I am a parent of a current student, and after reading one of the less flattering reviews, decided to chime in. This school is phenomenal, bar none. It is inclusive, and every student feels loved and fits in, regardless of their academic level, religious affiliation, or financial situation. Some families are extremely wealthy, while others are solidly middle class. Some are orthodox, while others are of mixed religions. My child has never felt bad about not being religious enough, or wealthy enough. He always feels like he belongs. The teachers are amazing. Every year we think that they can't get any better, yet they do the following year. They manage to stimulate the love of learning in every child. The teachers, along with the administration, are extremely approachable. I have gotten in touch with someone from the school about a concern, and had it resolved that same day, and effectively, on many occasions. To be continued
The same parent of a current student that posted below, this is part 2 of my review: The academics are excellent. Compared to children at other top academic institutions, private and public, Hannah kids do as well, and perhaps better, than the rest. My child does not have problems with his Hebrew. We are unable to help him with his Hebrew homework, as we do not know Hebrew, nor does he have tutors. He is able to complete his homework assignments and his teachers tell us that his Hebrew is progressing nicely. The school does have children that learn on all levels. Our child has always been challenged in the school. There is a large group of incredibly bright children so a bright child will never be academically bored, yet has many friends who might learn differently but with whom he bonds over other pursuits. I like that about the school. There are parents that are always unhappy about something or other, and it is their right. However, the school has nurtured our child, fostered his sense of Judaism, and has dealt with every concern we had, immediately. All while the other families have taught our child that being different is ok, whatever form that difference comes in.
To the previous reviewer, the school actually has a nurse on staff. She is new, but she is there now. We are relatively new to the school. The structure and discipline here are much more rigorous than at our old school. The curriculum is challenging and my kids are learning far more at Senesh than they did at their old school and have far less disruptive students in their classes. Far less. Our old school was also a private school and so I believe we are in a good position to compare. The classes are smaller than in public schools, so kids naturally get more attention and so yes, it is helpful for some students who weren't successful in a classroom with 30+ kids. And yes, I think the Hebrew program is lacking b/c it is very difficult to accomodate the various levels of Hebrew. But, in general, this is an excellent school with a very involved group of parents. The teachers my kids have now are 2 of the best teachers I've encountered and I am very grateful for the difference they are making in my childrens' academic lives.
This school is not for everyone. As a small private school in need of students, they are not in a position to turn down families who can pay the tuition. Children with behavioral problems or are on the special needs spectrum but not enough for services are placed here by their parents. For those parents this place can be wonderful. It is also a good place if your child is very easy going and is not bothered by disruptions or fitting in. Effective discipline is lacking, and the special education component is understaffed. There is no nurse on staff. The curriculum is rigorous, especially considering the dual language component. If your child speaks hebrew at home, they will be bored with the language studies. If your child is not skilled at language, the extra burden will drag them down. The school's intentions are good, and it is admirable that they are trying to unite students of different abilities and families with different religious values or are in some aspect non-traditional. It would be advisable to speak with many different parents and read reviews on other websites before enrolling your child.
I am a mother of two kids (in 3rd grade and K) in Hannah Senesh and I absolutely love everything the school stands for and the learning environment it provides. I was looking for a Jewish school that will give them a strong Jewish / Israeli identity and be not just accepting but supporting our same sex family, but wasn't sure if I would be able to find a school that can provide that and excellence in teaching and at the same time nourish the kids' sense of self. Hannah Senesh does much more than that - it teaches the kids openness, tolerance, social responsibility and acceptance. Both my girls thrive in school and as a parent I couldn't ask for more!!! We definitely have made the right choice!
As an alum, I would just like to say the HSCDS teachers are phenomenally kind, intelligent, and helpful. My energetic humanities teacher helped me find fascinating and appropriately challenging assignments that I still think back to four years later. My math teacher- best math teacher I've had to this day- helped me engage and get organized, as well as integrating art and literature into her classroom. I learned about my heritage through the Judaic studies and Hebrew classes, and as a transfer student, I was given the help I needed to acclimate to the new language quickly. I am deeply grateful for support that staff members at HSCDS offered. I cannot speak highly enough of the teachers and their ability to guide students through advanced coursework while making sure that everyone's needs are met. My family struggled to pay tuition and were not responsible for any donations, yet as a student I was treated just like everyone else. I was offered all of the help I needed- tutoring, regular check-ins, alternative assignments, etc. My parents would agree, as would my sister (also an alum). We have recommended the school to other families and we remain in touch with the school community.
