Frequently Asked Questions
The mission of the Jewish High School of Connecticut, a Jewish pluralistic day school, is to educate Jewish youth for whom Jewish values and traditions shape and guide their lives and for whom learning and responsible action are the foundation for achievement.
Where is JHSC located?
JHSC is located at 1937 West Main Street, Stamford, CT 06902. The location is virtually on the border of Greenwich and Stamford, CT.
What is a “pluralistic” Jewish high school?
JHSC is an independent Jewish high school, unaffiliated with any one synagogue or Jewish movement, yet embracing them all. Students at JHSC reflect a diversity of religious and cultural backgrounds, beliefs and practices within the Jewish community. The goals of JHSC are educational, reflecting the hope that students will deepen their commitment to Jewish learning, strengthen their personal sense of Jewish identity, and build a relationship with the broader Jewish community in Connecticut, the United States, and Israel. JHSC is strengthened by the variety of beliefs and practices expressed by our students, parents and members of the faculty.
How does the general studies curriculum at JHSC compare to that presented in other high schools?
Students at JHSC receive a rigorous and stimulating education designed to prepare them for college and beyond. The core courses of the general studies curriculum include Math, Science, English Literature, History and the Social Sciences and Hebrew Language. A text-based curriculum in Jewish studies includes courses in Biblical and Rabbinic Text, Jewish History and Philosophy. To meet the needs of different learners, JHSC offers courses ranging from standard college preparatory to advanced placement. Through the academic curriculum, students build knowledge and enhance skills in textual analysis, logic and critical thinking, written communication and public speaking that will impact all aspects of their intellectual and academic development.
What academic electives and co-curricular programs are offered at JHSC?
JHSC offers academic electives, as well as courses and programs in the fine and performing arts. Right from the start, the faculty of JHSC has worked to design elective courses and co-curricular programming that reflect the interests, initiative, creativity and passions of our students.
Does a student need prior Jewish education or background to apply to JHSC?
Previous Jewish education is not required. We offer a variety of entry level courses to introduce and challenge students from diverse levels of Jewish learning.
What transportation options are available for JHSC students?
Stamford residents receive free busing from the Stamford Public Schools. For students who take Metro North, JHSC offers a shuttle to JHSC in the morning from the Stamford train station and back to the Stamford station at the end of the school day.
Who is the typical JHSC student?
There is no one word or characteristic that defines a JHSC student. JHSC students reflect a large variety of Jewish backgrounds and practices. Some of our students are members of synagogues and Jewish community centers and have attended Jewish day schools. For others, Jewish education is a new experience. All JHSC students share a common motivation towards learning and a desire to participate in a vigorous Jewish high school community. Our students bring a variety of interests and passions, and seek to participate in some area of our co-curricular programs including athletics, music, art, drama, dance, technology, community service, student government, and the literary magazine. Our students live in a wide geographic area in Connecticut and New York.
Does JHSC require an entrance test?
As part of the application review process, JHSC uses nationally recognized standardized testing tools. Applicants may choose to submit scores from one of the following exams, ISEE (www.erblearn.com), SSAT (www.ssat.org), Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT) or Educational Records Bureau (ERB).
What does Tefilah (prayer) look like at JHSC?
In keeping with our pluralistic vision, our prayer program provides students with options to explore, practice, and create meaningful and spiritual tefilah experiences. Students choose and commit to a tefilah community that takes very seriously where they come from, their family’s traditions and practices, their personal beliefs, and their openness to exploration and spiritual growth. The tefilah program is scheduled for every morning.
As an independent school, in what way is JHSC held accountable for the quality of its education? By whom is JHSC accredited?
JHSC is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), which offers the highest standard of independent school accreditation available.
In addition, our students participate in nationally recognized testing programs, such as the ACT, SAT, PSAT, and AP exams. These assessments enable us to evaluate our academic program on a regular basis, and make adjustments accordingly. We are accredited by the National Association of Independent Schools and are a member of Prizmah: The Jewish Community Day School Network.
How do you address issues of diversity at JHSC?
Jewish day schools are often more diverse than people might think. Families at our school come from all kinds of Jewish backgrounds—Reform, Reconstructionist, Conservative, and Orthodox, and many consider themselves secular or “just Jewish”. We have families from England, Russia, Israel, Egypt, and Iran, among others. We have students of color. We have some staff members who are Christian, Catholic, Muslim, and who do not consider themselves religious at all. We also have families from varying economic backgrounds. We have interfaith families at our school. JHSC also addresses diversity through our curriculum by having students learn about different cultures, and learn skills to dialogue and respect positions that are different than their own. Students build small communities, gain awareness of differences in their groups and our society, as well as learning how to resolve issues of diversity using problem solving techniques.
How can you teach a dual curriculum (Jewish and general studies) without sacrificing something in the process?
JHSC views educational success as determined by the way instructional time is used, and not by the time available. Teaching and learning take place throughout our school day, across all curricular areas. Our Judaic studies and Hebrew programs teach and reinforce many of the academic skills taught in our secular programs, such as advanced text analysis and critical thinking skills. We look at our Judaic Studies and general studies programs as an integrated whole, supplementing and complementing one another.
The results are clear: graduates of Jewish high schools tend to get into excellent colleges. Colleges value the fact that students who go to Jewish high schools go above and beyond what most other students are doing. So our dual curriculum is actually more beneficial than a conventional curriculum.
Why should I enroll my child at JHSC when I have a fine public school in my neighborhood?
JHSC offers the highest quality general studies education with a small student-teacher ratio in a warm and nurturing environment. Daily Judaic studies and a dual-language curriculum allow for the development of critical thinking skills, Hebrew immersion and a love of Judaism. A JHSC graduate has a strong Jewish identity, is a lifelong learner, and a leader amongst his/her peers.
Building character, developing values and understanding the imperative of responsible action are key components of our high school community. It is our mission that engages and launches our students to appreciate their potential and responsibility to the world. We have not turned away a mission-appropriate student due to financial reasons.
Does JHSC have in-school and after-school clubs and activities?
JHSC students are offered a variety of options for clubs. We have a yearly chess tournament, literary magazine and student council. Other clubs have included robotics, Jazz Rock Ensemble, computer programming, yearbook, debate, science enrichment, environmental club, social club, and more. Students are encouraged to help JHSC create new electives and clubs.
How does the Jewish High School of Connecticut view the State of Israel?
The creation of the State of Israel is one of the seminal events in Jewish history. Recognizing the significance of the State and its national institutions, we seek to instill in our students an attachment to the State of Israel and its people as well as a sense of responsibility for their welfare.
How can I learn more about and visit JHSC?
JHSC holds an annual Open House during the fall.
Students and parents are also invited to make a personal appointment to visit JHSC’s campus and meet with Head of School, Rabbi Elisha Paul, and other faculty and staff. For more information or to request an application, please either download the Application from this site or call 203.357.0850 or firstname.lastname@example.org.