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Portland Jewish Academy

Private | PK-8 | 205 students


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Living in Portland

Situated in an urban neighborhood. The median home value is $267,500. The average monthly rent for a 2 bedroom apartment is $880.

Source: Sperling's Best Places
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4 stars

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35 reviews of this school

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Posted September 30, 2014

PJA is a perfect find if you're looking for small class size, strong academics, language immersion and excellent one-on-one student attention. My kids are in kindergarten and 4th grade this year; love their teachers, and come home jazzed about the books they just picked up at the library, the science experiments they've discovered and the new Hebrew songs they're learning.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted February 2, 2014

Nurturing. Caring. Warm. Fun. Great teachers. Small class sizes. If you are looking for a school that offers these qualities plus music, art, field trips and so much more then I urge you look no further than PJA. My kids have been at PJA since the age 4 (they are 7 and 10 now) and have thrived! We have had wonderful teachers who really know our children on a personal level and who like communicate with us. The teachers adapt the school plans for each child so it is not a one size fits all lesson plan. My kids are challenged and really love to learn and I credit their teachers who make it fun and exciting! PJA students also learn about respect for yourself and for others, kindness, and community service. You do not have to be Jewish to attend PJA and it is a wonderful community of families. We are happy that our family has chosen PJA as our school.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 23, 2014

I am so grateful for my many years at PJA! As a current college student and former PJA student, I can honestly say that PJA continues to impact my life positively. The school highlights the importance of being a good community member, friend, and leader through many critical lenses. The faculty creates an inspiring community to fully nurture the students. The community as a whole has the best interest of the students at heart and never slacks in giving support when needed.

Posted January 13, 2014

PJA is an outstanding school with warm and caring teachers and a responsive administration. We started out at the preschool and now have two children in the lower school. There has never been a day when our children said they didn't want to go to school. All of the teachers they have had are their "favorites." They can't choose just one! We love the wonderful community of families, the individualized attention our children get, the values they are taught, the fact that they are learning to read, write, speak and understand a second language. We were astounded at the fall conferences at how well the teachers knew our children after having had them for just a couple of months. A bonus is having onsite aftercare (Kidscorner) as well as a plethora of afterschool activities at the Mittleman Jewish Community Center including music, gymnastics, soccer, basketball, dance, swimming, etc. We couldn't be happier to have found PJA and encourage anyone--Jewish or non-Jewish--to consider checking it out.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 1, 2014

PJA provides a warm, nurturing environment with small class sizes, dedicated teachers and a responsive staff as well as an active community of parents. My family has been very happy at the school. We feel that our children are not only challenged, they are engaged. We had been at another school prior to PJA, and the difference in the quality of the education is tremendous.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 11, 2013

PJA has been great for our family and our 3 kids. The small class sizes ensures that they get all the attention they need from teachers, the general curriculum teachers are fantastic, and the Jewish Studies and Hebrew teachers are incredibly knowledgeable. I love the individual attention each student receives at PJA. There is no way a child will be able to "slip through the cracks" at PJA. The enrichment the kids get is really wonderful. There is music, computers (used daily in the classroom in later elementary and up), art where they go to an on-campus art studio and PE where they get to use the indoor full soccer field or the gymnasium at the MJCC. The PJA community is amazing and welcoming to families of all denominations. We were welcomed with open-arms when my son started in the 3rd grade and have continued to feel part of the PJA family. We have 3 children there and have been incredibly happy.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted December 12, 2012

My daughter has been a student at PJA since kindergarten and my son since third grade. She is now in 6th grade and he is in 9th. I can honestly say PJA has given both of my children a sense of themselves they could not have gotten anywhere else. They are nurtured in a way both emotionally and educationally to find and become the people and the students they are supposed to be. The small class sizes allow each student the individualized attention they need to excel. The community is warm and open to new families. The biggest compliment I can offer to that point is last year a new teacher to the school learned somewhere in the middle of the year that 2 new 8th graders joined the class (2 new students in a class of about 29 kids who have been together many of them since kindergarten). The new teacher did not know which 2 kids were the new students. The kids simply embraced the new students as one of their own and moved forward. Their actions are a testament to their character, to how the school shaped how they present themselves to the world. My son is now in public school and is more than prepared academically for what is being presented to him. Socially, he is confident
—Submitted by a parent

