Testimonials

Read what people are saying about OJCS...

Strong Identities as Jewish Canadians

Having two children who attended Hillel Academy [now OJCS] we are still amazed at how much knowledge they received on the history of Judaism, Hebrew linguistics and a love of Israeli song and dance.  Thanks to the diverse backgrounds of the faculty they received excellent schooling in both English, and French, along with their Jewish studies, of which we as parents are still very proud.  But most importantly are the long lasting friendships and strong identities as responsible, Jewish Canadians both our children developed during their time at school.

Yanda, parent

The curriculum is fantastic

We are so happy we made the choice to send our child to OJCS! The staff truly cares about each and every child in the school and will bend over backwards if there is any issue, big or small. The curriculum is fantastic and I love that they balance education with community involvement and Tikkun Olam. Our child is thriving at OJCS and I look forward to our younger child joining the OJCS family (and it truly is a family!) next year.

Tamara, parent

The Right Decision

Such a great siddur party!  It really showed what the kids are learning and showed me how much more self-confidence my daughter has and how much she's blossomed this year. I can't imagine her a year ago speaking the opening line in front of strangers; but she did it today so easily. We knew that switching schools was the right decision.  But now we've seen first-hand just how much of a difference OJCS has made in her.  Kol hakavod!

Yael, parent

A Team of Professionals

We went to the Louvre while we were in Paris.  We booked a family scavenger hunt tour of the Louvre to ensure that the kids were engaged in seeing the exhibits.  However, we only made it through 2 exhibits using the scavenger hunt, before it became clear that the children...were much too interested in the exhibits and history to pay attention to the scavenger hunt.  When we reached the Greek and Roman God/Goddess statue exhibits [the kids] immediately started identifying the statues by sight and talking about the roles and stories of each God/Goddess.  The tour guide asked how they knew all of this information and they told him that they had "learned it in school!".  Shortly thereafter another museum visitor was passing by and heard the children describing their knowledge.  She stopped to ask if the children lived in France and attended a school in Paris, as she was shocked to see such young children with a breadth of knowledge on Greek and Roman mythology.  We told her we were from Canada and that our children go to a "very good school. 

Thanks for being a team of professionals who make moments like this possible.  😉

Leanna, parent

OJCS is clearly meeting his needs

My priority with respect to a good school fit for my son has more to do with the character of the school (its warmth and respect for children and families) than with the academics. I wanted the option to provide my son with a fluent bilingual education. But his emotional well-being came first. And so OJCS was "on the table" this past fall, as an option I felt we needed to explore.

My son rated his happiness last year (at his previous school) as a 2/10. In the fall of 2019, with a new teacher, his satisfaction was rated 5/10. I told my son I thought he deserved to enjoy school more than 5/10, and wanted him to see some options. He told me “There’s no use mom, I’m just a kid who doesn’t like school”. I felt very sad and hoped to prove him wrong.  My son had a trial day at another private school which offered him the opportunity to achieve full bilingualism, and it was abundantly clear that this was not a good fit. By contrast, it was obvious that he truly enjoyed himself at his two brief trials at OJCS.  OJCS's teachers and curriculum, of their own accord, had a lot to do with his enjoyment, but I credit Jennifer G. for making his trial an over the top success.  She showed compassion and flexibility to accommodate some requests that would help my son feel at ease during his OJCS trial, as a child who is painfully shy in new situations.  At my request, she helped put me in contact with a few families of children in the class where my son would be placed; this allowed him to be surrounded by a few familiar faces on his trial, dramatically reducing his nervousness. Changing schools can be very nerve wracking.  However Jennifer put my son and me at ease; she was so warm and welcoming, and made sure to introduce us to lots of people at the school on our tour.  OJCS could not have a better person working in admissions.

No place is perfect and I think that my experiences with the education system have taught me that there will be variation teacher to teacher, and even group cohort to group cohort in schools, affecting how happy a child will be. I truly don’t think any school can be everything to everybody, but I really like the direction that I see OJCS is moving in. In the OJCS Blog, I learned that staff spent their PD day receiving training related to UPLS (unsolved problems and lagging skills), which is part of the collaborative problem-solving approach that I think is an incredibly important and valuable way in dealing with behavioural challenges with children. I was also impressed with the school's promotion of their 7 habits, which are beautiful guiding principals and values.

One week after my son started OJCS, in Nov 2019, I asked him for his rating of his new school; he told me OJCS scored 7/10. My sadness over how he felt about school in the past has since faded. I suspect that as his friendships and bonds at OJCS deepen, this number is likely to keep climbing. This is a big relief to me as OJCS is clearly meeting his needs much better than they have been met elsewhere. I asked my son what was most challenging about his transition, in his first week. He mentioned that Hebrew and French were hardest for him, but when I asked him to tell me his favourite parts of his day, he surprised me stating Hebrew and French “because they were fun”! He has not said anything has been fun academically at school since kindergarten. His typical response to this question in the past would previously have been "recess". In one month’s time, my son learned to read in Hebrew (a new skill) and in his second month he has come home singing in Hebrew, and surprising me with little unexpected Jewish and Hebrew tidbits, frequently responding to me saying “ken” instead of “yes”.

