribute to effective learning.
- Respect and positive interactions are evident.
- The development of ego strength, self-worth, and competencies are at the foundation of the program.
- Well-trained, caring, and dedicated teachers are essential.
- Parent participation and involvement enriches the program.
- You should insist on a school where there is evidence of:
- Teachers who love their work and continually involve themselves in professional development.
- Teachers who know the capability of their students and challenge them accordingly.
- Teachers who recognize the interests and abilities of learners and provide opportunities for growth in these areas.
Consistent/logical consequences for inappropriate behavior.
- Kindness, empathy and respect by staff and students.
- Experiences which foster self-reliance, independence, responsibility and a sense of
community.
- Students living as a community, respecting one another and applying conflict resolution when
needed.
- An interdisciplinary and thematic integrated program to assist in greater internalization of
learning.
- Planned learning centers/activities that address a variety of abilities and interests.
- Modeling and teaching of values, ethics and morals.
- Respect for diversity in peoples; seeing the beauty of all cultures through multi-cultural
studies.
- A well-equipped school with appropriate up-to-date materials and equipment.
- A technology department and competent technologists.
- Highly skilled, knowledgeable, credentialed professionals that recognize the importance of social, emotional and cognitive growth.
- An enriched, planned extra-curricular program.
- Standards for a school dress code.
- Activities promoting student independence, responsibility and leadership.
- A collaborative process with parents, establishing a partnership in the education of their children.
- Parent education for personal growth and to gain understanding of the philosophy of the program and the expectations of parents and students.
- Parent collaboration, participation and school involvement.
- Community outreach.
- A clean and safe campus.
- Students and professional staff who exhibit pride in their school.
- Standards for emergency procedures.

You should ensure that the school’s Judaic Studies program exhibits the following characteristics:

- A grounding in the skills and rituals of Judaism which fosters the development of a positive
 Jewish identity
- An integrated Judaic and General Studies program
- Hebrew language instruction integrated into the Judaic Studies program
- An understanding and appreciation of the diversity, traditions and rich culture of the Jewish people
- A comfort level and confidence when participating in religious services, lifecycle events, and the celebration of holidays
- Social action opportunities that bring our values to life through actions that lead to tikkun olam, helping to repair the world