The foundation of any great school is a great staff. If you look at area schools, you will find pockets of excellence surrounding particularly gifted teachers. At SSA, however, there are no pockets of excellence—there is simply excellence from K through 6. Our teachers are not at SSA for the money—they could all make more elsewhere. They are not at SSA because they have tenure—we don’t offer it. They are not at SSA for the benefit plan, summers off, or even for the love of teaching in itself. They came to SSA and stayed because they are passionate about being a part of a special teaching and cultural experience. This is an environment that fully nurtures real education—teachers are given a curriculum framework that clearly defines course content, and are then set free to fully apply their skills and creativity to the growth of their students. It is, perhaps, not surprising that many of our non-Jewish teachers are very observant members of their own faiths. These teachers do not feel that there is any conflict between honoring Jewish traditions and rituals during the day, and their own faith’s traditions outside of school. Rather, they have a powerful commitment to faith in all of its forms, and feel fortunate to work in a school that cares as much about your child’s values as about their GPA.
So, yes, your child will be taught by great teachers, in small groups of 5 to 10 students, in a safe, nurturing, stimulating environment. But this does not begin to explain the magic that takes place in SSA classrooms. Your child’s teachers will know him/her almost as well as you do—their strengths and weaknesses, their favorite and least favorite subjects, their sense of humor, their friends and foes, whether they are sad or happy, frustrated or triumphant. Solomon Schechter Academy teachers are personally invested in ensuring that every child succeeds in his or her own way. For one child, this might mean demonstrating academic brilliance. For another, overcoming their shyness and performing in front of their school mates. At SSA at least, no child is left behind. And, while your child will have a classroom and a primary teacher, he/she will interact with every teacher on a very tight and cohesive staff. Every teacher, every aid and every administrator in the school will know your child by the end of his/her first year at the school. When your child moves on to the next grade, there is no anxiety and no lost time—the teacher will already know your child, from both personal interaction and detailed briefing, and your child will already have a relationship with his/her new teacher.
For a parent, there is simply nothing more important than knowing that your child is understood and cared for. SSA teachers take this responsibility just as seriously as you do.