Academics

Rodeph Sholom School offers students in Early Childhood through 8th Grade a stimulating academic program led by experienced and passionate faculty.

Our core academic subjects are offered alongside a wide range of co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities. We challenge our students, while supporting each child’s cognitive and social-emotional growth.

Early Childhood Division

Rodeph Sholom School’s Early Childhood program stands on its own as one of the premier offerings in New York City. Housed in its own dedicated building on West 84th Street, the program boasts talented faculty of professional educators, play spaces designed for young learners, a library, an art facility, and specialist teachers who enhance the experience.

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A Note From the Head of the Early Childhood Division
Twos
Threes
Pre-Kindergarten
Kindergarten
A Note From the Head of the Early Childhood Division

A Note From the Head of the Early Childhood Division

Dear Early Childhood Parents,

Here in the Early Childhood Division of Rodeph Sholom School, we have the opportunity to introduce students to the many wonderful things that they will discover at school and to allow them to experience the range of opportunities that school can offer. What a thrill it is to be part of a child’s first school experience!

From the time they enter our program until the time they finish Kindergarten, we see such tremendous growth and change and get to watch their unique personalities unfold. In the Twos and Threes, they learn how to move through a school day, how to develop positive and satisfying relationships with others, and how to function within a group. They are also exposed to a wide range of learning materials and have chances to explore and make sense of the world around them.

In Pre-Kindergarten, all of this learning continues, but now students are given opportunities to develop their skills in literacy, math, and critical thinking in ways that develop naturally out of their everyday experiences. By Kindergarten, students are actively developing their skills in reading, writing, mathematical thinking, making sense of the larger world as they move through their day. Students also meet with specialists regularly to learn more in depth about music, art, literature, Hebrew, and physical education.

Working with young children is never boring and every day brings new adventures. The joy that they bring to school permeates our program.

Warmly,

Suzie Newman
Head of the Early Childhood Division

Elementary Division

Our 1st – 4th Grade students enter our doors every day eager to learn, play, and contribute to their community. Elementary students at Rodeph Sholom School are able to grow in a safe, nurturing, and developmentally appropriate environment where they build confidence, competence, and self esteem. Our enthusiastic and highly trained teachers actively engage students in their own learning processes, and together they explore new ideas and expand their understanding of the world around them.

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A Note From the Head of the Elementary Division
1st Grade
2nd Grade
3rd Grade
4th Grade
A Note From the Head of the Elementary Division

A Note From the Head of the Elementary Division

Dear Elementary Division Families,

Welcome to the Elementary Division. It is our pleasure to work with students and families in a warm, nurturing and safe community where students engage in challenging academics and supportive social experiences.

Our 1st – 4th Grade students enter our doors every day eager to learn, play, and contribute to their community. Elementary students at Rodeph Sholom School are able to grow in a safe, nurturing, and developmentally appropriate environment where they build confidence, competence, and self esteem. Our enthusiastic and highly trained teachers actively engage students in their own learning processes, and together they explore new ideas and expand their understanding of the world around them.

We pride ourselves on meeting each student’s individual needs to help them acquire new skills, think critically, and deepen their learning. Our strong academic program offers a stimulating atmosphere where students are motivated to work with persistence, determination, and enthusiasm across all disciplines.

Students are provided meaningful foundations through Judaic Studies and Hebrew classes, which allow them to explore their personal identity, sense of self, and connect in various ways with Judaism. Through our co-curricular programs, including art, music, drama, technology, physical education, and sciences, students are provided opportunities to express themselves while discovering their passions and feeding their intellectual curiosity.

Social-emotional learning is at the heart of our program, as students are taught to recognize and manage emotions, solve problems, make good decisions, care about others, and interact respectfully and with kindness. Students develop close, positive relationships with each other and rely on these foundations as they grow and transition through their years at Rodeph Sholom and beyond.

It is through the lens of our core values, Love of Learning, Community, and Responsibility that our Elementary students thrive. Children learn to think critically in order to make informed choices, flourish through understanding the value in taking part of something larger than themselves, while understanding their responsibility to their community and others.

