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
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I have 3 children that go to PJA. A 6th grade girl, a 3rd grade boy, and a TK boy. My two older kids have been at PJA since kindergarten. All 3 of my kids have had amazing teachers every year and have been challenged every year. PJA makes education an adventure and so the kids can't wait to go to school and learn. My kids go to camp, other classes or sports teams and the counselors, teachers and coaches are always amazed at how responsible, kind, hardworking, and together they are. They are responsible for all their own homework and learn how to pace themselves to get big projects done little by little without the panic all nighter at the end. The kids are so supportive that everyone has a positive attitude about trying something new. We have been incredibly happy.
We have two children at the school, and this is our second year. We could not be happier! The IB program and small class sizes have kept our son, who is performing above grade level, challenged and engaged. The community is very welcoming and reflects the values taught at the school. The teachers and staff have made a real effort to know our children as individuals and have been truly outstanding.
my daughter is in her second year at the school. She thrives there and is learning not only the subjects being taught. she is learning how to be a caring and giving person. The atmosphere is amazing and the staff from the teachers to administration is wonderful. The smaller class sizes really allow for individual attention. My family loves this school.
We had our children at PJA for nearly 6 years and every year considered leaving until, finally, we did. It is no place for a child who meets the state criteria for TAG as we fully appreciated once leaving. Socially the parents are sometimes overinvolved which, in such a small community, can have a very negative impact when challenging situations arise; the school can be a very non-inclusive environment due to this parental impact. This phenomenon persists despite school efforts to the opposite goal; clearly many of the parents do not share the espoused goals of the school itself and this makes for negative community experience as the school cannot possibly control parental forces. The education is good but not outstanding as one would hope for in the private school setting. Many of the school's 'innovations' are actually replicas of better instituted programs at other establishments.
PJA is a fantastic school academically, but as a current 8th grader the only reason I've stuck around is the Israel Trip. Very small class sizes may appeal to parents, but 8 years of everyone knowing your business gets tiring. I've heard people gush about our amazing teachers, but in reality only about half are good. The other half are absolutely terrible. Sure, we are practically joined at the hip as a class, but being joined at the hip to people you don't really care for gets old pretty quick. The lower school is worth it, but once a student hits middle school, it's time to leave PJA
we have had mixed experience with teachers' qualification at PJA. My son has had teachers that were not skilled enough to run a classroom to teachers that were very skilled in running a classroom. If you have a child with sporadic( mixed) skills level, the school is not a good fit.
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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.
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