I have been a Hebrew Middle School teacher at Senesh for the last five years (I have been a Hebrew teacher for over 13 years in the States, and 7 year beforehand in Israel). I wake up every day excited to go to work because I LOVE MY JOB. As a child I did not have a positive experience in school Senesh is everything my own school was not: a small warm community, where administration, teachers and children all work together in order to create a fun and challenging environment. It is a credit to the school that I know every child in the school, including the kindergarten children, and every one of them feels comfortable talking to me and joking with me even though I "teach the old kids"... Teaching Hebrew as a second language is not a simple task, and yet, the program at Senesh manages to make learning challenging but fun. I only wish when I was a child I could have studied at a school like Hannah Senesh.
Hannah Senesh is an amazing school community! I have been a parent in the school for 12 year and I could not have asked for more! The teachers are attentive, knowledgeable, and make every effort possible to make sure the kids learn and develop a love for learning. My kids developed life long friendships with their classmates, and a very strong lasting connection with their teachers. I love the fact that teachers recognize my kids for who they are, and what their strengths are. I would highly recommend the school!!!
Love the school! Great place. I'm a new parent and so appreciate everything about the school--the teachers are great--so warm and loving to my child. The principle and staff seem great. Its a wonderful atmosphere--you can tell from the second you want in--everyone says hi and greets the maintenance staff, the door man and the folks in the office. If feels like a small town. And my kid already knows lots of Hebrew! Thanks Hannah Senesh, I'm very happy with my choice
Sending my boys to Hannah Senesh Community Day School is the BEST decision I have ever made. I've been a parent in the school for seven years, with one child in the upper school, one in the lower, and one waiting anxiously to join his siblings in a couple of years. My children have thrived at Senesh! They look forward to going to school (who says that!),are excited about what they are learning, and truly feel valued and honored by the Senesh faculty and staff. My boys feel that they are part of a community where their different strengths, talents, and abilities are celebrated as well as nurtured. Although they have different styles of learning, they have never felt that one's way is better than another; the teachers work hard to adapt to and motivate different types of learners. Hannah Senesh is truly a gem! If they only had a high school...
My oldest son graduated from Hanna Senesh and was accepted to a great high school in Manhattan. He is graduating this year and was accepted to every college he applied for. My younger son is in seventh grade now, (in Hannah Senesh) and is doing very well also. He is very fluent in Hebrew and has a very strong connection with Israel, which is very important to us as his parents. Both my kids developed great academic and social skills in Hannah Senesh and received a lot of support and help from the school's teachers. I wanted my children to receive a Jewish education, so that they will know about their roots and history, but I did not want them to go to a Yeshiva for that. Hannah Senesh was the only school that provided mix mix of high level general education with a non religious teachings of Judaism. I recommend this school to anyone who wants his children to know and understand their heritage and also get a great academic education that will prepare them for life in the 21st century.
Senesh is AMAZING. So glad I made the choice for my kids (3). They have life long friends from the school and we, as a family, do as well. It's a great, welcoming diverse (in the Jewish sense) community with dinners at other families houses, trips etc. The eduction is stellar--both Jewish and secular. The projects deeply engage my kids beyond what I see from friends with kids at other schools. Furthermore, my 7th grader says she LOVES math--and that's an accomplishment! The norm for a Jewish eduction is that children learn to think critically and this is certainly the case. Furthermore, Senesh children come away with a strong sense of social justice and responsibility. We all feel very fortunate to be in the Senesh community, to share with and know other Senesh families, and to learn from the dedicated wonderful teachers.
I have 2 kids at Senesh. Both love the school and wake up excited every day to go to school. The teachers have been excellent--the extent to which they know our kids amazes me. And they really care about them as learners and students. One teacher designed a special reading program for my child who was struggling...one that challenged her, made her grow, and has her back on track, and most importantly feeling confident. The staff is excellent, from the back office to the front. Our first year at the school we felt very welcome--many parents invited us over and reached out to my kids for play dates. What strikes me most, though, is how Jewish life is seamlessly integrated into everyday life--it's not like torturous Hebrew school when I was growing up--its much more integrated, FUN and embraced by all.
