Middle School 5-8 Questions & Answers

How does KSMS make it possible for students from secular K–5 elementary schools to enter in Sixth Grade?

KSMS offers a bridge program for students which provides them with small group instruction in Hebrew and and Judaic studies. Students attend general studies classes with the rest of the grade. New students are welcomed with open arms by their classmates and by 8th grade graduation are indistinguishable from their peers. Our school invites families through 8th Grade to apply for admission.

How does KSMS prepare students for grades 9–12? Is there a counselor who helps with testing arrangements and high school applications?

KSDS works with each student and family as they move towards the transition to high school. The curriculum is structured to give students a strong foundation for success. KSDS graduates have a history of a high acceptance rates at Jewish day schools, independent high schools and magnet high schools in the Baltimore area.

Our high school admissions counselor assists Grade 8 students and their families in the high school application process. Students and parents receive a general orientation to the process and then meet individually with the counselor to discuss the student’s high school options. KSDS also hosts an annual high school fair, where student and their parents have the opportunity to meet with admissions staff from a variety of schools in the greater Baltimore area. Students work with the high school admissions counselor to prepare for visits to high schools and interviews. Students also receive coaching and information regarding the taking of the ISEE.

Who pays for the Grade 8 Israel trip and other overnight field trips? Is the cost rolled into the tuition or is it extra?

The Grade 8 Israel trip is an important part of the KSDS student experience. The cost of the trip is separate from tuition. Community and school-based scholarships are available to defray the cost of the trip. Half of the funds collected through the grade’s Schneider Fund go to reduce the overall cost of the trip to each family.

Does KSMS tutor students for their bar or bat mitzvahs?

While the faculty of KSMS does not directly tutor bar and bat mitzvah students, the Hebrew and Judaics programs are fantastic preparation. Students learn Torah trope as part of the Grade 5 Judaics curriculum and have frequent opportunities in each grade to improve their Torah reading abilities.

Can KSMS students celebrate their bar or bat mitzvahs at ChizukAmuno even if they are not members of the synagogue?

The b’nei mitzvah at CAC are reserved for children of families who have been members of the synagogue for at least three years prior to the event. Contact the synagogue office for more information on arranging a bar or bat mitzvah at CAC. You may also want to visit the CAC Membership page to read about all the benefits of membership.

How will my child be able to balance a dual curriculum and still have time to participate in extra-curricular activities?

KSMS students fully particiapte in the same range and depth of extra-curricular activities as their peers from other local schools.  Part of our mission is to instill the time management and study skills that are essential to being a good student. That means teaching students to balance their academic work, electives and enrichment activities. We offer academic support to assist students. We monitor students’ workloads. We have a coordinated testing calendar to make sure that students aren’t overwhelmed. Long-term assignments are benchmarked, so students have mini deadlines to keep things moving. We offer after-school athletics that work in coordination with the students’ academic schedules.

How does the school maintain a high standard of education in general studies when the school day includes time for Judaics and Hebrew classes?

Our program builds critical thinking and analytical skills across the curriculum, in general studies, Hebrew and Judaics. Close readings of Hebrew texts enhances reading comprehension in English. Problem solving and creativity are also emphasized throughout the curriculum.The bilingual Hebrew-English curriculum gives students a deep understanding of the structure of language that is only enhanced by the addition of Spanish in Grades 7 and 8. This emphasis allows KSMS to offer excellent preparation for even the most challenging high school programs.

How are students grouped for academic classes?

Middle School classes for Hebrew and Math are homogeneously placed based on ability and achievement. We look at a combination of classroom performance, performance on standardized tests and teacher recommendations and place students based on these criteria. These placements are not necessarily permanent. Our goal is for students to be challenged but not intimidated by their studies. Outside of math and Hebrew, academic classes are purposely placed in heterogeneous groups. Thought is given to the dynamics of the class as well as the learning styles of the students. Over the course of middle school your child will be grouped with everyone in his or her grade.

What’s the average class size?

Average class size is 14-17 students, but class sizes vary by subject. A specific class might divide the grade into two, three or four smaller groups. Classes are small to ensure individualized attention and instruction.