Choosing the right private school for your child can often be an overwhelming experience. Knowing what to look for can help ease that process. Here are some things you should know about Orthodox Jewish Day Schools:
Orthodox Jewish day schools have a dual curriculum, where a large portion of the day is devoted to strictly Judaic studies. Students will be taught tefilla (prayer), chumash (bible study), Jewish holidays, Jewish law, Hebrew language and much more depending on the student’s age and grade level. Students are expected to be proficient in Judaic studies, and there are homework and tests in Judaic subjects.
On that note, Orthodox Jewish day schools align with specific Jewish ideologies. School policies and procedures reflect these ideologies, and parents need to be on board before sending their children to an Orthodox school. Often, if a parent is not on board with these ideologies at home this can create an inner conflict for the child who is learning and hearing different things at school and at home. This can be confusing for the child, and frustrating to the parent. Parents attending an Orthodox school should be Shomer Shabbat (keeping the laws of Shabbat) and follow the laws of Kashrut. Only strictly kosher food is allowed on campus with an acceptable kosher symbol. Other examples include extreme sensitivity to inappropriate use of technology and social media as well as other outside secular influences that may include profanity/vulgarity.
Many Orthodox schools have technology policies to help protect their students from excessive screen time and the negative influences that go along with that. Orthodox Schools also have policies surrounding sensitivity to dress, with a kippah (skullcap) required for men and modest dress required for women (no pants or very short skirts, revealing/low-cut dress etc). School uniforms for girls are skirts below the knees only.
Although Orthodox schools cover Judaic studies, you also want to make sure they offer a comparable general studies program as well. Check that the school is state certified, and that they have a good staff to student ratio. You may want to inquire if there are extracurricular activities offered such as sports, after school clubs, library, language, accelerated math or other activities. Most schools offer a strong dual curriculum program, but not all do.
Finally, you may be concerned about the financial aspect of choosing a private school education for your child. Most schools offer financial scholarship assistance for eligible students, and in Florida eligible students may also receive a Florida income based scholarship.
Wishing you luck in your journey of finding the right school to fit your child and family’s needs.