It takes a pretty special place to convince someone for who's openly ambivalent about their Jewish identity AND a booster of public education to decide to send their child there, but SJCS is that kind of place. I would have to say that in some ways the operative word in the institution's name may be "Community" rather than "School", not because the education is less than outstanding, but because it's that sense of community - transmitted from teachers to children to their families every day - that makes this such a terrific school. Our kids have not just become smart or become mensches, but been empowered to feel a critical part of the minyan of the world. Choosing SJCS was not easy in many ways, personally or financially, but it's a choice I'm rewarded for making every day.
SJCS is, quite simply, a reflection of Jewish identity at its best. Families bringing meals to a teacher recovering from surgery. 5th graders making direct eye contact and offering warm smiles to the homeless as they distribute food. Kindergartners bringing out pennies and nickles to put into the Tz'dakah box on Friday. Opportunities for taking responsibility, for reflection, for awareness, and for learning. It's community with songs for Shabbat, and Brachot for the small gratitudes in each day. It's personal accountability and collective values. For me, SJCS has given purpose to my work, and pride to my Jewishness.
Knowing many of the teachers, board members, parents, and students, I can attest to the high quality of the education, both secular and Jewish. In addition, SJCS instills a sense of wonder and delight in whole process of learning; they don't just teach, they create lifelong learners.
Whenever I am at SJCS (and in my career as an Educational Consultant, I have been watching its growth for more than fifteen years) I am reminded of what a good school is and does. This school has high standards for its students, parents, faculty and staff; they treat each other with kindness and great integrity; everyone is expected to do the very best they can in all areas and all are rewarded with love and acceptance as well as support and encouragement always. From the perspective of a Temporary Office Manager, I got to be part of front office for a few weeks, supporting the community in its efforts to function as effectively as it does to educate PreK-5th grade children, maintain an impressive local and national image, and contribute to the number of bright and thoughtful "menschlich" in our world.
Over four years ago I was a student at this school. The three years I learned at this school were something remarkable. Not only did I learn about Judaism and general knowledge (math, reading, etc.), but I learned that you need to be against fighting and that there is always a peaceful way to resolve a conflict. During my time we were at the old building adjacent to the synagogue, but they're now at the new building, which, sadly, I wasn't able to learn at. Nevertheless, I visited the school at the new building about three and a half years ago and it is still the remarkable place that I remember. Today we need these type of school, and being in different places across the planet, I really know. Long live SJCS!!
this is one of a handful of jewish day schools that really understands the tzedakah and tikkun olam side of their curriculum. i have been impressed with the teachers and students in this area (and other areas as well). keep up the good work!
Our children are first graders at SJCS. We chose this school because it provided a loving and nurturing environment, a rigorous education, and provided children with a strong cultural identity and sense of self. It does everything I hoped - and more. The kids are very happy there and say they can't imagine being in school somewhere else.
Very warm and haimish feeling. Great sense of community. Lots of love for all the kids. Fabulous teacher. The alumni leave with a wonderful love of torah and great skills for their future.
Several years ago, I was a Jewish mom with a son going into Kindergarten. I had looked at the Jewish day schools in the area, but none had before- and after-school care. I was resigned to sending my son to public school when I heard about SJCS. I contacted them with just a couple of months until school started, applied, and he was accepted right before the term started! From the get-go, I was impressed by the teachers & staff, and then by the parents & volunteers. I believe this school has exactly the right emphasis on both social and academic areas, and I thank G-d all the time that it exists. We have felt welcomed and appreciated by the school "family" and are looking forward to the rest of our time at this school.
So often a mission statement is nothing more than some words composed by a chosen few yet as a former teacher at the school, I can honestly say that many of the aspects mentioned in SJCS' mission statement are embedded in the every day life of the school. At SJCS children are genuinely nurtured. Children and teachers learn from eachother and demonstrate true derech eretz. I left SJCS several years ago nevertheless there are so many wonderful practices that I continue to use in my teaching today.
My son got a great education at SJCS. Just ask him and he'll be the first to tell you so. He went on to excel at all his other schools. He also learned many of life's important lessons, as they were modeled for him on a daily basis. And I had the privilege of being both a parent and a teacher at SJCS. It is truly a wonderful organization, full of great people who really care and give their all to the students.
Fout grandchildren have attended the school and one is attending now. Two of my daughters are teachers there. We are contributors to the school and the catalyst for fundraising. We were honored by the school for our efforts.
I like SJCS because there are lots of adults who keep me safe and help me learn. I love learning to play sports during PE. I like learning Hebrew since it's fun to speak in a different language.