As a teacher who has taught here for seven years, I value our community of teachers, students, and families. Over the years, I've loved teaching here because of the people I work with--dedicated, experienced, innovative educators who care about children, both as people and learners.
I am neither a parent nor a student (happy nor disgruntled) at Hannah Senesh. I am a close loving friend of a student and have come to know it through her. Also subsequently through meeting other students, faculty, and staff, hearing them talk about the past, present and future of the school, and watching them all at work and play. But most of all by watching my young friend grow and thrive through her experiences at Senesh. She loves her teachers. I remember when one took the time and cared enough to write and mail her a note of encouragement at home before the school year started. It meant so much to the student. Throughout this year, her learning has been so impressive, her friendships have blossomed, her appreciation of school in general, of Hebrew and English, and math in particular, the pleasure she takes in cultural activities, after-school offerings, and community both inside the school and throughout Brooklyn are just great. It seems to me that this is a school where the teachers, staff, and leadership care about each kid as if they were family. I see hard work, dedication and joy in this place and I see the same in my friend every time I her ask about school.
I have been a parent in this school for nine years and my eldest is graduating this year.The school has been a blessing to my kids and my family.My kids got an amazing education and my eight grader got into all the schools that she applied to. The education is outstanding and the teachers are very warm. Nine years ago I picked this school when coming for a tour I saw so many happy faces and nine years later it has not changed.
We love Hannah Senesh! I have been a parent in the school for 9 years, and now have three children there. My oldest is about to graduate and is going to one of the most academically competitive high schools. Every day, since day one, my children are happy to go to school. They have learned a ton, connected Jewishly, and made wonderful friends. And, as parents, we have found a wonderful community. We feel like the school has totally delivered. Along the way, we certainly have had bumps in the road -- but every time the school's response has been thoughtful and reasonable.
I have worked as a teacher at Hannah Senesh for nine years now and I can't imagine teaching anywhere else. The closeness of the relationships I've developed with students is so special -- when I got married, I invited my class to come to the wedding, and those same students are now occasional babysitters for my kids! The staff cares about each and every child, and is full of creative, reflective and loving professionals. I am looking forward to watching my own children grow and develop into independent, creative, critical thinkers and caring people at Senesh.
I have been a middle school math teacher at Senesh for over 13 years, & I love my job. My favorite thing about my work at Senesh is that I get to know my students as individuals because I teach small classes for multiple years. In fact, as much as I'm looking forward to the summer (and particularly to sleeping in a little) this is a bittersweet time for me, because I know I'll miss my students who will graduate next week. Anyone who has attended a Senesh graduation has felt the closeness of the student-teacher relationships. Every year, graduates give speeches about what the school has meant to them many refer to it as a second home & to their classmates & teachers as family and a teacher speaks about each student as well. It is a deeply meaningful event for all of us. Another reason I love teaching at Senesh is that the administration welcomes teacher input. For example, when I wanted to find a math curriculum that was more oriented to problem-solving, the administration s support enabled the school to update to Singapore math very quickly, & students reaped the benefits. I love being part of the vibrant Senesh community. I can t imagine teaching anywhere else.
i had two children in the school, one in the lower school and one in the middle school. their opinions on hannah senesh were near identical: they hated it. the reason, too, was constant, teachers' complete disregard for the well being of the students. when my children complained of being bullied, they were pushed aside as if nothing had happened. the bully, i later found out, had a parent on the school board and therefore did not get in trouble. this is a constant factor in the community. the children of big donors and school board members receive preference. i began to look into the quality of instruction in the school, and i found myself very disappointed. my kids came home with completely false facts about history. their teachers were simply ignorant about the subjects in which they were instructing. They merely use handouts and textbooks as their source of information, providing no real teaching. they are all inexperienced, first time teachers. they not specialize in any particular subject and have no prior knowledge of their lessons besides the lesson plan that they are given by the head of school. as one parent to the next, i advise you to not send your kids to this school
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