The spirit of our school community is palpable. The connections forged between students, families, and faculty create a unique and special place to grow up and learn. We welcome you to Rodeph Sholom School and look forward to partnering with your family as you and your child experience a Rodeph Sholom School education.

Warmly,

Rebecca Hammerman
Head of the Elementary Division

Middle School

Rodeph Sholom Middle School offers a unique middle school environment where learning is prized, teachers are specialists in both their subject disciplines and the developmental needs of adolescents, and Reform Jewish values form the foundation of learning in and outside of the classroom. The division is comprised of 5th through 8th Grade.

The stimulating curriculum recognizes that middle school is a transformative time of intellectual, emotional and spiritual development. The Jewish ethos of our community provides a firm grounding in the ethics and values which are essential traits of active and responsible citizens. Over the course of their Middle School years, students encounter a myriad of authentic leadership opportunities. At its core, the Middle School is designed to provide students with the tools necessary to learn how to evaluate themselves and the world around them.

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A Note From the Head of Middle School
5th Grade
6th Grade
7th Grade
8th Grade
A Note From the Head of Middle School

A Note From the Head of Middle School

Dear Middle School Parents,

The middle school years are ones of incredible growth and discovery. In these years, children become increasingly independent and develop into abstract thinkers, deeply engaged with the world around them. At Rodeph Sholom School, we honor this unique developmental stage by shepherding the children through these years with support and guidance. We build upon the skills, concepts and values instilled in the Early Childhood and Elementary Divisions, finding numerous opportunities to reflect upon and celebrate student growth and accomplishments.

Through a developmentally thoughtful program, RSS supports each child’s cognitive and social emotional growth. In our challenging and stimulating curriculum, students think critically, engage with each other and the world around them, while holding themselves to high standards. Students are given space to explore, make choices, develop self-advocacy, and be independent, in a structured and safe environment.

Of course, with increased independence comes increased responsibility, and we help guide students in making appropriate choices. Our robust advisory program is designed to support each child’s emotional development, navigate social challenges, and help them learn to work together to create a strong community. At the heart of our program is a connection to Jewish values and traditions; an emphasis on respect, collaboration, and a responsibility to the world around them. We develop engaged citizens and learners, teaching them not to just do, but to gain a deep and socially conscious understanding of the world through questioning and analysis.

Towards the end of the middle school experience, students and families are supported through our highly successful high school placement process. All of the components of our rigorous program prepare Rodeph Sholom School students to thrive in a variety of the best New York City high schools.

Warmly,

Eve Andrias
Head of Middle School

Mathematics

Math at Rodeph Sholom School is an exciting student quest for discovery through enriching activities and rigorous discourse, all in an effort to create analytical thinkers and problem solvers who can apply their numeracy to countless situations. The specific curriculum in the Early Childhood Division and the Elementary Division offers lessons geared towards more questioning and deeper thinking that could spur students to become resourceful problem solvers, fostering intellectual curiosity and self-confidence in learners. The Middle School curriculum builds off of that work and catapults students into much higher level thinking using similar modes of exploration and discovery, ultimately preparing students to thrive in high school math departments around the city.

Science

Science at Rodeph Sholom School pulls on students’ natural curiosities and pushes them to think deeply and critically about the physical world around them. Science in the Early Childhood Division is taught by classroom teachers, and science experiences are coordinated with children’s everyday experiences, such as noticing changes in the world around them due to the seasons and their immediate environment. In 1st-8th Grades, science is taught as a separate class by a specialist, which students attend at least once a week. In the Elementary Division, students continue to explore many of the basic and fundamental scientific principles they see in their everyday lives and the natural world. Particular emphasis is given to measuring, graphing, and the fundamentals of conducting a scientific test. Middle School explores three different branches: physical, life, and earth science. Time is spent on each of the following topics: biology, chemistry, physics, earth science, and computer science. Students learn how to collect and analyze data, write a scientific report, and give a formal presentation of their work.