One day I was playing outside and I got hurt. A friend immediately came over to help me. SJCS teaches friends to care for each other and that's one reason I love going to school at SJCS. My teachers are awesome!
I chose SJCS because I was looking for a moral education for my children at a school that shares my values. The focus on derech eretz, tikkun olam, and being of service to the community at large is central in my children's education at SJCS. Equally important is the teacher's support of my children's individual learning styles and needs and the services provided by the learning specialist. I have been incredibly impressed by the teacher's willingness to incorporate the outside services my children are receiving into their teaching plans. However, most of all I am impressed by every staff members true love and commitment to children.
There are many teachers at SJCS, but they're all super good at their job. They might be so good that you can't choose which grade is better. We are taught step by step, it just depends on what grade you're in. I've been supported in every which way possible (so far). I'm one of the 2 girls in my class. It's actually pretty fun! But sometimes it can be a little bit overwhelming at first, but then you get used to it and it's not so bad 'cause you have friends! (at SJCS you always have friends). Every kid gets a 'shabat.' We also have a bunch of celebrations! They're so fun. We get to pretend to be in Israel; we have Chanukah parties, Purim parties; we even celebrate Passover and more! SJCS is so cool. It's such an awesome place! (Written by Amalya - edited for spelling and typed by her mother).
We're grandparents of two students at SJCS, and we're so delighted with this school's focus on developing, in an age appropriate way, a sense of community and mutual responsibility. Children clearly embrace theses values and live them in their daily encounters with each other. As two of the three coauthors of a parenting book, "The Too Precious Child," we have written about the increasing pressure on children to compete for first place and first prize. Here's a school with a structured and demanding program that reserves its highest praise for helpfulness and kindness. Pretty impressive! Louisa Rose Henry S. Berman, M.D.
I have been a parent at SJCS for the last 8 years with two kids. I am still amazed at the enthusiasm of the staff and the dedication to learning that each staff member exhudes. The community is a great web of support and new friends.
SJCS has been a wonderful way for us to provide a Jewish community for our children. As an interfaith family raising Jewish children, we were concerned with finding a place where our children felt they belonged and that would respect our family's choices. Our children are encouraged, challenged and valued as whole people. The staff are amazing! I just can't say enough good things but here are a few examples: *My son was allowed to go at his own pace in first grade (he was the youngest in his class and we wanted to give him time). When he still wasn't reading at the beginning of second grade, they immediately started him working with the school's learning specialist and he now reads well above grade level. I appreciated the school's respect for our desire not to push, while at the same time providing him with all the support he needed. *Both of my children come home singing songs in Hebrew. They start working with Hebrew and Judaics in kindergarten. I really feel it is a gift to give my kids a thorough knowledge of the traditions and rituals of Judaism (while respecting the diversity of practice represented in the school and the wider world.) *Regular field trips to the food bank in third grade - social justice is practiced throughout the school. *Regular interaction with kids from other grade levels. Children get frequent opportunities to be mentors or to learn from older students. I remember in grade school that the kids in the older grades never talked to younger kids - it wasn't "cool." SJCS is teaching kids that helping others *is* cool. My children know and interact during the school day with kids in both younger and older grades.
I have been a fan of SJCS since before its inception! In those early days, with no facility nor any equipment, all we had was our core values of Yiddishkeit, hamishness, and the highest achedemic aspirations. The positive results were immediately apparent. From its earliest days, SJCS has produced students of confidence, developed ability and moral insight, along with strong and positive Jewish identity and skills. Today those same values remain the focus of SJCS. Today, in our wonderful building, and with a deepening community of supporters, we are poised to grow further and bring these benefits to a larger community.
We have two kids at SJCS and I think it is an outstanding school. I love the dual curriculum with its focus on ethical values, and I love the sense of community at the place. I know that my kids are getting a great education academically, emotionally and in Judaics at SJCS and I really appreciate it.
Our family loves SJCS! The warm, caring SJCS community and staff helped our son seamlessly transition into 3rd grade from his local public school. He is now a 5th grader. Our experience has been so positive that we sent our kindergartener to SJCS even though we long ago decided "she would do just fine" in public school. SJCS' rigorous general and Judaics studies curriculum will keep my kids challenged and the values and social skills that they're learning will serve them their entire lives. The wonderful teachers make learning fun at SJCS. The staff knows each student and understands what makes them tick. I never hear "I don't want to go to school!"
As a donor and a staff member, I can proudly say that I believe in this school. I see children every day who are being taught not only reading, writing, math, science, Hebrew, and Torah, but more importantly how to be good people. I think that this is the greatest strength of SJCS. This school emphasizes teaching children strong morals that will help them for the rest of their lives.