Posted June 22, 2012

I am an alum of the school, former teacher, and current parent. While travels have taken us to other states and schools, I know that the community that we have in Portland and at PJA cannot be rivaled. So much more than a school, PJA not only inspires children to enthusiastically engage in learning, but also builds character and teaches responsibility for themselves, their family and friends, and the greater community. PJA not only grows minds. . . it nourishes souls!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 24, 2012

We have two children at PJA and we are so happy with the school in terms of both the academic education and the strong focus on values. Most importantly, our kids love PJA and consistently rate their days as a 9.9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10. Sometimes they even rate it as a 10 plus! The teachers provide a very hands-on, personalized approach and the students are very engaged. The principal is an absolutely incredible person who is not only nice and approachable, but who knows every child's name and truly cares about the students. We feel confident that our kids are in a nurturing and positive environment as evidenced by the fact that they are both thriving at PJA.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 19, 2012

I am a parent of 3 alumni who are now out in the world doing interesting and exciting things, including Jewish youth group leadership, arts, science, athletics, music and more. They are all mensches (good people) who got so much of their foundation at PJA. I am grateful every day for the love and support that was given to our children every day of the many years we spent at the school. As parents we were always heard and accepted. We appreciate the relationship that the school has with the JCC. Because we are on this wonderful campus students have the opportunity to use a state of the art gym and pool, and can avail themselves of all of the great after school classes that the JCC offers. It is essential to the day to day working of the school to have and maintain this very strong relationship with the JCC. We truly are grateful for the years our children spent here where the academics are strong, teachers are excellent, and where students are seen for who they are and challenged to take risks and dig more deeply into their learning. PJA is a great place. Happy 50th PJA. May you know 50 plus more years of educating wonderful children.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 19, 2012

We have been going to PJA since our kids were 18 months old. They are in 2nd and 3rd grade now. We moved from London and were very nervous about finding a great school for our children. We put them in PJA and could not be happier. The school really does feel like a family. My kids know kids across all grades and they really feel nurtured when they are there. They KNOW that they have lots of people watching out for them and that care about their welfare. Academically, we are very satisfied. They are engaged all day long and come home challenged by the work they do. They sing Jewish songs in the shower and know look forward to shabbat. Merrill Hendon has done a fantastic job leading the school and under her purview I have watched the school evolve in a genuinely wonderful way. She knows every child's name, but beyond that she remembers the smallest details about the families. The rest of the staff also is terrific and everyone feels like they are the same page -- to make PJA the best it can possibly be. We are happy. We just wish there was a high school!
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 17, 2012

Just average. Nothing too special about the program. Feels like any other elementary school for my child. Some of the teachers seem to have been there far too long and have lost their creative edge. At the same time, the school purports to be a "Jewish" day school and its Jewish component is more than lacking. We are not a "religious" family, however, the Jewish studies seems very weak. In addition, the school is linked to the Mittleman Jewish Community Center. For the physical space resources at the MJCC I am surprised they are not used more. However, I do look forward to my child taking swimming in 3rd grade (if we keep our child at the school). Also, this connection with the MJCC seems to be odd. There is a shared Board of Directors. I do not understand how this works. It almost feels like a negative situation. Finally, I think the principal really does an excellent job. She listens and hears my concerns. However, I feel she has limited ability to run/manage the school with the current set-up with the MJCC and its leadership.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted January 13, 2012

We're in our second year at PJA and I can't say enough about how happy we are with the school choice we made.The teachers are outstanding. Classes are small so every child gets attention. The kids enjoy everything from PE to art classes to Israeli folk dancing. I'm just amazed at how much my child has learned. Parent involvement is very strong and the sense of community embraces the entire family. When we had some medical issues, people I barely knew were offering to help out with anything from meals to childcare. When my child enters the building each morning, it's almost like a kid version of the bar in the TV show Cheers: Everybody knows her name! Despite the "Jewish" in the name of the school, there are plenty of non-religious and interfaith families, as well as some families with no tie to Judaism who simply wanted a wonderful school for their children. Diversity is truly embraced here.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted October 28, 2010