Social Studies / History

The Social Studies and History curriculum at Rodeph Sholom School leads students to understand what it means to be a good neighbor and informed citizen of a larger community.  In Early Childhood, students build foundational skills in by studying and practicing what it means to be part of a classroom community. Students learn to exhibit empathy and practice teamwork skills as they explore several types of communities, including the family, the classroom, and the school, and they encounter the concept that the needs of the community supersede their individual wants. In the Elementary Division, students are introduced to more aspects and skills of social studies, learning the essentials of geography, mapping, economics, and community types. Love of learning shines brightly in these classes as students discuss topics with excitement and deep caring and appreciation for the subject matter. In Middle School, instruction and curriculum is infused with greater nuance and rigor. Students apply their understanding of how community works to specific case studies through a world history curriculum, which also dispels myths and develops an appreciation for multiple perspectives. The ideas of Civil Rights and multiple narratives guide the curriculum as students approach graduation, learning about the modern international world through a study of New Imperialism, the growth of an American Empire, and World Wars I and II.

Language Arts / English

At Rodeph Sholom School, reading, writing and oral expression are taught in conjunction with one another and instruction in Language Arts and English is strongly influenced by our mission; prioritizing challenging, rigorous academics and placing a strong emphasis on values and ethics within the texts presented. As students make their way from grade to grade, the complexity of the texts they interact with becomes more sophisticated and the skills taught become more in-depth and multi-faceted. In Early Childhood, reflection is given to how children can experience complex and thought-provoking texts. Focus is placed on both self-identity and identity within the larger community and much time is spent considering the ways in which students can become activists in their community, and literacy plays a key role in this process. Throughout the school, the curricula for reading, writing, and speaking are all strongly student-centered, prioritizing content and lessons that can engage students where they are now, in terms of interest and skill. The reading curriculum in the Elementary Division utilizes small group instruction paired with a variety of leveled texts, in which children can be challenged and instructed based on their individualized learning styles and needs. And in Middle School, rich discussion and analysis of texts is augmented by individual challenges afforded to each student by thoughtful teachers throughout their English classes. 

 

Romance Language

In Middle School, students take Spanish and French in addition to their Hebrew studies. Our students are able to learn a Romance language quickly because they have developed the skill of language acquisition through their previous Hebrew studies. The Romance language department does an amazing job of not only helping students love the languages they learn, but also the cultures where those languages are spoken.

Jewish Life & Learning

Jewish Life and Learning at Rodeph Sholom School is rooted in tradition, identity, ethics, and critical thinking, and is guided by informed choice, a core principle of Reform Judaism. As such, our students graduate with a strong foundation of Jewish knowledge that enables them to embrace their identity, including their Jewish identity. Jewish Life & Learning is woven into the fabric of the entire school community through the traditions we honor, the values we embrace, and the mitzvot we practice in our personal behavior.

Hebrew Language

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 at Rodeph Sholom School 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.

Jewish Studies

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. 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.

Service Learning

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.

Israel Education

Throughout a student’s journey at Rodeph Sholom School, they learn about the centrality of Israel – both historic and contemporary – to the Jewish people worldwide. Students explore the relationships and connections between the Jewish people and the Land of Israel (Eretz Yisrael) over time and how this relationship is expressed in tefillah, chagim, ritual, and mitzvot. Students learn about the significance of Israel in Judaism and Jewish culture and the sacred place of Israel in Judaism and Jewish peoplehood. Furthermore, they come to understand that there are, and have been, a wide range of relationships between the land, people, and contemporary State of Israel as they consider and reflect on the ways in which they articulate for themselves what their relationship with Israel looks like and how they feel about Israel. 

Israel education at Rodeph Sholom School primarily takes place in Hebrew and Jewish Studies classes as well as part of informal educational programs. Students also learn about Israeli culture and the diversity that comprises the fabric of Israeli society including the various Jewish and non-Jewish groups. Students learn about some of the different ethnic and religious minorities who live in Israel, especially those which students will encounter on the Israel trip. Students learn about Israeli culture, consider historic and contemporary expressions of in Jewish Studies class, and celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day).

In preparation for the Eighth Grade Israel Trip students examine the history, diversity, and culture of the State of Israel from the early 20th century to today. This course dovetails the 8th Grade Jewish Studies curriculum by building on their knowledge of late 19th and early 20th-century Jewish history as it relates to Zionism, the creation of the State of Israel, and its current importance and centrality of Israel in Jewish peoplehood.

