Frequently Asked Questions

Questions & Answers

 What are the Jewish Academy strengths?

 The Jewish Academy is presently the only Jewish Day School in Suffolk County, a community of close to 90,000 Jews. Our mandate and responsibility is to offer the best in education to every Jewish child. Our goal is to provide a school of excellence which will truly prepare each student for a fulfilling, successful life in a 21st century society and workplace.

This goal becomes more and more urgent to achieve, due to the realities of our changing society. The world will look completely different in 15 years, when today’s students will be adults. Experts suggest that up to 50% of future professional positions do not even exist now. Educators are realizing that old methodologies and the memorization of facts will not prepare our children for the 21st Century workplace. They will own sophisticated handheld computers, with every fact or function they could possibly need at their fingertips.

Therefore, we believe that a cutting edge education, in addition to proficiency in the core curriculum subjects and Judaic Studies, must prepare our children to develop important tools - critical thinking, problem solving, communication, collaboration and creativity. Additionally, an ability to use computer technology to its fullest is not a luxury, but rather a requirement. It is not just a subject; it is the platform advanced learning must be built on, from a young age. This is a S.T.E.M.(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) based 21st Century education. 

In addition, children's varying learning styles are greeted with enthusiasm and respect. Our academic standards exceed New York State guidelines, and our faculty encourages creativity and critical thinking in all students. Through combining Jewish tradition and a vibrant General Studies curriculum, the JA  focuses on the individual development of each child, both socially and academically. Equally important are those lessons in integrity, kindness, compassion, and caring that are integrated into all aspects of school life.

 Our family may not be as observant as others. Will our children fit in?

The JA student body reflects the full spectrum of the Jewish community, with families practicing Judaism in many ways. The faculty is equally diverse in both their background and experience.

The JA is a warm and welcoming place where Jewish children and parents from all backgrounds form lasting friendships.

The focus is on developing a knowledge of Judaism and pride in our heritage rather than changing one's lifestyle. The fundamental Torah lesson of respect of others and their differences is taught and modeled here.

  We’re an average family. Can we afford the cost of an independent school education?

Every Jewish child deserves a quality  education.

Understanding that not every family is able to afford the cost of a quality Jewish Day school education, an innovative and equitable process is offered, which takes into account the individual financial needs of families.

 Why would parents choose independent school education for their children?

Education has taken giant steps in the past 20 years due to new techniques, improved methodologies, and upgraded school facilities. Faculty has received professional training on a scale never accomplished in the past, and mandated testing has insured that students keep pace with the requirements of the times they live in. These are exciting times for education. Schools work very hard to improve the product they deliver, raising test scores to be the best. Sounds very impressive? It is. But it represents excellence in education for the 20th century.

Most schools are still based on feeding information to students for memorization purposes to achieve greater standarized test scores. Innovation is often directed to how to produce those higher scores. There is a fundamental flaw with this approach. It does not realistically prepare our children for life, and the work place, in a global economy. The world is changing at such a fast pace that tremendous foresight is required to know what children will really need to succeed in that world. Facts will be helpful, however it is the development of one’s thinking skills and character traits which will be what separates two individuals in the future. Those who excelled in a 20th Century education will be at a noticeable disadvantage.

An independent school provides the environment for a child to develop leadership skills, to give wings to their creativity, and work in collaborative teams to accomplish common goals. Teachers direct this learning to develop each students full potential. They are not "sages on the stage', but rather 'guides by the side'. The individualization that is provided to each student in an independent school is a critical advantage that encourages your child to develop their unique talents, knowledge and personality. This investment bears fruit for years to come.

How do JA students compare to local school districts?

In 2010 we introduced a 21st century approach to standardized testing. This allows for us to compare our results to those of the surrounding school districts and at the same time provide our parents with an academic skills based growth chart. Our results for our first testing period placed our 1st Grade students in the 99th percentile in the country for English. 

What is 21st Century Education?

Howard Gardner writes in Five Minds for the Future (Harvard Business School Press) that in order to succeed in the 21st century one needs to focus on the following 5 basic minds/skills; the disciplinary mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind and the ethical mind. Unlike the 20th century where the focus of education was the transference of information from teacher to student, in the 21st century most of that information is available to students through online sources. The role of the educators in the 21st century is to guide the student through this maze of information and help them find ways to utilize it effectively. Please read more about this in the 21st Century tab.

 How is Judaism integrated into programs and practices?

At the JA, students don't  just learn about Judaism - they experience it! Hebrew becomes a spoken and vibrant language, with Israel being squarely on the map! The beauty of Shabbat as well as prayers and traditions associated with the holidays are taught through multi-sensory techniques. Jewish and General Studies are integrated to maximize the educational experience. Our teachers engage students in the relevance of Judaism to todays world and to the Jewish commitment to 'tikun olam' – repairing the world.

 Who shall I call to find out more?

If you have other questions or are interested in a tour of the school, please contact: Chaya Teldon, 631-368-2600