We just assumed our daughter would go to our local public elementary school. All the neighborhood kids had been to this school and we liked the idea of being part of a community. About the time I was visiting this school, we were introduced to SJCS. Naturally...there were considerations, but we were so inspired by what we saw happening at SJCS and the amazing, confident, enthusiastic students it was graduating, that we really had no choice to make. It was quite obvious what the right choice was. She is now in her 3rd year at SJCS and thriving. She loves the school! We love the school! The SJCS community is amazing, especially its shared values and commitment to excellence. We especially value the teachers' dedication and open-mindedness as it relates to how children learn differently. They really teach to each individual child's needs. The values the school instills during these formative years will serve our daughter well for the rest of her life -- nowhere else would she be obtaining such a strong base of values and enhanced Jewish identity. And from her, our family has all learned more about ourselves.
What a privilege to work with SJCS on their development efforts. The professional and volunteer leadership are extraordinarily committed, and their dedication shows in the quality of their program. What a great resource for Seattle families!
We're the parents of two kids currently at the school and one graduate. The school is a model for how Jewish education should be done. My children are informed, able to ask intelligent questions and imbued with an understanding of what the responsibilities of "citizenship" and "community" are. Socializing kids to think about others and to put their community in the center of their world is so important and yet so difficult to teach in a world of crass materialism.
My children attend SJCS 17 years ago. It was a nurturing and stimulating environment. Ideas and opinions were readily encouraged and shared. After leaving SJCS, my children transitioned to public school with no difficulty. They were well prepared. They've grown up to be thoughtful, considerate, concerned citizens of the world. I believe much of this is from the start they got at this school. Now, years later, I am an employee of the school and find the same sense of community, respect, and love of learning that was there for my family so many years ago.
Our family joined the SJCS community this year. We were drawn by the absolutely amazing community of families. Community support far exceeds what we could have hoped for in any other elementary school. As new parents, we were not around for the rough times. Our eyes see a flourishing school, in a lovely building of its own, continually enriching the curriculum and the overall learning environment. Our son loves the new science teacher and her curriculum. As a first grader he gets dance, art, music, PE, and science every week in addition to the solid basic curriculum. The Judaic studies enrich not just our son's learning but help guide our family's exploration of our Jewish identity.
SJCS is a great school. It is a family, everyone is there for you when you need support. The education is outstanding and my children are way ahead of their peers who attend public school.
SJCS is an small, egalitarian community Jewish school - that means that my daughter knows all the kids in her school, from pre-K to fifth grade. The school is a caring, open community - although I think everyone is Jewish, the observance varies from very observant to secular, and includes Israeli kids who are able to integrate because of the Hebrew/Judaic studies half of every day. And the education is excellent - my daughter is advanced, and the teachers are able to challenge her without making her feel different. She is getting a second language, values integrated into her education, and building friendships that will last a lifetime. The staff at the school are amazing - they have very committed staff who have been with the school for a very long time, and their ability to work together really benefits the kids. Every year in the fall, instead of that 'getting to know you' phase that comes with public school (where our son excels), we've had a teacher who already knows my daughter, has had her in her class because they do a good bit of blending during the day depending on subjects and needs of the child. That means that we hit the ground running every year. I highly recommend this school
Our grandchildren attend SJCS and our entire family praises the school. Each child's needs are met in a way that is personal and perfect to their individual learning style. We love that each child is becoming a mensch, ready to take on the world (or at least middle school).
SJCS is a warm loving environment that encourages all its members (staff, students, parents) to grow and learn. I feel lucky to be a member of the team.
My children loved their time at SJCS. Both boys went from K-5th. The education both Judaic and Secular was top notch. They were prepared well for 6th grade, and were able to have a nice foundation of morals and values as well.
This is a "hamish" school, very community oriented, with the highest quality teaching staff I have ever had the pleasure to work with - we are truly a team, and each one of us strengthens the links that let us provide the best education to each and every student we encounter. It never feels competitive the way it has at other schools where I have taught - this is just the opposite, with teachers sharing insights and strategies and always looking for ways to be flexible and support each other.
Since my very first day of teaching for SJCS, 19 years ago, SJCS has been a place where teachers can bring their passions, creativity, and love for children to their workplace. In a world where our culture increasingly demands "a product," SJCS continues to strive to always to create a learning environment that provides for the 'whole' child. An environment where parents and school are partners as we 'grow' children. SJCS is a place where teachers, parents, and children learn together. A place where 'Jewish' becomes a verb!