8th Grade Israel Trip

The 8th Grade Israel Trip is the capstone experience for our students, bringing together the various curricula, integrating the Jewish story, ethics and values through a real-time, real-life exploration of contemporary Israel and her people. Students encounter Israel as a thriving, Hebrew speaking, Jewish state, appreciate the diversity of Israel and its citizenry, and experience and enjoy Israeli culture, society, and history. Students engage in meaningful service-learning projects while in Israel and meet with Israeli peers. The Israel experience cements their identity as a class and asks them to ponder their responsibilities as Reform Jews when they leave Rodeph Sholom School and go forward to area high schools, and, indeed, the rest of their lives.

Tefillah

Tefillah at Rodeph Sholom School provides a weekly opportunity for individual reflection, communal integration, and experiencing the beauty and logic of Jewish ritual. Our tefillah program provides a vehicle for expressing gratitude, hopes, and dreams of what could be and allows students with the opportunity to connect the self, community, and God. 

Students learn the necessary skills to become active participants in tefillah, take on leadership roles, and feel comfortable and confident expressing their reflections.  Students in Pre-Kindergarten through 8th Grade take part in a weekly Kabbalat Shabbat experience. Kabbalat Shabbat offers students the opportunity to connect the weekly Torah parsha and Jewish values as they reflect on the previous week, look ahead toward Shabbat, and draw connections to current events. 

Holidays

The annual cycle of Jewish holidays anchors the school year. Students experience the cycle of Jewish holidays on both personal and communal levels. In Jewish Studies and Hebrew classes students learn about Jewish holidays, their origins, customs, and traditions, laws and interpretations. Students explore the diversity and commonalities from around the Jewish world, including food, greetings, customs, and rituals. As a community, we celebrate Jewish holidays together. 

Physical Education

The mission of the Physical Education Department is to educate minds, develop healthy bodies, and promote positive attitudes towards lifetime physical activity, fitness, and sports skills. Each student in our PE program is empowered with the knowledge and skills necessary to make responsible lifestyle choices that directly impact his or her health and well-being. Middle School students have the option to participate in three seasons of traditional competitive sports, showcasing and expanding upon skills learned during physical education classes.

Link to Athletics

Visual Arts

Walking through the halls of Rodeph Sholom School it is very apparent that art is central to the student experience at the school. From the earliest ages students are taught the joy and appreciation of art, and as skills and forms are introduced as students get older, their love and appreciation for the craft only grows. Our students’ art goes on full display during an Annual Arts Festival in the Spring, that is a highlight of the year for many students, parents, and teachers.

Music

Music is part of the daily fiber of the Rodeph Sholom School experience. At the youngest ages students experience the joy and wonder of music through Kabbalat Services and other weekly visits from music specialists. As students enter the Elementary Division and move through Middle School they engage in regular music classes learning to hone vocal and instrumental talents. For students who are interested in pursuing instrumental music beyond the school day, we have a robust after school program with a faculty composed of NYC’s top professional musicians from the symphonic and Broadway communities. The school year culminates with an annual Arts Festival featuring all of our school’s performing ensembles.

Technology

Technology at Rodeph Sholom School is integrated into classroom experiences in age-appropriate ways that support our curriculum and promote academic skills. This includes problem-solving, creativity, research, and critical thinking. In keeping with the school’s mission of achrayut, the responsible use of computers and various online literacies are key components of the technology curriculum. iPads are introduced in our younger grades and students in our elementary division transition to the use of Macbooks. In our middle school, we have a one-to-one program which includes receiving a Macbook in 5th Grade to use throughout middle school.

Creation Lab

Our Creation Lab invites budding “makers” to engage in a range of STEM activities. A hub for student-driven projects, it is a space for students to harness their creativity using both high and low-tech materials. Students learn benchmark skills like 3D Design, project prototyping, basic woodworking, programming, and engineering that they can then apply to a variety of co-curricular projects. 

Student Support / Learning Center

We are deeply committed to supporting students N – 8 and offer additional academic support in our Learning Centers. The focus of this work includes skill development, strategy usage, and self advocacy skills.

Social Emotional Learning

Two psychologists and a Wellness Educator/Guidance Counselor work closely with teachers, advisors and Division Heads to ensure that we are being proactive and responsive to students’ social emotional needs.

