Every year, Schechter enrolls a large kindergarten cohort. For school year 2012-2013, Schechter welcomed 23 new students in grades 1-8: a large increase in the number of students entering after kindergarten. To learn more about the experience of one of its newest families, Schechter interviewed Emily Lazar whose son, Nate, entered second grade as a new student this fall.
Schechter: What were your considerations in looking for a new school?
Lazar: We are blessed to live in a region with so many great choices in Jewish day school education, each one with its own strengths. Nate and I were moving, and so we focused on schools closer to our new home. We were able to look at a number of really good options. Of course, my major concern was whether the school would be a good match for Nate, one which met his learning style and personality.
Schechter: Why did you look at Schechter?
Lazar: We had friends who had children at Schechter, and they were all really happy. We had also heard that the school provided structure, academics and a sense of pride in being Jewish. These are important elements for Nate. What we got was so much more.
Schechter: What was the admission process like?
Lazar: The initial phone call with Carol (Carol Rumpler is Schechter’s director of admission) quickly put me at ease. Her warmth and openness made us feel so welcome. Carol was and continued to be so accessible. She was able to provide me perspective as a representative of the school, but also as a parent. There was no pretense; Carol made it a point to get to know Nate and what we were looking for so that she could be most helpful.
Carol immediately connected us with a parent who had boys at Schechter who I could ask questions and get more information about the class Nate would be entering. Because Carol knows the parents and the children so well, I feel as though she chose a parent she knew that I would relate to.
Schechter: Once Nate was enrolled, what were your impressions of the school?
Lazar: One of the first things that I noticed about Schechter was not only the communication between the school and parents, but also between the teachers and parents.
Schechter: Are you finding the school to be a good match?
Lazar: So far, absolutely. We feel that he is truly understood. The teachers are available, for me and for him. We feel very fortunate to have a teaching team that has worked so well for Nate. Put simply, they get him. They understand his style. They listen to what he says he needs and are flexible so that he can get the most out of his learning.
Schechter: How was the transition into Hebrew language?
Lazar: I was worried Nate would be behind in Hebrew, but whether he was or not, it just was not an issue. From day one, the teachers worked with him to get him to where he needs to be. The teachers work incredibly hard to both plan and implement their lessons.
Schechter: Do you have any other observations?
I am impressed with the level of professionalism in the school. The teachers look and act like professional educators. They take pride in what they teach and how they teach. The make their academic and behavioral expectations clear to Nate. With these clear standards, he is thriving and is able to exhibit his independence and work to his strengths.
Schechter: What does all of this mean for Nate?
Lazar: There is structure to his learning, and he knows the he is in the right place. He feels secure and welcomed. These past few months have been so rich — academically, socially and emotionally.
Schechter: Anything else you would like to share?
Lazar: I feel that Schechter is investing in Nate as a student and as a member of a community just as much as I am investing in him as his parent.
This experience has been positive and affirming. I recognize that there will be bumps in the road as in life, but this has been the smoothest transition we could have asked for. From chaos and disorganization to a solid foundation where the learning and growing has begun.
Beginning in the 2013-2014 school year, Schechter is proud to introduce its new Madregot Program for new students in grades 1-8. The word madregot is Hebrew for “steps” and also refers to levels of spiritual attainment in Jewish tradition. The program is designed to support students and ensure a smooth and successful transition to Schechter, regardless of their Hebrew language and Judaic Studies backgrounds. The Madregot Program was developed as a new initiative following the completion of the strategic plan, Reaching Higher!, adopted by Schechter’s board of trustees last spring.
“It is our hope that through the Madregot Program we will be able to help even more parents provide a Schechter education for their children,” said Carol Rumpler, Director of Admission. “The level of support varies in each grade level. Most notably, in grades 6-8 Madregot students will follow a customized Hebrew language and Judaic Studies track alongside the traditional General Studies program.”
There is a one-time $1,800 Hebrew language and Judaic Studies support and tutoring fee for students entering grades 2-8 with a family cap of $3,600. Parents who would like more information about applying to kindergarten or the Madregot Program should contact Carol Rumpler at 617-630-4608 or email@example.com.
This article was printed in The Jewish Advocate January 18, 2013