Our chosen model, used by innovative schools nation-wide, is called ‘mixed-age grouping’ or ‘cohorts’. This type of grouping removes the age-old construct of classifying children by grade. We have three learning communities: the younger cohort which includes students that are 5,6, and 7 years old. The middle which has 7, 8, and 9 year olds, and the upper cohort which includes 9,10, and 11 year-olds. Pedagogical research has shown that intellectual, social, and emotional development is not strictly age-based. There are numerous advantages to cohort-based learning environments:
Students are able to have more than one year with the same teachers. This allows those teachers to develop a deeper understanding of a child’s strengths and needs, placing them in a better position to support the child’s learning over time.
Students have several years to develop, and are able to see themselves as progressive, successful learners.
Students are better able to learn at their own pace. In mixed-age classrooms, children who need more time to master content can do so; those that are more gifted in certain areas like math, writing or Hebrew, are able to advance at a more customized pace.
Children develop a sense of family with their classmates. They become a “family of learners” who support and care for each other. In small schools like ours, such clusters afford more opportunity for a larger social structure than can be created with 7-9 students in a traditional grade.
Older students have the opportunity to serve as mentors and to take leadership roles.
What is Integrated Education?
SJCS’ integrates Academics, Jewish Values and Traditions, Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and Specialty Subjects to support and nurture each child’s intellectual, creative, social emotional, and spiritual growth. We know that confident children who possess a strong sense of identity and belonging are better prepared to challenge themselves academically, to assume leadership roles in their future communities, and to interact fully and positively in a diverse and ever-changing world.
Academics include Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Math
Jewish Learning includes Hebrew Language, Torah, Jewish Culture, and Tradition
Specialty Subjects include Art, Digital Citizenship, Library, Music and Physical Education
In each cohort, a General Studies. Judaic Studies, and Specialty Studies teaching team works collaboratively to facilitate continuity and growth for each student. Hebrew Language is taught by a dedicated Hebrew Specialist. Teams purposefully connect secular and Jewish learning to help students draw meaningful and complex connections between diverse subject areas. Our integrated approach emphasizes thematic as well as skill-based connections across all academic areas, bridging secular and Jewish studies to provide students a rich and textured approach to learning supported by a strong, positive sense of identity.