Frequently Asked Questions

8:30 am to 3:30 pm (extended care available, please see below) During daylight savings hours, dismissal is at 2:45 pm on Fridays only.

Yes, childcare options are available Monday through Friday from 7:30 am until 6:00 pm.  For after school, our program offers a broad choice of enrichment classes through our Melnick After-School Program (MAP), plenty of active group play choices, and supervised homework, library and computer time.

Student to teacher ratio is 8:1. Research reveals what teachers and parents intuitively know: class size does matter. Excellent student-teacher ratios lead to deeper, more meaningful learning experiences and higher student achievement. As a result, our teachers develop a strong relationship with each student and are able to build on their individual strengths.

It’s true that there is a cost associated with independent schools. Some parents feel they can’t afford to send their children. Parents who have chosen Gesher JDS feel they can’t afford NOT to. Consider these facts:

  • Independent schools maintain excellent student-teacher ratios, so students have opportunities to work individually with teachers and to be challenged to the level of their ability.
  • Independent school students generally perform better than their public school counterparts on standardized achievement tests. At Gesher JDS, students routinely score above the 90th percentile on standardized tests when compared with students at public schools.
  • Independent schools have more freedom in designing curriculum and instruction than their public school counterparts. At Gesher JDS, students typically exceed Virginia standards by at least a grade level in all curricular areas.
  • Jewish Day Schools maintain three basic tenets: the study and familiarity of Jewish texts, the study and use of Hebrew language, and a connection with the land and people of Israel.
  • Between the ages of 5-13, a person’s value system and sense of religious identity are most fully developed. Studies show that day school graduates express an extraordinary sense of responsibility towards influencing social values, helping those in need and affecting social change. With nurturing and the advantages that come from being part of a community, Gesher JDS fosters the development of a firm Jewish identity and a strong moral compass.

Jewish Day Schools are diverse. Families at Gesher JDS include those of all Jewish observances and inter-faith households. Also, our students come from various socio-economic backgrounds and nationalities. We address diversity implicitly through our curriculum and advocacy programs. What’s more, research shows that Jewish Day School students enter the world comfortable with their own heritage, providing them with the confidence to engage with other people and places.

Roughly 15% of our graduates attend Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology. Another 15% attend private Jewish high school in Maryland or Jewish boarding school.  The majority of our graduates attend their local public high school.

We welcome children into the Gesher community who have limited or no Hebrew language instruction. Gesher will pair up new students with a Hebrew teacher to catch up to grade level.

At Gesher JDS, Jewish traditions are celebrated every day with purpose and joy. We are here to provide students with knowledge and understanding, and we respect each family’s right to choose how Judaism is practiced at home. We fully honor the diversity of religious practice within the Northern Virginia Jewish community and the unique customs of each congregation.

All children come for a visit as part of the application process. Children applying for Kindergarten will be scheduled for a screening and a visit. Older children (first grade and up) will come for a partial or full day visit to a Gesher classroom at their current grade level. Screenings and visits are scheduled once the application and application fee are received.

Gesher JDS exceeds the national school lunch program with respect to nutritional guidelines and style of food service with our kosher Gesher Fresh program. Nutrition and wellness are among our highest priorities and we plan menus accordingly. In addition to daily hot entree options, fresh fruit and vegetables are always available, as well as an inviting salad bar.

Our kosher guidelines seek to create an environment where all of our families are comfortable eating together. In order to include all children and families in school-wide programs such as birthdays, holiday celebrations, or class events, food brought into the classrooms must be prepared in the school’s kitchen or have a Rabbinical kosher certification on the label.  Please contact the school office if you have any questions regarding kashrut.

Gesher JDS is accredited by VAIS, the Virginia Association of Independent Schools.  Gesher JDS is also a member of Prizmah and is a partner agency of The Jewish Federation of Greater Washington.