ALUMNIAlumni Lunch - June 8, 2018

Gavi Elkind
Director of Admissions
Ph: 617-972-1733


שאלות נפוצות

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to reach out to Gavi Elkind, Director of Admissions, at or 617-972-1733. We'd love to hear from you!

What are the school hours?

JCDS runs from:

Lower School (Grades K-4):

8:00am - 3:30pm Monday - Thursday
8:00am - 2:00pm on Fridays

Classrooms open to students at 7:45am.

Middle School (Grades 5-8):

8:00am - 3:30pm on Monday and Wednesday
8:00am - 4:30pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays
8:00am - 2:00pm on Fridays

Classrooms open to students at 7:45am.

Is there an after school program?

Yes. JCDS runs an afterschool program that runs Monday - Thursday from 3:30pm - 6pm with an optional Friday program in the Fall and Spring. The afterschool program allows children to do their homework, play games, and includes snack. In addition to the afterschool program, JCDS offers after school enrichment classes that include art, speech team, robotics, magic, and private music lessons. These clubs last 1 hour and private music lessons last 30 minutes.

After school program

Does JCDS offer a lunch program?

While JCDS does not offer a lunch program, the Va'ad Horim (parent association) has arranged for pizza delivery once a week and turkey sandwiches once a week. On other days, children bring snack and lunches from home. Because JCDS is a dairy-only school, lunches that are brought from home may not include meat products.

Va'ad Horim

Can my child bring peanut butter to school? How are allergies handled at lunchtime?

JCDS is happy to be a nut-friendly institution. Load up those peanut butter and jelly sandwiches! Teachers are careful to have students refrain from sharing lunch and snack items. In our youngest grades, students will eat off of a school-provided tray to make it clear which food belongs to which student. For students with more severe allergies, the school will work closely with your family and the rest of the class to adjust to ensure a safe environment.

Does JCDS offer financial aid?

JCDS offers over $1.6 million annually in financial aid to over 50% of families in our learning community. Our Access JCDS and Flexible Tuition programs address the needs of a wide range of families. As a school, our goal is to build a community that represents the socio-economic diversity present in the Jewish community. We look forward to working with your family in a confidential and respectful manner to share our different financial aid programs to help you determine which approach will make the most sense given your family's needs. For more information about affording JCDS, see the Tuition and Financial Aid page here on our site.

Tuition and Financial Aid

Where do JCDS students go for their high school years?

Students who graduate JCDS go on to many different high schools across Greater Boston. From the public high school in their local town to Jewish and secular independent schools, students range in their choices for high school beyond JCDS. Our graduates find that their experience at JCDS prepares them well for wherever their journey may lead. JCDS does work very closely with Gann Academy, as our schools share a pluralistic ethos.

Life After JCDS

How old does my child need to be to enter Gan Nitzan (kindergarten)?

Your child must be 5 years old by September 1 to enter Gan Nitzan at JCDS.

What is the teacher-student ratio at JCDS?

The teacher-student ratio at JCDS is 1:6. We strive to create an intimate environment for learning, With only one class per grade and two teachers per classroom, children are immersed in the small classroom environment at JCDS.

Does JCDS offer transportation?

JCDS does not offer transportation but has an extensive carpool network. JCDS can help parents get in contact with neighbours for carpooling! We are also eager to learn more about your transportation needs to ensure that we are effectively serving your family.

In what ways does JCDS approach diversity?

At JCDS we believe there is a difference between existing in a diverse setting and actually engaging with difference. JCDS intentionally builds an environment in which students learn and practice the skills to navigate difference and collaborate effectively. We also believe it is important to recognize the wealth of diversity that exists within the Jewish community. Our learning community reflects the widest possible range of religious, socioeconomic, racial, ethnic, and diverse family structures. We cherish the opportunity to provide a welcoming and loving home in which our families support and challenge one another.

Does my child need to be Jewish to attend JCDS?

JCDS welcomes any student who is being raised Jewish. We have a broad understanding of what that looks like in practice, and we encourage you to contact our admissions office to explore your family's circumstances.

Where do most students live?

JCDS is located in Watertown, convenient to most nearby towns. Students come to JCDS from as close as Newton and Watertown, and from as far as the North Shore, the South Shore, and even Providence, RI. Most students currently come from Newton, Brookline, and Cambridge. We also have a number of families coming from Somerville, Arlington, Lexington, and the MetroWest area.

Can students with little/no Hebrew background transfer to JCDS?

Yes! Our Zerem Program for welcoming transfer students has Hebrew language integration as a crucial element. Students are provided strong support in Hebrew language with the goal of transitioning your child into the normal flow of Hebrew language education. We also make accommodations as students work to improve their Hebrew language proficiency, ensuring that language is never a barrier to content, and that students can always access discussions and other activities that involve Hebrew sources. Don't let your child's background in Hebrew language keep them from the joy of a JCDS education!

Joining JCDS in Grades 1-8

How much homework should my child expect?

JCDS is purposeful about only assigning homework that will meaningfully advance a student's connection to the concepts being addressed in class. Our approach is guided by a growing accumulation of research that strongly suggests homework does not meaningfully impact a student's capacity to advance their comprehension in the subject they are studying, nor is it the most productive use of a student's time at home. Instead, our objective is to offer limited homework so that students have time to enjoy other worthwhile and important pursuits such as time with your family, extracurricular activities, and playdates with friends.

In addition to encouraging students to reading books of their choosing each evening at home, students will receive increasing amounts of homework over their time at JCDS. Many of our 8th graders report they will typically spend about an hour per night on their homework.

In case you have or know Jewish kids seeking a K-8 school for next year (or stray donors seeking a cause), let me show you one snippet of the JCDS community: I am sitting in the hadar ochel smelling the bubbling soup and fresh baked cookies made by a group of 8th graders for their Parent-Teacher conference cafe to raise money for their class trip to NYC. They shopped for all the ingredients themselves because once a week, they go to buy lunch at Russo's so they know how to walk there and buy vegetables. They cooked and cleaned up while blasting music from Wicked. Now they are going over homework together and dividing up Torah readings for an upcoming special service they are running in honor of the past two years of bar and bat mitzvahs. Soon, they will be joined by other kids and parents because David Karger runs Israeli dance in our gym. I can hear in the background kids of all ages in after school playing together, helping each other with homework, chatting, and calling cheerful greetings to some teachers who are just leaving. One of my graduates is hanging out with an old teacher chatting. Some friends are meeting me here for a potluck dinner. Other friends took my youngest for a sleepover. Really, it is pretty great here.

Andrea, mother of 2 JCDS alumni and 3 current students