CESJDS lower school has a wonderful group of parents and students. The school's curriculum design and teaching philosophy/approach/faculty need a thorough review/updating to address the needs of the many children (too many in our opinion), who are struggling with their dual-curriculum model.
JDS has been a wonderful experience for our child, from lower school through the Upper School. We've loved the strong academics (secular and Jewish), caring teachers and warm community. Highly recommend!
Please don't send your child to this school. They will benefit so much more from attending one of the schools in Montgomery County's pretty extraordinary public school system.The poor education that students receive at JDS for such an astoundingly high tuition is despicable. Students need to be in a diverse environment, they need to be challenged, they need to not have things handed to them. There's only a very specific type of kid that can fit the mold of JDS; when that's the case, you know there's a problem with the school.
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.