Frequently Asked Questions

Why should we choose Chicago Jewish Day School?

Parents want to offer their children the best possible learning environment to begin their formal education, and here at Chicago Jewish Day School, we offer just that. Our children benefit from an outstanding faculty and an exceptional multi-sensory curriculum of Judaic and General studies that is attentive to students’ individual needs. By integrating our subject areas into thematic units, our students develop an understanding of the world around them, allowing them to see and participate in all activities as Jews and Americans. In addition, our educational approach and school culture appreciate and affirm differences in Jewish philosophy and background and value the range of Jewish religious practices among its students.

What are the benefits of a dual curriculum?

Recent studies suggest that people who master more than one language build a more resilient brain, are more proficient at multi-tasking, and are better able to set priorities. Chicago Jewish Day School students begin learning Hebrew from day one, and these young minds quickly gain proficiency in a second language. This not only provides them with a sound cultural foundations, but also wires their brains to accelerate learning in all academic subjects.

Chicago Jewish Day School’s dual curriculum teaches our children both knowledge and values, in both Judaic and General studies. We seek to nurture students who are not only literate, but who also are empowered to become educated members of the Jewish and general community through the skills, values, and experiences that they acquire. The use of Hebrew as a spoken language coupled with our progressive, integrated and experiential curriculum develop children’s capacity for complex learning. The study of sacred and Biblical texts develop critical thinking and analytical skills. Managing a dual curriculum promotes organizational and time management skills which lead to solid study habits. Chicago Jewish Day School’s challenging and thought provoking curriculum prepares graduates well for advanced study. Most of all, however, Chicago Jewish day School promotes and fosters ethical and moral identity development in each individual child

How is the day divided between General studies and Judaic studies?

General and Judaic studies classes rotate between morning and afternoon sessions with both disciplines woven throughout any given day. This creates more flexibility, and also addresses the impact the time of day has on learning. At Chicago Jewish Day School, we have similar academic goals for both General Studies and Judaic Studies – deeper understanding, critical thinking, and real world application – and believe that what we learn in each area enhances and capitalizes on our learning in the other.

What about music? art? technology? P.E.? recess?

We believe in the importance of integrating all these disciplines throughout our day. In addition, Chicago Jewish Day School has specialists in music, art, P.E. and technology who work with each grade multiple times per week. Our students have recess twice each day. This is just one of the wonderful opportunities for children of different grades to interact with each other socially. When the weather permits, recess is held outside on the grassy field, the beach, and the city playground located right next door to our school facility. Otherwise, recess is held inside in one of the large social halls downstairs from our classrooms.

What is the student/teacher ratio in your classrooms?

Our student teacher ratio is 5:1. Our classes typically range from 12-16 students per class and most grades have two classes per grade. In Junior Kindergarten and Kindergarten classes, they have 2 teachers in each classroom. In our Grades One through Five, each class has one General Studies teacher and one Hebrew/Judaic Studies teacher. In middle school, our students rotate from class to class with a different, specialized teacher for each of the academic disciplines.

How does Chicago Jewish Day School address individual learning needs?

At Chicago Jewish Day School, we take our cue from our students – and are particularly attentive to student individuality. The question, “What is best for the student?” is at the core of all decisions. Each student is unique. Therefore, policies as well as learning and behavioral expectations are established in a broad manner that allows for individualized decision-making that reflects our respect for the individual students and their needs, both those needing extra support and those requiring enrichment. Differentiation is embedded in our curricular choices and teaching methodology across the subject areas. We celebrate the developmental stages of learning and provide for each student’s unique timetable for unfolding their abilities. In addition, the teachers in our Reach Department provide additional support to students in order to address a wide variety of student needs.

Where is the school located?

Chicago Jewish Day School is proud to announce that we moved to a new campus in April 2018! This 65,000 square foot facility on over 2.6 acres will allows us to create a campus that enhances the education we offer our students. The address is 3730 N California Ave, Chicago, IL 60618. Read more about our new campus!

What are my transportation options?

