הגישה ההוליסטית


Student-Centered Learning

מרכזי למידה

The ideal educational setting is one in which the student feels ownership over and responsibility for his or her own growth, and trusts that the teacher will provide structure and guidance to support their goals. This means that students must be given opportunities to direct elements of their daily experience in school. When students are empowered to direct their learning, they become more engaged and proactive learners, they identify passions that will sustain their learning as they grow and mature and they are able to apply knowledge and skills in meaningful ways in their everyday lives.

Example from Our Classrooms:

G-d Projects

"And he (Jacob) said, 'Surely, God is in this place and I, I did not know.' And he was awed, and he said, 'How awesome is this place.'" - Genesis 28:16-17

וַיֹּאמֶר, אָכֵן יֵשׁ ה' בַּמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה; וְאָנֹכִי, לֹא יָדָעְתִּי וַיִּירָא, וַיֹּאמַר, מַה-נּוֹרָא, הַמָּקוֹם הַזֶּה -בראשית כ"ח:ט"ז-י"ז

After studying about Jacob's dream, 3rd grade students thought about when they have felt like Jacob did- either realizing God's presence, or a time that was truly awesome. They chose how to present their time to the class, to let us feel what it was like.

  • A descriptive small moment story
  • A photograph
  • A painting
  • A model
  • A poem

Parent Partnership & Progress Reporting

הערכות ותעודות

The school-parent partnership is a critical factor in ensuring a successful school experience. We believe that parents are choosing a school not just for their child, but for their whole family. We seek families who are committed to learning in a pluralistic environment, who appreciate JCDS' Whole Child approach, and who are engaged participants in their child's educational journey.

One element of the school-parent partnership is JCDS' approach to parent communication. It is our goal to keep parents informed about what is happening in class and how their child is progressing, ensuring that we truly share our knowledge of each child to appropriately support and challenge the student. Together, we establish an environment in which each child's needs are met so that each child has the opportunity to thrive.

Parents can anticipate the following forms of progress reporting and communication from the school:

  • Intake conferences for students entering grades K-6 allow parents to share their hopes and dreams for their child for the year with the adults who will be working the closest with them on a daily basis.
  • Regular e-mails from teachers in grades K-5, which highlight major developments across each subject, including tips for how parents can engage their child in conversation around their recent learning.
  • Once per semester coffees for each grade with the division directors to provide a structured opportunity for parents to learn more about what is happening in a grade, what is coming up and ask questions of JCDS' educational leadership.
  • Once per semester Parent-Teacher Conferences provide a forum for parents to have a focused and in-depth conversations that build on regular, informal conversations that parents and teachers share over the course of the school year.
  • Once per semester progress reports seek to provide a quantitative and qualitative summary of a child's learning and growth over the course of a semester.
  • Parents are also welcome to request meetings with their child's teacher or with the administration to discuss their child's progress at any time.

Culture of Lifelong Learning

תרבות למידה לטווח ארוך

We believe that the K-8 years are critical for the development of a child's intellect and character. Equally important is sparking a passion for learning that carries beyond a student's years at JCDS allowing them to live meaningful lives.

Rabbi Menahem Mendl of Kotzk, an influential early-19th century Torah scholar, insisted that "If you want your child to study Torah, study Torah in front of them." From this we are reminded of the power inherent in an adult's willingness to serve as a model for children. We therefore strive to foster a school community in which adult learning is encouraged, supported, and made visible to children.

Teachers are reflective practitioners with their students, sharing their own professional growth objectives and engaging their students as partners in that endeavor. JCDS supports teachers through ongoing professional development that builds each teacher's personal skill-set and the faculty's capacity to function as a cohesive team.

Parents find myriad opportunities to pursue their own learning at JCDS, whether through regular Torah study, Hebrew classes, art classes, intentional parenting discussion groups, and special study sessions with Dr. Susie Tanchel, our Head of School. The JCDS Va'ad (Parent Association) facilitates many of these learning experiences, ensuring that parents' minds and hearts are nourished as they support and encourage their children's learning.

Example from Our Classrooms:

  • Vivian Troen, author of The Power of Teacher Rounds: A Guide for Facilitators, Principals, & Department Chairs, coaches our teachers on instructional rounds in the classroom.

  • Our Head of School, Dr. Susie Tanchel, leads sessions for our teachers on lifelong learning.
We believe academic excellence is necessary and critical - but not sufficient. During a child's formative K-8 years, a school must be a place in which social, emotional, physical, and spiritual development is emphasized. All of these elements are given equal importance in curricular planning and instructional program design, ensuring a well balanced and thriving child. An environment filled with caring teachers, parents, and peers ensures that each child is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged. Our Whole Child approach leads to students who grow to be the best version of themselves.