Melanie Gerard and her husband, Michael, have three children at Schechter: David (Grade 8), Ari (Grade 7) and Maya (Grade 2). We asked Melanie’s a few questions about her family’s experiences:
What do you love most about Schechter?
There isn’t one single thing I love about Schechter; rather, many complex layers that make the school a very special place for my kids to grow and learn: strong curriculum; fantastic faculty and staff; a nurturing environment; diverse Jewish community; and terrific enrichment and afterschool programs.
Why did you choose Schechter for your children?
We chose Schechter because of the strong Judaic curriculum combined with stellar secular academics that prepare our children for the rigors of high school with the added bonus of a strong Jewish foundation that they will carry with them for life. Schechter is small enough to make sure my children personally succeed and also large enough to feel my children have choices both academically and socially.
In what ways have you seen your child grow and develop as a result of their experiences at Schechter?
They grow leaps and bounds every year and surpass my expectations every year both in the context of their studies and the values/morals Schechter teaches them.
We recently hosted Israeli students from Schechter’s partner school in Haifa, the Reali School. This is part of Schechter’s 8th-grade Israel Study Tour. Reali students visit us in the fall and our kids go to Israel right before Passover. The experience of hosting Israeli peers and the connections our two schools made were instantaneous and beyond my expectations. Everything is in Hebrew and for the first time, my son told me he was “thinking in Hebrew”! I feel as if if this experience made my 8th-grade son more confident and independent. He can’t wait to go to Israel in March.
What would you tell other parents to encourage them to consider enrolling their child at Schechter?
It’s not just about the Judaics, but it’s a bonus that our kids come out of this program with ethics, values and a stronger sense of moral upbringing that is supported throughout the curriculum in a way that public schools simply aren’t allowed to teach (by nature of separation of church/state). By sending kids to Schechter, parents can give their children the opportunity to experience adolescence in a “safer zone” when compared to public schools – that our staff, the teachers and the kids are all in it together, to raise confident Jews that care and nurture each other.