Who We Are

Who We Are

Mission, Vision, and Values

OUR MISSIOn

To develop each student’s love of learning and sense of responsibility to themselves and their community through meaningful experiences and intellectual exploration.

OUR VISION

Inspiring today’s curious learners to become tomorrow’s purpose-driven leaders

OUR VALUES

Rodeph Sholom – Pursuit of Wholeness

Who is the [person] who delights for life?…seek peace and pursue wholeness.” (Psalm 34:13-15)
מִי-הָאִישׁ, הֶחָפֵץ חַיִּים… בַּקֵּשׁ שָׁלוֹם וְרָדְפֵהוּ. תהילים לד:יג–טוIn order for us to strive to be the best versions of ourselves as individuals and as a community, we are steadfast in our pursuit of Love of Learning (Limmud), Community (Kehilah), and Responsibility (Achrayut). When we embody these three values working in concert, we are equipped to become socially responsible leaders guided by Jewish values and ethics to pursue wholeness and peace for ourselves and in the world around us.

Love of Learning (Limmud)

“Who is the wise one? He who learns from all people.” (Pirkei Avot 4:1)
בֶּן זוֹמָא אוֹמֵר, אֵיזֶהוּ חָכָם, הַלּוֹמֵד מִכָּל אָדָם. פרקי אבות ד:אWe teach our students to question and think critically in order to make informed decisions. We value the seeking of wisdom all around us, by honoring and embracing different modalities of learning, both inside and outside the classroom. We embrace learning in partnership, and believe that curiosity and wonder are at the root of joy and excitement in learning.

Community (Kehilah)

“All of the people of Israel are responsible/accountable for one another. ” (Babylonian Talmud, Shevuot, 39a)
שכל ישראל ערבים זה בזה. תלמוד בבלי, שבועות לט׳אCommunity is the force that connects us to each other in myriad ways within the school, to Congregation Rodeph Sholom, to the Jewish people, and to the world beyond. We create a community in which we treat one another with respect. We uphold the notion that each person is created in the divine image, fulfill the commandment to act with love toward one another, and treat each person as they wish to be treated.

Responsibility (Achrayut)

“If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now, when?” (Pirkei Avot 1:14)
[הלל] הָיָה אוֹמֵר, אִם אֵין אֲנִי לִי, מִי לִי. וּכְשֶׁאֲנִי לְעַצְמִי, מָה אֲנִי. וְאִם לֹא עַכְשָׁיו, אֵימָתָי. פירקי אבות א:ידWe take personal responsibility by striving to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. We seek to have integrity, to be self-aware, and consequently to take responsibility for one another in the community by teaching, modeling, and expecting kindness and accountability from others. As we engage with the world at large, we fulfill the obligation of pursuing justice and righteousness. We are committed to actively working toward repairing the world, rather than standing idly by.

OUR COMMITMENT

Israel

Rodeph Sholom School fosters a lifelong love of, and responsibility toward, the State of Israel and its people (ahavat Yisrael). We guide students to develop their own connection with the land, people, and State of Israel as a key component of their personal Jewish identity.

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Social Justice

True to our name, Rodeph Sholom (pursuer of wholeness and peace), we believe that diversity, equity, and inclusion are essential to living out our core values of kehilah (community), achrayut (responsibility), and limmud (love of learning). We actively cultivate a sense of belonging for, and deep connection among, all people in our community. In the tradition of Reform Judaism, we teach students to think critically and to dialogue intentionally about the complex world in which they live. Together, students pursue their collective responsibility to build a world of tzedek (justice).

Reform Jewish Education

The Reform Jewish education at Rodeph Sholom School is guided by the principle of informed choice and rooted in tradition, identity, ethics, and critical thinking. It amplifies our excellent independent school program as it fulfills our vision to cultivate students who are purpose-driven leaders. Our Jewish Life & Learning programs foster the following qualities in our students:

Dynamic Critical Thinking Skills

Our Jewish Studies classes ask students to take part in a long tradition of intentional reading, questioning, analysis, and discussion of Jewish texts and ideas. We challenge students to grapple with big questions, benefiting reading comprehension and interpretations of all kinds of texts and literature.

Hebrew Language Acquisition at a Young Age

Study of a second language at an early age is shown to bolster critical thinking and problem solving skills, as well as enriching student understanding of the diversity that exists in the world.

The study of Hebrew in particular fosters in our students a deeper connection to Jewish communities in Israel and throughout the world, past and present. It also makes the Jewish bookshelf more accessible and keeps the language alive for future generations.

Personal Identity, Connection, and Meaning

Our program provides a broad Jewish education that guides our students to explore, reflect upon, and articulate their Jewish identity. Our Reform Jewish community connects us to one another through a shared culture and history, creating a deep sense of belonging and community where students can be their best selves, and also feel comfortable taking risks.