My son recently had testing - and apparently missed the OCDSB school board’s criteria for giftedness by a hair - which means that he was probably often bored at his previous school. This did seem to have some impact on his behaviour and my son was frequently socializing (and distracting others) due to boredom, which at times frustrated his teacher. Two months into OJCS, my son is engaged and has apparently been a teacher’s dream. I have not had the pleasure to see his teachers in action but I think it has everything to do with how they teach. Right when my son entered OJCS, the school has been open and interested in knowing about his learning strengths and needs. It is early days yet, but my suspicion is that he is much more likely to get the enrichment he needs academically with the small class size, and with the school's openness to meet individual needs.

OJCS is not the road we initially thought we would take for our son, but we have been very pleased with our decision! 

Sandi, parent

OJCS was like a second home

OJCS was like a second home providing a safe and stable environment for my child’s learning and development. Through excellent learning opportunities in three languages (English, French and Hebrew), highly trained educators, state of the art technology and small class sizes, OJCS continued to exceed my expectations and prepared my child for high school and beyond. In addition to a high quality education,  my child was shown the warmth of our diverse Jewish Community and his role in continuing to develop his place as a Jewish Leader and community member. 

Nikki, parent

A warm and haimish place to learn and grow up

A warm and haimish place to learn and grow up. It is at Hillel Academy and from my teachers that I fell in love with Israel and the Hebrew language. My trilingual education helped make me what I am today.

Nomi, alumna

Great School

Great school.  Very happy as a first year parent.

Howard, parent

So Fortunate

We are so fortunate that we found OJCS for our son! Although he was coming in as a brand new 7th grader with no prior day school experience, he was welcomed with open arms from the day of our tour. He blossomed at OJCS, individually, academically, and in his Jewish identity. The teachers quickly got to know him, encouraging his strengths and raising him up where needed. The school challenges its students while at the same time supporting them - a difficult balance that they do very well. Our son quickly bonded with his classmates, and we think they'll remain friends for a long time. He loved OJCS, and he'd definitely be there for 8th grade if it weren't for our move out of the area

Reva, parent

A wonderful place on so many levels

OJCS is a wonderful place on so many levels. As a former OJCS teacher, the current PTA president and an OJCS parent, I have an unique perspective on the school. Over the last couple years I have watched the school go through an amazing transformation. When you walk through the halls the excitement for learning, from both the students and the teachers, is almost palpable. There is a sense of family and ruach that resonates through the halls. Every morning my children and I discuss what they are most excited about that day and every day I have to limit the list because otherwise we would not have time for everyone to share. I feel very fortunate to part of the OJCS family and am proud to say that my children are OJCS students.

Eliana, parent

We have the staff of OJCS to thank

Thank you for taking those extra steps to help our family feel so welcome in the school community. As you may know, moving schools (and cities) is challenging, and the children have been going through the emotional ups and downs of leaving familiar friendships (and routines) while encountering new faces and a new school culture. The transition has gone fairly well, and we have the staff of OJCS to thank. Particularly, you [Jenn] and Ellie have really made an impression on all of us - your warmth, kindness, and welcoming dispositions are very much appreciated! Thank you!


By and large, the children have had a deeply positive experience thus far, and are (for the most part) adjusting. As a parent, I have been very impressed by the level of vulnerability expressed by teachers and staff in public forums, such as blogs and online posts. In leadership, vulnerability reflects both authenticity and responsibility, and allows for others to actively live out their own process of learning, i.e., theorizing, making mistakes, making adjustments, and succeeding. As a parent, and community member, I am struck - indeed, humbled, by the level of transparency and willingness by members of the OJCS team to own their learning journeys (as learners, teachers, and community members). It is an excellent example, one which I am thrilled to see modelled at the elementary school level. 

Anne, parent

The Right Choice

I feel the best gift Jewish parents can give their children is the gift of Jewish education. Times are tough, but I know I will not regret the investment I have made in my children's future. OJCS offers my children the best possible education.  My children learn about their heritage in a nurturing environment while still getting the highest quality secular education. OJCS was the right choice for our family.

Dr. Mira, parent

The importance of growing up with a Jewish education

I have always attributed my personal connection with the Jewish community to my 11 years at OJCS.  As a graduate of Hillel Academy [now OJCS], I value the importance of growing up with a Jewish education and being in a Jewish environment. As a brand new teacher, I had many different career paths available; the public school board, a private school, and of course a Jewish day school. Being in OJCS on Yom Ha'atzmaut is what lit up the only path that I was interested in pursuing. Seeing the students' ruach and watching them celebrate Israel's independence reminded me why I love Jewish education and why I feel Jewish education is the greatest gift we can give our children. I feel blessed and honoured to have the opportunity to teach the future leaders of our community!

Lianna, alumna and current faculty member

We could not imagine a better environment

I am a parent of three children who are students at OJCS.  Our kids have all thrived at school academically and socially.  As parents we love the community that they get to be a part of and the small class sizes that allow learning to be tailored to their needs. Our recent trip to Israel showed us how connected they feel to the country, the language and the history of our culture.  We could not imagine a better environment for them to grown up in.

 

Joanne, parent

We chose OJCS

We chose OJCS because we want our girls to receive a challenging and meaningful education grounded in Jewish values and immersed in community. OJCS provides the important and necessary tools for our children’s future success while fostering long-lasting relationships

Leila, parent

Enrolling your child at Ottawa Jewish Community School is one of the best decisions you will ever make for their future.  Contact us today for enrolment opportunities.