Health & Wellness

Students engage in Health and Wellness classes in the 4th through 8th Grade. The content of these classes varies depending on the age of the students but, overall, includes social-emotional self-care and decision-making, physical self-care (sleeping, eating and personal hygiene), reproductive anatomy and pregnancy, gender identity and sexual orientation, mental health challenges, and issues related to substance and alcohol use.

Middle School Advisory

The Advisory Program is the centerpiece of the Middle School experience at Rodeph Sholom School. Each student is paired with one advisor in 5th Grade to help them transition into the Middle School and then each student is paired with a new advisor in 6th Grade, who serves as their advisor for the final three years of their Rodeph Sholom School experience. Advisors serve as chief advocates for their students throughout their time in Middle School, constantly consulting with other teachers, parents, and any other people that can help a child grow academically, socially, and emotionally. Because every Middle School teacher serves as an advisor, the Middle School is filled with high quality educators who are not only experts in their subject matter, but also experts in helping middle school students navigate the trials and tribulations of adolescence.

Middle School Trips

5th Grade - Camping Trip
6th Grade - Washington, D.C.
7th Grade - The US South
8th Grade - Israel
5th Grade - Camping Trip

5th Grade - Camping Trip

5th graders attend a fall trip to Frost Valley where they bond as the newest incoming Middle School class and challenge themselves with activities ranging from hiking to rock wall climbing to boating.

High School Placement

Starting in 7th Grade, students and their parents are guided by a team of internal experts, including Delvida Sene, Director of High School Placement, through a student-centric process of finding the right fit high school program. This process, which is student-centric, allows our students at the crucial moment of adolescence to grow agency, self-advocacy, and independence that prepares them for academic and professional life beyond their time at our school.

This process, and the rest of their Rodeph Sholom School experience, enables our graduates to attend some of the finest independent and public schools in the New York City area. We take great pride in our ability to prepare our students for the academic and social challenges of high school, and make every effort to ensure that they are placed in schools where they will continue to grow and flourish.

Most attended Independent High Schools in the last 10 years:

  • The Abraham Joshua Heschel School
  • Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School
  • The Dalton School
  • Dwight-Englewood School
  • Elisabeth Irwin High School (LREI)
  • Ethical Culture Fieldston School
  • Friends Seminary
  • Grace Church School
  • Horace Mann School
  • Riverdale Country School
  • The Spence School
  • Trevor Day School
  • Trinity School

Most attended Public High Schools in the last 10 years:

  • The Bronx High School of Science
  • Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts
  • Stuyvesant High School
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College Matriculation

Our students are able to flourish at their various high schools and make us proud when they go off to incredible colleges and universities around the world. Find out more about our students’ lives beyond their time at Rodeph Sholom School on our Alumni Page.

Most attended Colleges and Universities of graduates in the last 10 years:

  • American University
  • Amherst College
  • Bard College
  • Binghamton University
  • Boston University
  • Bowdoin College
  • Brandeis University
  • Brown University
  • Bucknell University
  • Carleton College
  • Colby College
  • Colgate University
  • Colorado College
  • Columbia University
  • Cornell University
  • Dartmouth College
  • Duke University
  • Durham University
  • Emory University
  • Franklin & Marshall College
  • George Washington University
  • Georgetown University
  • Harvard University
  • Harvey Mudd College
  • Haverford College
  • Indiana University
  • Ithaca College
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • King’s College London
  • Lehigh University
  • Macalester College
  • Maryland University
  • Middlebury College
  • Muhlenberg College
  • New York University
  • Northwestern University
  • Oberlin College
  • Pace University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Sarah Lawrence College
  • Skidmore College
  • St. John’s University
  • Stanford University
  • Swarthmore College
  • Syracuse University
  • Tufts University
  • Tulane University
  • University of Chicago
  • University of Delaware
  • University of Illinois
  • University of Massachusetts
  • University of Miami
  • University of Michigan
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Rochester
  • University of Southern California
  • University of St. Andrews Scotland
  • University of Wisconsin
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Vassar College
  • Wake Forest University
  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Wesleyan University
  • Williams College
  • Yale University
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