Getting to Gesher is easier than you think
Last week I wrote about making the shift in thinking that many families require in order to consider sending a child to Jewish Day School. The next step for many who live in NoVA is: How the heck am I going to get them there?
Anyone living in the DMV has to take transportation and logistics into account when making decisions about where to live, work, and educate children (not to mention coordinating after-school activities, play-dates, etc.). If your family is juggling two careers as well as child schedules, then the calendars and planning may require a management consultant to create and maintain. So are you supposed to hire an MBA to help you figure out how to get your kids to and from Gesher each day?
Luckily, we’ve got your back with excellent transportation service, and we are working on hard on improving our existing options. Our school serves an unusually large geographic area, with families residing in Ashburn, Fairfax, McLean, Reston, Vienna, Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church, Burke and beyond. Each year we revisit our routes in order to offer a safe, reliable ride to and from school that parents can trust, and that won’t have your child sitting in traffic for more than 35 minutes maximum each way. We also work with BusWhere, a GPS tracking and communication app for schools and parents, to make sure that our parents know when the bus is coming, when it gets to school, and if there are any changes relating to weather, etc. With stops in each of the regions mentioned above, our goal is that you are never more than a 10 minute drive from a drop-off/pick-up point.
Wait, what about the neighborhood kids? Won’t my child miss out on friendships down the street if they don’t go to the local school like their neighbors? In our experience, probably not! Many students at Gesher find opportunities to spend time with children their age in sports leagues or after-school activities, and of course if they live on your street, you only have to go outside to meet and play (kids are really good at this, generally speaking). What you gain at Gesher is a strong community network of families from around the entire region, and while yes, you may have to drive to play-dates more often, the warmth and support of our community is one of the most often-cited reasons that our families offer when they talk about how much they love our school.
Students who ride our buses (vans, really) also benefit from a unique opportunity to connect on a daily basis with students of different ages and grades (JK-8). The culture is so sweet – older students take on the role of caring for younger riders. We watch our buses pull up to school each day and smile as the 6th-8th graders help the 5 year old’s take the big step down to the curb, then help them gather their belongings and put on their backpacks to walk into to school. This kind of relationship is hard to create in many schools, and is healthy for both the older and the younger children. These mini-communities are outstanding examples of the ethos that is palpable throughout the school – we take responsibility for one another, we care for one another, and we seize each and every opportunity to step up ethically and lead.
I can’t tell you how many times we have hosted guests who enter the school for the first time after driving here from one of the regions referenced above and who enter saying, “Wow! I had no idea how reasonable that ride really is!” We encourage you to see for yourself – join us for a community event or schedule a tour, and don’t let the perception of challenging logistics rule out the truly outstanding education waiting just down the road for your child!