Let’s put all of the educational catchwords and statistics aside for a moment and consider the one school trait that will have more to do with your child’s happiness than any other—school culture. When you walk in the door, how does it feel? Is it institutional, or warm and cozy? Is it alien and a little threatening, or familiar and welcoming? Do you smile, or look for the office? SSA feels a little like walking into your cousin’s house for a gathering of the extended family. The energy and joy is palpable—you can’t miss it. How is this possible when there are so many kids to organize and educate? It all starts with the people. SSA has assembled a team of tremendously talented and warm people. They have created a safe space. It is not judgmental or competitive and it is not focused on success and failure. It is about relationships—with peers and with teachers; it is about trust, friendship, tolerance, respect, and togetherness. This sense of safety, of being surrounded by people who truly believe in you, allows children to take the personal and educational risks that are needed for real growth. The program is challenging, but the children revel in the challenge. The process is amazing to experience.
Every child is different. Everyone contributes so every child has something to teach and something to learn from every other. We admit children of every Jewish denomination, we admit children of other faiths too, we admit children of every race and every economic background. We are aggressively egalitarian, with girls and boys treated equally. At the core of the SSA culture is a belief that we learn as much from each other as we do from our textbooks. So the more different we are, the more we learn. Later in your child’s life, you may send them abroad to study. You may be anxious with them so far away, but you are not likely to fear them becoming French, Brazilian or Chinese. The experience will likely be a watershed event for your child, for there is something special that happens when we fully experience a culture that is different than our own. SSA provides a similar experience right down the block. Your child will meet others whose life experiences and family backgrounds are different than theirs. They won’t become like them, but they will learn from them. They will become more accepting of our differences and more attuned to our similarities—they will become better global citizens. Children instinctively realize that values matter far more than race, sex or religion when it comes to relationships. SSA provides an opportunity to make this instinctive understanding part of your child’s world view.
All of this is driven by the school’s mission, to prepare your child for a lifetime of learning. Most elementary schools prepare your child for seventh grade. At Solomon Schechter Academy, we set our sights somewhat higher. We believe that it is our job to prepare your child for the rest of their life.
We look forward to meeting with you and your child.