This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Denver Jewish Day School3
Posted August 21, 2014
- a parent
After four years, we had to move to public school. Even though his dyslexia isn't severe, this ended up being a bad fit.. Because it is a private school, I had to pay a lot to get extra tutors b/c he wasn't getting enough 1:1. And sadly, I had to hire a Hebrew tutor as well - there isn't much differentiation in the younger years, so he just slipped so far behind. And this is a kid who reads every day, dyslexia or no. He does not have ADHD. I sadly found myself in the same old fight about accommodations towards the end of the year. My original review noted how impressed I was with the literacy teacher (still am) and appreciated his teachers meeting with me and finally implementing some better accommodations after his IEP review. Unfortunately, it just didn't work, and it would do their staff better to have more special ed training. I used to be a SPED teacher, and I've seen cases infinitely more difficult than my son's. I kind of wish we'd made the switch earlier - it may have saved him a lot of pain and tears. I support Jewish education, but Denver JDS is best for kids who are strong readers from the get-go. My son's self-esteem was really damaged here.
Denver Jewish Day School was the foundation of my education and gave be the tools and skills I needed to go out into the world and be successful. I attended DJDS from Kindergarten through 12th grade and I couldn t have imagined going anywhere else. It s impossible to think about the school without being reminded of the community that it creates this is what makes it thrive. DJDS creates a tight-knit community atmosphere that includes students of all ages, families and teachers an faculty. The school taught me to excel in and out of the classroom and allowed me to attend the college of my choice. The Judaic courses gave me a strong grasp and love for Judaism and so it was easy for me to get involved in the Jewish community upon coming to college. One class I will always remember is my freshman writing class. My teacher encouraged us to push the boundaries with our writing and showed me the power that words can have. It s the reason I have pursued writing ever since. As I move on, I will always fondly remember my days at DJDS.
I have had two children go K-12 to Denver JDS and am so pleased to see them grow into fine, young adults who are so comfortable in their own skins and remain connected to their Jewish roots. My daughter recently had an exam in medical school that was unlike any prior exam. She was able to use her analytical and critical thinking skills she learned at DJDS to help her score well on her exam. My son got into all the colleges he applied to and found his experience of working with the college counselor to be very personable and unique to my son's needs. I find the Head of School/CEO is someone very approachable and always looking for ways to strengthen the school. He has put in place a strong team of administrators who oversee a vibrant faculty. A new strategic plan has been written and approved by the board of trustees which bodes well for a strong future for the school. I feel like DJDS is a part of my family since so many of my close friends are because of the school. To be a part of this community means I will always have the support of family for all my life cycle events.
Denver Jewish Day School (DJDSis) on par with any other elite private school in Denver without the snob factor. We looked at other Denver private schools and chose DJDS because we were impressed with the people and the school's philosophy and academic standards. Our children are learning to be morally capable people in a genuine sense that will guide them the rest of their lives. Academically, standards are very high. My kids have a zest and desire to learn and work hard. The upper school is one of the best kept secrets in Denver. Although it is small, the teaching staff is outstanding and they truly care about each and every student. The middle school counseling program has been a lifeline for our daughter. It is rare to find children in middle school with such a positive sense of self and thriving socially. As parents, we have gained a community of people who have become our family. I highly, highly recommend this school! It was the best decision we ever made for our children and our family.
DJDS is a rare gem of a school. I have three kids in 10th, 7th and 2nd and they all love it and have thrived! They have a very strong identity of themselves and who they are and as part of a community. My 10th grader is in Israel for five weeks right now immersed in Hebrew and fun. I love that my kids learn a second language and that it is Hebrew. It makes the brain work from left to right which is even more helpful in learning development and executive functions. The critical thinking skills they learn in Judaic classes cross over into all their courses and helps them learn and develop skills to really think and discuss topics with adults in all subjects. It is an amazing school!
I would offer a different view than the last reviewer as my children have really benefitted from both the FAST reading and spelling and the Math in Focus (Sinagpore Math) approaches. Evidence shared at a recent meeting for 2nd grade families indicated that overall, our students perform well above the national average on the NWEA's MAP assessment in both literacy and math. My 6th grader was recently evaluated by an educational psychologist who identified a deficit in processing speed. She told us the public school system wouldn't offer support for him based on his overall performance, but he receives weekly support from DJDS's resource teacher which we appreciate very much. The school has done a great job supporting our family's values and helping my children learn to manage and resolve conflict through mutual respect and kindness. Adults are supportive and loving and really know the students...even if they don't have them in class. My children are curious, happy, and love learning thanks to DJDS. I am not a major donor, and tuition is a commitment for my family, but the value is priceless for us, and I've always felt the teachers were responsive to feedback.
The early literacy instruction is not very solid. It is based on the FAST model and other curriculum that has not adequately been peer-reviewed and proven to work over phonics. So if you have a struggling reader, they will need intervention, and believe me, you will pay for it. Some parents have removed their kids because they can't get the services they need. If your student has any disability, be prepared to move. It's not just those kids - I know a lot of parents that pay extra for Hebrew help because the Hebrew teachers are unlicensed and bad. The school's bullying and elitism is pervasive, but it is a Jewish day school...and some secular studies are good. The holidays are fun and most kids truly enjoy their school. The academia, however, is lacking. This is truly sad, because combining secular and Torah education enriches the mind. Unfortunately, kids aren't even telling time in 2nd grade and can't do division or multiplication tables because of "Singapore math" (which apparently involves drawing pictures). No accountability with teachers, little concern for those who don't write big checks, and too much bullying on the playground.
After spending several years in one of Denver's top rated public schools we made the switch to Denver Jewish while our kids were still in elementary school. We were looking for smaller class sizes and a warmer environment. What we gained was so much more! My 5th grader told me "for the first time in my life, I love going to school!" The secular education is rigorous and my kids are thriving. Socially they were accepted right away. They were behind in Hebrew but are receiving tutoring at school and are catching up pretty quickly. As a parent who has experienced both public and private schools, I can easily say that Denver Jewish Day School is an exceptional place and would highly recommend it!
My family loves this school! It is a warm and comfortable community that embraces each person as an individual! The secular and Judaic academics are top-notch. The teachers are outstanding and help each kid maximize his potential here! Students that graduate from DJDS become leaders in their communities based on the skills they have the opportunity to acquire here.
One of the best private schools in the Denver metro area period. The graduates go on to some of the most elite colleges in the country and thrive both academically and socially. The middle and upper school experiential programs are among the best in the nation. The students have out of school trips every year starting in middle school and in high school have trips to LA and Israel. The teachers and parents all know the students and one another well which creates a true sense of community and accountability. I can easily say this was the best investments we ever made for our children and our family. If you are a Jewish parent in Denver, look no further. Whether or not your are observant, your children will grow up with a strong and meaningful identity which would be difficult to create elsewhere.