Online School in a Jewish Building

June 3, 2009

Source: LA Jewish Journal


In order to help meet the day school tuition crisis faced by parents and community, the author has been working on an alternative model for high school: a hybrid institution that allows students greater individuality in their program, offers more classes, and is less expensive. This hybrid model combines day school culture, online charter school classes, and online and traditional Judaic Studies classes, all within a brick-and-mortar building where students would socialize, interact and work together. He hopes to open such a school in Los Angeles by fall 2010.


At the planned school, students would take both online classes and traditional, teacher-taught classes. They would begin their day with prayer and also have mentor meetings to check in individually and in small groups with the staff, club hours for extracurricular activities, and school forums with guest speakers or group discussions. Students would take classes that meet California standards in math, science, English, social studies and foreign language, as well as courses in rabbinic literature, Bible, Jewish history and philosophy. Some Judaic studies are available online, and others would be taught by a teacher, and include collaborative hevruta time.


Because the hybrid institution is not a public school, the culture of the institution could be Jewish, with celebrations of Jewish events and holidays, religious services and breaks for Jewish holidays. Since the institution remains a private organization it may be selective in its admissions criteria.


Although this model is not free, the author estimates that it could save families up to $10,000 per student each year — nearly 40 percent. With moderate fundraising it would be possible to give scholarships that lower tuition to $10,000, a level that organizations such as the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education and the Bureau of Jewish Education suggest as a significant marker for many families choosing between day school and public school. The significant savings comes from the need for fewer staff, and the fact that all general studies requirements are paid for by the state, including the computer, printer and Internet access required for students to do their work.

Updated: Jun. 09, 2009