created at: 2013-11-05Every parent has the opportunity to make choices about their child’s education.  Fortunately, the Boston area offers a wonderful range of schools and educational opportunities for all types of students and families. There is lot for parents to learn about and to consider.  Actively choosing where your child spends most of his/her days is one of the most important and empowering decisions you can make.

For parents who want to take control of their child’s education, the first step is to do a little self-reflection.  Think about your family, educational elements that are most important to you, and about your child as an individual and as a learner.   Once you’ve deliberated on these issues, consider the kind of educational environment you’d like for your child, and the kind of partnership you’d like to have with his/her school.  Now, you are ready to discover which school will best fit your values, your vision and the needs of your child.

Next, learn about the educational options near you.   You are looking for a partner in raising your child, so finding the right match for your educational vision is a priority.  Doing this research is easy, but can take some time. Some start while their child is still learning to walk, while others wait until the fall of their child’s last year in preschool.  Whenever you start looking, here are some good places to start.

  • Visit websites – Try aisne.org, for a list of all the independent schools in the area, mass.gov to learn more about the public schools, cjp.org for a list of all the Jewish day schools, and of course, don’t forget to visit www.jcdsboston.org!
  • Talk to friends.  Very often you have similar values and priorities as your friends.  Use them as a resource, find out what they know and think.
  • If you notice older children whom you admire, ask their parents about their educational experiences…or ask the kids directly, they are a great resource for the unvarnished truth!
  • Go to Open Houses.  Open Houses are held by most schools to help parents with this research process and finding the best fit.   JCDS’s Open House is scheduled for November 14, 2013; register atwww.jcdsboston/OpenHouse and join us.
  • Schedule a personal tour.  This is the best way to get to know a school.  See classes in action, meet teachers and students, and ask all your questions.  Visit www.jcdsboston.org/Tour to plan your visit.

Once you have narrowed the list of schools down, it is time to apply.  You will need to keep an eye on the admissions dates.  Generally, all the independent schools in the area have the same deadlines.  At JCDS our deadlines for this year are as follows:

  • January 31:  The admissions and flexible tuition applications are due,
  • February: Applicants are invited to the school to meet with faculty and admissions staff
  • March 10:  JCDS will notify families of the admission decision, and the flexible tuition decision, if applicable
  • April 10:  Accepted families must send in their signed contract and enrollment deposit to claim their child’s place in the school.
  • After April 10:  Most schools will continue their admissions process, or go to their waiting lists to fill any seats that are still open.

An admissions process is different than a registration process because it is thoughtful and deliberative. At JCDS, the admissions committee looks at a child in total, considering the child’s visit, the parents’ responses on the admissions application, and the school recommendation to determine if a child is a good fit for the school.  In order to build a balanced community through admissions, the committee must look at your child individually, but also as part of the whole, considering gender, religious diversity, and learning styles, among other less tangible considerations.  In this way, the admissions process builds a community of learners that reflects the school’s mission and vision.

Once you receive your admissions acceptance(s), you can then choose the school that is the best fit for you and your child.  The dividends from this choice pay out over a lifetime and you can feel good about placing your child with an institution that shares your educational, social and community values and ideals.  If you have further questions about making this choice, please contact Orna Siegel at 617.972.1733 or email ornas@jcdsboston.org

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