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Our Faculty, By Chaim Heller, Head of School

Our Faculty

Independent School Management (ISM) is considered the gold standard for data-driven best practices in private and independent schools throughout the United States. Research leads ISM to say that the best predictor of overall student success at school is faculty culture. These are some of the twenty topics that the ISM Faculty Culture Survey reviews:

 Our faculty:

  • find ways to make it obvious to all students that we wish them success every day, both in school and outside of school
  • find ways to make it obvious to all students that we want them to become better, more virtuous people
  • set clearly articulated standards for student academic performance
  • set reasonable, defensible standards for student behavior
  • are continually alert to displays of unkindness among students in our efforts to ensure a safe physical and emotional environment for all
  • conduct ourselves in confrontations with students in ways that leave students’ dignity intact, regardless of the nature of the issue or infraction
  • individually and collectively demonstrate believably high levels of enthusiasm for teaching/learning and for the content of our studies
  • demonstrate through words and actions a genuine, believable commitment to the school, its purposes, its leadership, and each other
  • are glad to arrive at school and to see our students every day
  • create predictable tests (not to be confused either with simple tests or with easy tests); our students can rely on the test preparation we offer them.

There are many more survey items; too many to mention here.

In 2015-16, our school scored above the independent school mean in 13 out of 20 items and while we were satisfied with the results, we were determined to raise the scores across the board.

In the most recent survey of SDJA, held this winter, our preschool – 12th grade faculty scored above the independent school mean in every one of the 20 categories, a dramatic improvement from the previous year and the highest the school has scored in recent memory.

As we know, not everything that matters can be measured. But some things can be measured, and the faculty culture at SDJA is one of them. We are proud to share our results with you, as they directly correlate to student achievement and satisfaction.

See you on Wednesday,


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