Frequently Asked Questions
Gross Schechter Day School provides students with the foundation they need – technology and tradition, scholarship and service, art and athletics – to forge their own paths as modern Jews in a global world. We welcome you to learn more about our school and what makes a Schechter education an education for life through the following FAQs below.
All parents want to provide their children the best possible learning environment, and here at Gross Schechter Day School we offer an unparalleled experience. Our children benefit from an outstanding faculty and an exceptional, multi-sensory, dual curriculum of both general and Jewish studies that is responsive to students’ individual needs. Through our curriculum, our students develop an understanding of the world around them and their place within it. They come to feel autonomy as a learner and an individual in the world, and the responsibility of acting in moral and ethical ways as Jews and Americans.
Gross Schechter graduates have a strong Jewish identity, are lifelong learners and are proven leaders amongst their peers. Our alumni move into new settings and are extremely successful in their secondary schools and beyond, because of the strong foundation they received at Schechter.
The essential elements of all learning are addressed in both our General and Judaic Studies curricula. These elements include developing ability in language arts, critical thinking skills, increasing independence and exploration as a learner, and the ability to work with others in groups and teams. Our teachers on every grade level are committed to challenging children in each instructional division of the school day. Thus, our children “learn how to learn” throughout the school day.
Our curriculum is integrated. For example, our children study the phases in the moon, learning about the implications in science and Jewish life. They learn the moon phases in English and Hebrew, as well. In another example, students learn about Jewish historical figures in a specific period, while also learning about the world history in that era as part of the school’s Social Studies program. So too, students are trained to apply reading and writing skills to both English and Hebrew texts, including the Torah.
The curriculum is focused and enriched to assure that students meet the Ohio Learning Standards and beyond. Our Modern Hebrew and Judaic Studies Programs complement the development of strong skills through reading, writing, analyzing and oral presentations. Students benefit tremendously from learning a second language at an early age.
Our school is dedicated to offering a demanding and intellectually rigorous dual-language academic program. Their success in subsequent settings proves the efficacy of the curriculum.
With a strong grounding in research, we strive for a well-rounded, but also deeply meaningful curriculum. Research indicates that involvement in the arts is associated with gains in math, reading, cognitive ability, critical thinking and verbal skill. Arts engagement can also improve motivation, concentration, confidence, and teamwork*. Although art is integrated throughout our curriculum, in Preschool through 8th grade, our students benefit from formal training in vocal and instrumental music and creative arts. Students attend both music and art twice a week. Opportunities to perform in band and in grade-wide musical performances are peppered throughout the year.
A growing body of research proves that children need several “brain-breaks” throughout the day and several opportunities to move their bodies in order to be the best learners they can be. At Gross Schechter, we know that recess and Physical Education are of critical importance; our schedule reflects that. Four days a week, our students participate in Physical Education class and every day our students have a substantial recess. When the weather permits, recess is held outside on the playground or in the adjacent grassy field.
Technology, community service projects/field trips and guidance are also integrated into the week.
Current students’ scores are comparable to students at area private and public schools. Our graduates are invited into honors programs in the public schools, and are courted by and accepted by the area’s most selective private schools.
Our alumni attend both public and private schools in the area. Students currently attend and are successful in high schools such as: Beachwood, Shaker Heights, Orange, Solon, Hawken School, Laurel School, Hathaway Brown, University School and more. We plan our curriculum and maintain strong ties with the educators and counselors in these schools in order to ensure a smooth academic and social transition.
Schechter grads have achieved academic excellence at various universities, such as Boston University, Case Western Reserve University, Columbia, Emory University, Northwestern University, The Ohio State University, Ohio University, Tulane, Yale, University of Michigan, Washington University in St. Louis, and Yeshiva University, to name a few from the last several years. Many of our graduates also choose to spend a Gap Year in Israel learning in yeshivot and volunteering in social service environments.
Gross Schechter addresses the spectrum of learning styles by utilizing a variety of teaching and learning methods. Small class size make it possible for more personalized learning and small group instruction. In addition, our Director of Student Services meets with teachers each week to discuss students’ development and find ways to best support individual students needs. We offer tutoring and enrichment opportunities for our students as needed.