Early in their journey through our school, students write and deliver D’var Bracha, Tefillah, or Torah as a means to not only practice their public speaking skills, but also as specific opportunities to teach others, to lead within the community, and derive personal meaning and connection to Judaic tradition, wisdom, and interpretation. This is one of many opportunities for students to thoughtfully and intentionally demonstrate leadership through a Jewish lens.

Connection to Jewish Traditions

In our Jewish Studies curriculum, students study the breadth of Jewish history, the Tanakh and its interpretations, and Jewish holidays. Through our weekly marking of Shabbat and holiday celebrations, students take part in traditions that connect them to Jewish heritage, frame the passage of time, and enrich their lives. Tefillah provides opportunities for individual reflection, communal gathering, and experiencing the beauty and reason of Jewish ritual. Taken together, these traditions – old and contemporary – help create a blueprint for our students to be their best selves now and in the future.

Commitment to Justice and Righteousness

Our service learning program is rooted in the Jewish tradition that study leads to action and compels us towards a lifelong responsibility to our communities and the world at large. Through the responsibility outlined in Jewish tradition, students engage in tzedek – justice and righteousness. This framework is put into action as all of our students engage in a variety of service learning projects throughout their Rodeph Sholom School journey.

Lifelong Jewish Community

Our school is affiliated with Congregation Rodeph Sholom, a Reform synagogue that fosters lifelong connections and meaningful community. The unique partnership of school and synagogue allows for important life events to take place within the same community, having clergy members who are not only integral to the education and raising of our kids, but also support families through life’s momentous and most challenging moments.

The Early Childhood through 8th Grade Journey

Here are some of the reasons why our experience, as well as academic research, demonstrates that the Nursery through 8th Grade education at Rodeph Sholom School benefits all of our students.

A Strong Academic Foundation

According to a study by the American College of Testing, “The level of academic achievement that students attain by eighth grade has a larger impact on their college and career readiness by the time they graduate from high school than anything that happens academically in high school.” As an N-8 school, Rodeph Sholom School is singularly focused on educating students during the ages that matter most for their future success.

An Extended Childhood

By remaining free from the social and academic environment often imposed by older students, particularly high schoolers, students can remain younger longer.

Meaningful Transitions

As students transition from one division or grade to another, they are supported by a connected faculty that knows them well and knows where they are going. Students are taught according to a holistic curriculum developed along a continuum–so nothing gets lost in the shuffle.

Focused Resources

Our youngest students benefit from the resources of a larger school, including an expert faculty with access to extensive professional development and vast facilities that include large light-filled classrooms, a dedicated gym, and multiple indoor and outdoor play spaces. At the same time, our older students can enjoy opportunities, including trips to DC, The South, and Israel, that might typically be prioritized for high school students.

Leadership Opportunities

Middle schoolers, in particular, often get lost in the shuffle at Kindergarten through 12th grade programs, yet they have countless opportunities to thrive as community leaders in an N-8th grade program.

Self-Knowledge and Self-Advocacy

The process of applying to high school compels middle schoolers to truly understand themselves and to articulate their strengths to others. At Rodeph Sholom School, a comprehensive high school placement process supports students as they engage in the process of identifying the right school for them.

The Purpose-Driven Leader

Rodeph Sholom School inspires today’s curious learners to become tomorrow’s purpose-driven leaders. Students throughout our school learn that there are many ways to lead. They model responsible behaviors and share complex ideas, they treat others with empathy and compassion, and they stand up for each other, even when it is not easy to do. As graduates, they find unique ways to make positive contributions to their communities. They motivate and empower others, inspire action, effectively communicate and advocate for ideas, and have the conviction and humility to stand for what they believe is right.

Five Key Qualities of a Purpose-Driven Leader

From Nursery through 8th Grade, we seek to cultivate Five Key Qualities in our students that will equip and inspire them to thrive as purpose-driven leaders in their communities and in the world. The Rodeph Sholom School educational experience builds these qualities in our students as we strive to fulfill our mission and vision guided by our core values.

Passionate

Curiosity, wonder, and inquisitiveness are at the root of joy and excitement in learning. Wherever they are learning – be it the classroom, on the field, or in the art studio – and whatever they are doing as part of our program, our students are developing the interests and passions that will shape their lives.

Confident

Self-confidence is at the core of leadership. Our dedicated faculty work to instill our students with the confidence to embrace challenges and try new things. Consistent attention to students’ social and emotional well-being, opportunities to engage in public speaking, and a curriculum that explicitly teaches self-advocacy empowers our students to become change-makers in their community and the world.

Socially Responsible

Jewish tradition compels us towards a moral obligation to care not only for ourselves and for our school, but also for our city and our world. Service learning, volunteerism, and activism are an integral part of our real-world curriculum and the life of our community.

Informed

Having deep knowledge and dynamic skills allows students to thrive within and beyond the walls of the classroom. Our challenging academic curriculum provides each student with a strong foundation for future success, and also the tools to enact change.

Intentional

Having deep knowledge and dynamic skills allows students to thrive within and beyond the walls of the classroom. Our challenging academic curriculum provides each student with a strong foundation for future success, and also the tools to enact change.