I have had three very different children go through the School with different personalities and needs. They have all graduated as very successful and confident kids and the school has supported their diverse strengths and individual needs. On a couple of occasions, we needed particular help and went to see the Headmaster who could not have been more accommodating and worked with the team to help us through. This has been true for the Upper School leaders and teachers as well (I am sure it is true of the lower school too but has been years since I was there.) There will always be people with individual issues with the School or who didn't like a decision of the Headmaster, Principal or teacher and they will use these forums to try and get back. Also, there are people who have had a genuinely bad experience. However, as you can see from the majority of these posts, great school, great teachers and community, great leadership.
I love my school! Not only is the curriculum outstanding and the teachers passionate, committed and caring, the school promotes and encourages good citizenship in every area of its curriculum. For example, last week the school asked its 4th-6th graders to raise money for Save a Child's Heart, an organization that brings indigent children suffering from heart disease to Israel for life-saving surgeries. My 9-yd-old son was so inspired, he woke up early Sunday morning to make fresh apple juice, homemade yogurt pops and cookies to sell in our neighborhood and raised more than $80. And, all of the credit goes to our phenomenal school which instills amazing values in our children. Each year, I have felt like the teachers are a 3rd parent in my boys' lives, partnering with us to raise kind and caring citizens! Thank you CESJDS!! And, the academics are fantastic. If your child craves a challenging curriculum, there are teachers who are rigorous and demanding. And, if your child needs a little more encouragement, there are nurturing, motivating teachers. It's truly a very special place!
We have three kids, of various ages, at CESJDS in the lower school, and overall are very pleased with the school. The Lower School is very focused on the quality of its secular academics, with a particular emphasis on the mathematics program. We have found the school to be very receptive to working with parents to tailor the experience for a given child, and very open to placing children in a classroom with a teacher suited to that kid. The school is not proactive but it is responsive and a lot of genuine warmth and love has been directed to our kids from the teachers and administrators. On the Jewish side of things, it is very important to understand that CESJDS is focused on teaching Judaics in Hebrew ("ivrit beivrit"). The quality of the Judaics teaching, however, is much higher if your child is in the advanced Hebrew classes (Hebrew is tracked after 2nd grade). If your child is in the lower Hebrew track, the Judaics curriculum can be very weak. A major upgrade to the "Judaics in English" teaching and curriculum is essential if the school is to hold onto observant kids. The school does instill a sense of love of Israel and the more sentimental aspects of Judaism.
As a product of Montgomery County Public Schools myself, I was somewhat skeptical about the value of a private education and the dual curriculum at JDS. After two years at the school, I have to say that I have done a complete 180 and cannot imagine a better education and community for my children and our family. I have two children at the school and have another entering this fall, and we have always had positive interactions with faculty, administrators and staff. The small class size and favorable teacher to student ratio has meant that my children have constant attention and support. My kids are not just learning secular and Judaic lessons, but values that are shaping them into caring, responsible people. When I see the upper school students- their maturity, accomplishments and kindness- I know we've made the right choice for our children's education.
We have been so impressed with and thrilled by the education and community at CESJDS. Our daughter is going into third grade and is having the most fantastic educational experience. The school is very developmentally appropriate; in Kindergarten they learn so much but in a fun way that they don't even realize that they are learning. There is no "busy work" and attention is paid to their social-emotional development as well as their academic skills. Each year builds on the last. Our daughter has been given support in areas where she struggled and has been pulled out for enrichment in areas where she was above grade level. The families are warm and welcoming and we have found a new community for our whole family which was unexpected but wonderful. We have another child coming into Kindergarten and cannot wait for her to experience the school.
I have been a JDS parent for a few years now. I moved my kids from another private school to JDS and it could not have been a better decision. I have 2 children. One has various learning needs and the other does not. We were welcomed to the community by parents, teachers and administrators and have felt supported throughout. I have found the administrators open and responsive to feedback and my children feel happy and more importantly loved by all their teachers. We are quite pleased with the academics as well as many of the specialty areas--my daughter loves her art teacher. We are glad we brought are kids to JDS.
JDS Lower School is totally disorganized and our older child wasted two of his four years. The teacher in third grade missed more than three months of class; the teacher in fourth grade missed more than four months of class. The administration did nothing. Basically our older child received very expensive child care for two years but little effective instruction.
I have 2 children at the lower school. They do not have the support - but they mislead my family into thinking they do - for learning disorders and learning disabilities. If I knew then what I know now, we would not be at Jds. We have speech and language therapy as well as nightly tutoring after the school day finishes in addition to the monthly exorbitant tuition which has increased every single year. There is no visible support or understanding from administrators. As with many other schools, teachers are excellent, midline and a few horrible experiences. But we were lucky to have a few sensational teachers! The school encourages a community feeling and provides many opportunities to give back and be involved in the classroom. Is it worth the money - no.