Chicago Jewish Day School offers a bus transportation option for our families to and from school. We currently offer four buses that make a variety of stops throughout the city and suburbs to accommodate our families. Currently, about 70% of our students take the bus to and from Chicago Jewish Day School. Carpooling is also very popular at Chicago Jewish Day School. Upon enrolling, you will receive a school directory to help facilitate this process. Additionally, our Director of Admissions, Cortney Stark Cope, is happy to help connect you with other families in your area. 

How long is the day?

Grade Drop off Arrival Dismissal
JK 8:00 a.m. 8:15 a.m. 3:15 p.m.*
K-5 8:00 a.m. 8:15 a.m. 3:15 p.m.**
6-8 7:45 a.m. 8:00 a.m. 3:30 p.m.**

* Junior Kindergarten has an optional dismissal time at 12:30 p.m. Daily enrichment is from 12:30-3:15 p.m.

** CJDS dismisses at 2:30 p.m. on Friday afternoons for Shabbat and dismisses at noon on the afternoon preceding Jewish holidays.

What if I need my child to stay at school beyond the typical day?

As a convenience to our families, we offer both Before Care and After Care (J at School) services on our campus. 

Before Care 7:30-8:00 a.m. Monday-Friday
After Care 3:30-6:00 p.m. Monday-Thursday

Additionally, we offer after school activities, called After School Adventures, three days per week. These programs, which include activities such as cooking, karate, Mishna, Circus Arts, dance, and many others, begin immediately after school and end at 4:30 PM. Learn more about our After School Adventure offerings.

After Care Options

  • JCC's J at School is also offered after school on campus Monday-Thursday (3:30-6:00 p.m.) and off campus at the JCC Heller on Fridays. Highly trained JCC Staff guide children through entertaining activities, assist with homework, and provide a nurturing, safe environment where kids can learn and grow.
  • Moadon Kol Chadash: This Hebrew immersion program is held off site Monday-Thursday from 4:00-6:00 p.m.
  • Right At School: This program is held at Nettelhorst Elementary School Monday-Friday from 3:30-6:00 p.m. 

What about lunch? What if my family doesn’t keep kosher?

CJDS values and respects the varied approaches to the laws of kashrut (keeping kosher) that exist within our community. Our observance of kashrut is guided by the concern that all members of our community feel comfortable eating at school functions. Therefore, we ask parents to send in a dairy/pareve (prepared without meat, milk or their derivatives) snack and lunch for their child on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays and to send in a kosher meat/pareve snack on Thursdays and Fridays. Optional catered school lunches are available for purchase through Marla's Lunch program, coming directly from area kosher restaurants.

I’m worried I might not be religious enough or might be too religious to attend Chicago Jewish Day School.

As a multi-denominational day school, we are proud of the fact that our families hail from diverse Jewish backgrounds. While many of our students come from families that are Reform, Conservative or Modern Orthodox, we also have many families who do not identify with a particular denomination. All of our families come together in the desire to ground their children with a strong sense of Jewish identity and knowledge. At Chicago Jewish Day School, our students understand that there is not just one way to be Jewish and celebrate and respect the different ways we all come to our Jewish identity and practice.

I am thinking about high school. What schools do Chicago Jewish Day School graduates attend?

At Chicago Jewish Day School, we take pride in the fact that our graduates have choices. 95% of our graduates gain acceptance to their first-choice high school, including Chicago’s competitive selective enrollment and private schools, where they become leaders in their schools and communities.

Some of the schools our graduates attend include:

  • Northside College Prep
  • Jones College Prep
  • Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
  • Walter Payton College Prep
  • Latin School of Chicago
  • Roycemore School
  • Lincoln Park High School Honors and Performing Arts programs
  • Beacon Academy
  • Lane Technical College Prep High School
  • Evanston Township High School
  • and many more!

Is Chicago Jewish Day School accredited?

Chicago Jewish Day School is accredited by ISACS (Independent School Association of Central States). This prestigious and highly sought after accreditation puts us in a community of excellence with other top independent schools in the Chicagoland area. Additionally, we are part of the RAVSAKNBOANAIS, and ASCDnetworks. We partner with and are supported by the Jewish United Fund.