I am almost jealous - my daughter is having so much fun, learning at a deeper level and making connections I did not know possible for a child of elementary school age. The academics are outstanding, the teachers passionate and caring. Plus, I did not realize how much joy she would get from studying Jewish values and Hebrew everyday. I drop her off at school, and I don't worry. The curriculum is so rich, and the school culture is respectful. I am grateful that when she graduates PJA in 8th grade, she will have an excellent academic foundation and know what it means to be a mensch - a good person who does good things.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted April 22, 2010

PJA has been a wonderful, supportive, academically challenging and nurturing environment for our two daughters. Our oldest is graduating 8th grade this year and has thrived with the small classroom and personal attention given to her by her teachers. Our youngest daughter has been attending since preschool and has been like a flower that opens another petal each year. We are convinced that the intimate environment has supported her development.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 12, 2009

Both of my girls are at PJA, one in the preschool and one in second grade and I am a very satisfied parent. The school is truly impressive academically and yet still manages to focus time on art and music and reading and the joy of friendship and Jewish values and education. I couldn't be more proud to have the kids there and be a part of this community.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 5, 2009

As a preschool parent I have been extremely disappointed in the program at PJA. The teachers are good, but seem unmotivated and are often out. The director is rarely available. The communication between the afterschool program and the classroom program is limited, and I often have a hard time knowing how my child's day went.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 4, 2009

PJA has been a wonderful school for my child. She is thriving and challenged to do her best work, as a learner and as a person who cares about her community. I feel I have a partner in helping me raise a great human being. The teachers are passionate and caring, and I can always speak to them about my concerns. I like the International Baccalaurete program - she is learning subjects on a deeper level and her global awareness had increased. Lastly, what I really appreciate is the school environment - I so appreciate the broad umbrella that PJA provides, to non-Jews and Jews alike. The school environment is respectful, fun and the parent community is very caring. I take her to school and she is excited to go. I don't worry. She loves what she is learning.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 3, 2009

We are now in our 3rd year at PJA and have 3 children across several grades in the lower school. Our children made a seamless transition from their previous schools out of state thanks to supportive teachers and welcoming children. There is an incredibly nurturing environment which comes in handy whenever an issue crops up in the home or school for the child or for the family. We appreciate the well roundedness of the school experience in terms of music, art, dance, physical education, etc. and are glad for the children's exposure to a spectrum of Jewish life. For those looking to create a strong and vibrant Jewish family life, a Jewish day school is an invaluable and integral component to that life.
—Submitted by a parent

Posted November 2, 2009

Our daughter is in her second year at PJA. She is in the preschool/pre-K program, and loves it there. She is not only learning her letters and numbers, but is learning moral lessons. They help us teach her how to be a caring person. The staff is phenomenal and the administration warm and there for the parents. We love this school, and are excited to see what our daughter can become.
—Submitted by a parent

Community ratings and reviews do not represent the views of GreatSchools nor does GreatSchools check their accuracy or verify the reviewers' identities. Use your discretion when evaluating these reviews.

About these ratings

The Community Rating is the school’s average rating from its community members (e.g., parents, students, and school staff). The highest possible rating is five stars; the lowest is one star.

We currently do not have any test score information for this school. Unlike public schools, private schools are not always required to report data about their schools or not required to take the same tests as public schools. Many private schools take different standardized tests; however, that information is often made available only to families of enrolled students. We strive to acquire additional private school data whenever available.

Student ethnicity

Ethnicity This school State average
White 97% 65%
Asian or Asian/Pacific Islander 2% 4%
American Indian/Alaska Native 1% 2%
Hispanic 1% 21%
Black 0% 3%
Hawaiian Native/Pacific Islander 0% 1%
Two or more races 0% 5%
Source: NCES, 2011-2012

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School facilities
  • Computer lab
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School basics

School Leader's name
  • Julie Smith, Head of School -- Patricia Schwartz, Principal
  • Coed
  • Jewish
Fax number
  • (503) 452-7001


Specific academic themes or areas of focus

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  • Religious


School facilities
  • Computer lab
  • Library
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6651 Southwest Capitol Highway
Portland, OR 97219
Website: Click here
Phone: (503) 244-0126


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