When my wife, Meghan, and I were first discussing kindergarten for our daughter, we were committed to our local public school. We felt fortunate to have such amazing schools here in Massachusetts. It had never occurred to me to consider a kindergarten program at a private school until I began partnering with one in my professional role in organizing programming for LGBTQ families with Keshet. After partnering with The Rashi School, my curiosity was piqued about what kindergarten might look like for my daughter in a Jewish setting.
After Meghan and I took the tour and went to an open house to hear current students speak about their experience at Rashi, we were impressed, but I still felt that commitment to our local public school. It was my wife, who was not born Jewish, who felt strongly and convinced me, the Jewish education professional, that Rashi was the right choice for our daughter and our family.
As an LGBTQ family, one of the most important things we value and hope to impart on our children is our commitment to social justice and responsibility. At Rashi, these values are an integral part of the curriculum and the educational experience. These values that are so critical to our family are not just taught at Rashi, they are lived. We observed students engaged in developing their own personal connections to social justice and personal responsibility for improving their community and the world they live in. These values—our family’s values—are written on the walls, modeled in the classroom by incredibly dedicated teachers and brought to life by Rashi’s social justice coordinator. We began to feel that not only would our daughter experience a supportive, creative and appropriately challenging academic environment at Rashi, but that our priorities at home would be reflected back to her at school each day in a way that simply was not possible in a public school setting.
We are now at the end of her kindergarten year at Rashi, and we could not be any more reassured that we made the right choice for our family. We have had the pleasure this year of watching our daughter learn about the teachings and historic impact of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the critical importance of equity and inclusion and how to stand up for others who are different from her when she observes injustice. We have seen her explain in her own words what Judaism teaches us about protecting sea turtles and the environment, as well as participating in teaching and learning about LGBTQ families like her own.
To top off this fantastic year, we had the honor of helping to organize Rashi’s first-ever participation in the Boston Pride Parade, a culminating experience that has solidified our family’s commitment to our school community. We look forward to many more years as part of this inclusive community, and to welcoming more families like our own who we are confident will see their own core values reflected in the Rashi experience.
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