I have three children at the School and am thrilled with the education, responsiveness, teacher quality and leadership. My kids are all on different parts of the learning spectrum and they have benefited from the learning needs professionals and they have been challenged in many curricular areas.The School is unusual in that it listens to feedback, reviews and improves on curriculum quality. Lower School Math and Science and High School Hebrew have been revised in response to feedback and evaluation. As a family who receives financial assistance, I take issue with people who say that it is a school for the wealthy. From the Headmaster onward, we have been treated with dignity & respect and our needs and requests have been heard and well-handled. This is the experience of the hundreds of other families that I know. Of course not everything is perfect and some families use these websites to get back at a school if they don't like a decision or a person.However, most families who are part of JDS's warm community feel cared for and the kids are well educated. The teachers, leadership and even the facilities staff know our kids and look out for them. Thank you JDS!!
The school is generally good, but is clearly not all it could (and should) be. The school is excellent for kids in the middle 80%. However, for kids who need extra help or with learning or social issues, they will not find it a JDS. Also, the truly gifted kid will not be pushed to excell at JDS. The teachers are generally very good (some truly superb), but they are not supported by the administration (and there are too many adminstrators). The dual curriculum is challenging, but the administration is generally not open to innovative ideas from faculuty and parents regarding changes to the program. Parent input is not welcome unless you are a signifcant donor. The student body is wonderful and much more supportive of each other than you find at most schools. The 3 month program in Israel at the end of the senior year is wonderful, a magical time in which seniors grow closer and experience living on their own (great preparation for college), while learning all about the history, geography and people of Israel.
I would consider JDS to be a mediocre school. It is not very well run -- teachers do not feel supported and there appears to be a large number of new staff year to year which is a sign of instability. Parental input is not welcome unless you are one of the biggest donors. Unlike public school where parents can have input into their child's placement, JDS will not consider parents or the students input. There is no real community except for a privileged few. The education itself is only ok. When you get a good teacher, you notice because typically your kid's other teachers are only ok. I will not be sending my child to HS there -- we live in an area with excellent public schools. Why would I pay for mediocrity? The stakes are too high for college admissions.
If you already have a gifted child the school will definitly push your kid to excell. But for those kids that need extra help or have learning issues, steer clear. JDS is not equipped to handle "special needs" kids. In fact once they determine your child falls into that category the school will begin the process of weeding your kid out. They have an image to uphold and poor performing students is not what they want nor have patience for. Their help consists of moving the child to the front of the class, abbreviating homework and giving extra time on tests. Beyond that they wash their hands of you. Eventually they will ask you to leave. There is a large number of Jewish children this school has unfortunately turned their back on. The schools enrollment has dropped like a rock in recent years. Due in part to a poor economy but largely due to dissatisfaction. Not good for a school which has a Headmaster making over $300,000 a year...one of the largest salaries in the country for a person in this position. Their teachers are also treated like garbage. This school may be worthwhile in the K-8 grades but after high school...go elsewhere.
I have 3 children enrolled in the school, at both the lower and upper school campuses. I can safely say that each of them is receiving an exemplary education and is part of a wonderful community. The values instilled in them by the dual curriculum are positive and strong, and the quality of the academic programs have surpassed my wildest expectations. Though somewhat expensive, the school offers very generous financial aid packages. Thank you JDS!
terrible, stay away All about the money!! its shameful JDS has been and continues to be a school of very poor education and no one there cares!!!
So sad...This school s leadership is a shame for the Jewish community. The salaries for the head of the school are outrages, and it comes directly from community pocket, and from student s tuition. Laying off teachers, and teachers assistants. Eliminating special teachers, and classes as Art and computer. The school blames the economic situation to the condition of the school that lead to low student s registration. The truth is that parents are voting with their legs, and going back to the public schools, were they can provide their children with an appropriate education. What a Jewish family will do to provide their kids with a Jewish education? They will be willing to compromise!!!! JDS is the proof and that is very sad. Someone needs to wake up the board or replace it, to save the school future or values. To use the community money for scholarship, school materials, teacher development.
We moved to the area last summer and placed our three children at JDS - two are in high school and one is in the lower school. We are thrilled with the quality of the education, both secular and Judaic, as well as the personal attention and support provided by the teachers and the adminstration. The school has tremendous resources for all levels of academic proficiency, as well as a terrific college placement staff. The quality of the teachers has been uniformly excellent. The lower school math cirriculum, which was updated for this year, is very strong, and compares favorably to the program we left behind in an excellent public school district. Finally, every effort was made to make our kids (and us) feel welcome.
I have a child in Kindergarten and we are having a wonderful experience at JDS. The school provides a nurturing environment for children to learn and because the class size is small they really meet the needs of each child on a individual basis. You feel part of a community. We truly feel our child is receiving a fabulous education at JDS.
CESJDS gives our children and us a community of caring friends. When they say 'it takes a village' this is what they are talking about. Academics are strong and because the class size isn't as big as public school, the teachers really get to know the kids and they can do more creative thing with them. The Hebrew language piece is wonderful. Our children speak Hebrew with Israel accents.
I have 3 children at JDS, one in the Upper School and 2 in the Lower School. We have been thrilled with all of their experiences. The teachers and parents are wonderful. It is definitely a community school. My oldest child told me he 'hit the jackpot' on his teachers this year -- how many middle school students say that?
My kids have been at JDS for 10 years. This school is a wonderful school. The staff is friendly and my kids get three 45 minute P.E. classes per week. No complaints here.
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