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DOES THE TEACHER KNOW MY CHILD?
Each child is a gift, with their own individual strengths and weaknesses, talents and personality. In a more intimate setting, a child is able to be recognized for their singular abilities. Areas that need development are more easily identified whilst opportunities to ‘shine’ are more readily available.
Small classroom settings enable teachers to know every child. Studies have shown that reducing class size increase students test results. JA classes are never larger than 16 students per class.
Furthermore, The JA uses a remarkable assessment tool -MAP (www.nwea.org) to monitor each student’s growth. Three times a year, students take a personalized MAP assessment test. Upon completion of this skill-based evaluation, teachers and parents come together to review results and discuss new goals and how to attain them.
IS THERE A STRONG SCHOOL/HOME CONNECTION?
Open communication is key in the home/school partnership. Using an on-line school management system, parents are able to view at any time, homework, grades, assignments and teacher comments. Teachers welcome open conversation with parents – it’s a winning team! Research has shown that once children believe that parents and teacher are not on the same side, let alone the same page, learning closes down in that class. At The JA, we go to great lengths to make sure that students always know that parents and teachers want the same thing from them, which is to learn to the best of their ability.
WHAT’S THE LEARNING ENVIRONMENT LIKE?
Education cannot take place in a vacuum. Gone are the days of the teacher serving as ‘the sage on the stage’. Indeed, students must know what to do with knowledge accumulated and gathered on their own. However, collaborative work, harnessing collective synergy is a fundamental tool which must be cultivated and modeled. It is at the JA!
DOES MY CHILD COME HOME HAPPY?
We all thrive in a warm, safe and nurturing atmosphere. How do we know we are creating that environment? Students arrive at school happy and leave school happy. Parents are happy. Faculty is happy. And by ‘happy’, we don’t mean in a lightheaded fashion. There’s really good stuff happening here; learning, growing, social activism; mitzvot, friendships, artistic endeavors. The environment is positive, forward thinking and fundamentally solid.
IS THE CURRICULUM CONTENT DRIVEN OR SKILL BASED?
Let’s not kid ourselves. Knowledge is imperative moving forward. However, with today’s internet super-highway, information is available at our finger tips. The challenge is what to do with that information? Our students are learning how to think, not ‘what’ to think.
HOW ‘WIRED’ AND TECH SAVVY’ IS THE SCHOOL?
Technology is the future – the future is here! The responsibility is to integrate technology wisely, enabling students to access people, places and information not otherwise readily available. Technology is no longer viewed as ‘other’ but is a seamless component of the curriculum. As STEM education gains greater focus one realizes that students are learning how to be consumers of technology. At The JA, students are also being taught coding, robotics and the programing of microcontrollers so that they can become the creators of tomorrow’s technology.
IS THE SCHOOL LIMITED BY COMMON CORE STANDARD?
Let’s face it. No parent would be satisfied with giving their child anything that is merely “common” , especially if they know they can be given so much more. When it comes to education, it is essential to give your child an edge over the crowd. At The JA, we do just that. We align what we teach with common core but that’s just the beginning baseline. From there we expect our teachers to find each student’s strengths and interests and expand their learning to their fullest potential.
DOES THE SCHOOL CELEBRATE CREATIVITY, CURIOSITY AND INDEPENDENT THINKING?
As no two fingerprints are alike, no two students are alike. The Jewish Academy prides itself in honing student’s skills and uncovering and polishing new ones. Using the scientific method of inquiry, we encourage our student’s curiosity. We encourage them to uncover and strengthen their own independent thinking.