You want the honest truth? This school is not what everyone says it is, or tries to believe it is. Maybe it has an advanced curriculum, but it's not exciting. Good, knowledgable, teachers? But most of them don't actually care about there students. Warm and loving? As long as you never make any mistakes. A comfortable and loving environment? I'm sorry, but you asked for the truth, and that's what your gonna get....
Like a review before, this school is not in any position to turn families paying full tuition down, so this school has a lot of students with learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and social problems. The teachers are average, some better than others, the facility is brand new, yet very small, yet they also have a middle school, along with there (much stronger) lower school program. I have a 3rd grader at Hannah Senesh, who has had an okay experience, yet due to a very upsetting event that happened at this school to a friend's child, my other son will not be going into kindergarten at Hannah Senesh in the fall.
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!!!