Gross Schechter integrates technology throughout the curriculum including: SmartBoards in every classroom (kindergarten and up), weekly technology lessons with a specialist and chromebook and macbook carts in grades Kindergarten through Eight. Our science lab is fully equipped and award-winning, with students utilizing sonar equipment, building generators and wind turbines, solar cars and more. Cross-curricular multi-media projects are commonplace. Students gain a strong foundation in STEM, in order to be on the forefront of meeting the challenges of our rapidly changing technological world.
All Gross Schechter preschool and K-8 teachers hold Ohio Department of Education certifications. Licenses vary for general and Judaic studies and preschool staff, and may include additional approval from the Jewish Education Center of Cleveland and the Cleveland Board of License. The majority of our teachers hold advanced degrees in addition to their undergraduate education. Click here to read staff bios.
Homework begins occasionally in kindergarten and is regularly assigned beginning in 1st grade. Amount of time students will spend on homework will vary depending on the unit of study, the grade level, and the individual student.
At Gross Schechter, we are committed to helping all our students achieve success in the best environment possible. As a community that values and supports each person and family, we recognize that each student is different. We will actively work with you to respond to and strengthen the different learning styles of your child.
Yes, there are two scholarships being offered by the Ohio Department of Education: Ed Choice Expansion Program (for low-income families with children entering kindergarten or first grade) or Ed Choice (for students who would be attending under-performing schools). Qualifying families can enroll their child/ren at Gross Schechter tuition free!
Just as the Jewish community is composed of a wide range of Jewish practice and observance, so too our school is proud to welcome Jewish families at every level of observance – from unaffiliated to modern Orthodox. Our families belong to a wide-range of local synagogues and respect for varying levels of observance is taught in class. While home observances vary widely, our school is affiliated with the Conservative Movement and embraces an egalitarian approach to the practice of Jewish living. We are fully committed to the mitzvot and to the observance of Shabbat and kashrut as hallmarks of the Jewish tradition. Our school policies and observances are reflective of these values.
We happily work with every family to find the best way to get your child ready for the classroom. We offer Hebrew language or subject matter tutors internally and may suggest additional support to help ensure that your child will have a positive entry into Schechter. Continued assistance is given until the student is ready to work independently.
Gross Schechter values and respects the varied approaches to the laws of kashrut (keeping kosher) that exist within our community. However, our observance of kashrut is guided by the concern that all members of our community feel comfortable eating at school functions. Therefore, we ask parents to send in a dairy/parve, kosher, nut-free snack on all days. Kosher lunches are provided to all students. Monday/ Wednesday/Friday are dairy days and Tuesday/Thursday are meat days. On all days, students have various options to meet their personal preferences or dietary needs.
Knowing each student and attending to their needs is a hallmark of our program.
In preschool, we average the following ratios:
Two year olds: 1:5
Three year olds: 1:7
In Kindergarten through 8th grade, our classes range between 12-17 students. Classes are led by credentialed teachers and, often, supported by learning specialists as needed for small group work. In addition, students interact throughout the day with a staff of specialists.
Gross Schechter offers pre-care for one hour before school starts at no cost to families.
In the afternoon, we offer after-care services for preschoolers until 6:00 p.m. Monday through Thursday, for a modest fee. On Fridays, we offer aftercare that closes one hour before Shabbat begins. Arrangements can be made through our front office.
Beginning in the Fall of 2016, Gross Schechter will partner with the Mandel JCC to provide children in Kindergarten through 6th grade a rich and comprehensive after-school program in their J-Kids Club. Children will be transported by bus to the Mandel JCC, just down the road. Information about the program can be found in the Gross Schechter business office. Families will register with the Mandel JCC.
Transportation to and from Gross Schechter is offered by your local public school district’s Transportation Department. You must make transportation arrangements by submitting a request to your public school Transportation Office. Be aware that to be eligible for transportation, your Kindergarten-age child must meet your district’s birthday cut-off date. Parents are also invited to pick-up and drop-off students. Come into our building, our doors are always open!