Jewish Community High School of the Bay
San Francisco, CA
I am interested in recent reviews for Jewish Community High School of the Bay in San Francisco. My son will be entering 9th grade next Fall & is very interested in learning more about JCHS from current students or recent grads. Additionally, my husband & I would be interested to hear from parents regarding the pros & cons of having their child in this seemingly wonderful school. Also, we live in the Oakland Hills, so anything we can learn about the commute experience would be helpful.
We have had three kids attend Jewish Community High School and they all loved the school. We live in Berkeley so they commuted from the East Bay on BART and Muni every day. They leave at about 7 in the morning and it takes about an hour to get to school. They had many friends who commuted in from Oakland.
One of our kids will be graduating from the joint Columbia University/Jewish Theological Seminary program this year, one is a pre-med/Theater major at CASE and our third is a Senior at JCHS this year hoping to attend MIT. Our fourth child is a 7th grader who also plans to attend JCHS.
They all thrived in the supportive culture at JCHS. Not only is the faculty and staff totally available but the students support and take care of each other.
Our two older kids took advantage of the truly outstanding theater program at JCHS. The Director of the program, Dylan Russel is a theater professional who, in her off time, has been working at Berkeley Rep. She is a demanding but incredibly supportive teacher who provides the opportunity for all students to participate. Students have the opportunity to perform, work crew, write plays and direct. The performances are wonderful. In my daughter's senior year, the whole cast of ''The Metamorphosis'' went to Scotland to perform in the Fringe Festival. One of my son's fellow students who took the playwriting class ended up writing for a professional troupe last year.
Our current JCHS student is very interested in Math and Science - and JCHS provides a curriculum that meets his needs. He is currently studying second Year Calculus, AP Chemistry and Advanced Computer Science. He took AP Physics last year and thanks to the outstanding program scored a 5 on the AP exam and a 5 on the AP Calculus Exam as well as getting an 800 on the math SAT. (btw,I say these things about my kids in order to demonstrate the quality of JCHS academics not to brag:))
The AP History, English and Jewish Studies programs are all also outstanding but I realize my post is getting long. If you would like any more info, please feel free to contact me. Daniel
My daughter graduated from JCHS last year (2013.) She had a great experience there. We are a secular family, so the Hebrew and all the Jewish Studies were new for her, but it worked out well, she engaged with the material. It also gave her a deep connection to her Jewish roots and the Jewish community. We found the community very welcoming, and also enjoyed the connection.
She commuted by Transbay bus and the 38 Geary. The commute made her more independent, she coped really well with it. When she stayed late at school for theater, someone was always able to give her a ride to bart. It took her about 2 days to adjust to the commute. It was hard getting up early, though. We had to get her to the bus stop by 7:00 a.m.
I liked also that the school was very committed to community service, and always had their emphasis in helping to make the world a better place. The faculty are great role models. We feel she was well prepared for her challenging college. There is also an excellent college counselor, he couldn't have been more kind and supportive. Our daughter had opportunities for leadership that she may not have had at a larger school, and she made wonderful friendships.
The school is a jewel. Best, Stephanie
My kids went to Brandeis Hillel DS in San Francisco, so I know plenty about this school. It is wonderful with some caveats.
First- and the worst of them- it is tiny. Fifty or so kids per grade: does your kid want to be that close to the same people for four years ? This is the main reason perhaps that many Brandeis students don't go there.
Second: it's an excellent school with a nice building, a beautiful library with an art gallery, and great school spirit. You might drown in the hamische good feelings but you won't feel lonely.
Third: commuting from the Oakland Hills ? Regardless of the other two factors, I seriously question doing this unless perhaps a parent works in SF and it's coordinated. SF Mommy.
I am responding to SFMommy who thinks the commute from the Oakland Hills to JCSH is a deal killer. As the mom of a girl who actually did the daily commute, I can tell you that it was not an issue at all. It was my experience that people who live in San Francisco don't want to come to the east bay, especially to Oakland. My daughter made friends with several SF kids, and they didn't want to meet her in Oakland, so she often socialized with them in SF. They finally came here to go to IKEA! They had never been there, and they loved it. Stephanie