As we look forward to the start of school, we are excited to welcome all Senesh students into
the building full time. Once again we are in a strong place to open school in a way that we can
keep everyone safe and continue to offer a meaningful and rich program that reflects our
mission, vision, and values.
If you would like a PDF version of our handbook, you may download a copy here.
As we adapt to new ways of operating during a pandemic, we hold steadfast to our school’s values, vision, and mission including a commitment to equity in our community.
We envision a world shaped by Senesh alumni who lead with a strong sense of self, a connection to community, and a commitment to doing good in the world.
Rooted in Jewish values and wisdom, we foster a love of learning guided by intellectual curiosity and social responsibility in a vibrant and inclusive K-8 independent school community.
Our values, which are deeply rooted in Jewish teachings, guide us in all that we do at Senesh.
Kindness – Chesed – חסד
We treat each other with respect and act with compassion and empathy.
Openness – Elu v’Elu – אלו ואלו
We seek to understand and welcome diverse ideas and perspectives.
Belonging – Shayachut – שייכות
We create a culture that honors the dignity and self worth of each person.
Responsibility – Areivut – ערבות
We support the well-being of others in our community and the world around us.
Perseverance – Hatmadah – התמדה
We approach learning as a continuous journey and persist through challenges.
School Hours for 2023-24:
Due to earlier Shabbat candle lighting times, Friday dismissals between
November 10, 2023 and February 2, 2024 occur at 1:30pm.
Senesh will work to identify any children at-risk of becoming chronically absent
due to sickness, family situation, or other circumstances by reaching out to
families and providing educational support services that include:
To address chronic absenteeism, we will use phone, email, and even
physically-distant in-person meetings to engage and converse with family
members and students who are experiencing difficulty.
If an allegation of educational neglect is warranted due to a custodial parent or
guardian failing to ensure a child’s prompt and regular attendance in school or
keeps the child out of school for impermissible reasons; social services may be
Lunch and Snack Protocols
Kashrut (Jewish Dietary Laws) and Other Food Guidelines
The Parent-School partnership is an important part of a child’s experience at Senesh and
is essential to building a strong community.
Our School’s Jewish values guide all that we do, including communications between
parents and staff. Together, we should aspire to communicate with:
As we embark on the year together, we hope the following guidelines will help facilitate
parent-school communications that are driven by these values.
Successful partnerships are built on open, regular, and clear communication. Following is a list
of the many ways that Senesh communicates with parents.
Small classes and regular communication with families through emails, our blog updates,
parent-teacher conferences, Back to School Night, parent meetings, and social media updates
cultivate a sense of trust and community. Below are just some of the ways staff connect with
Parent involvement is an important part of the Senesh community. Here are just some ways to
get involved at Senesh:
Parent Association (PA)
As a Senesh parent you are automatically a member of the Parent Association (PA). The PA
develops programs, activities, events, and volunteer opportunities that strengthen our bond with
each other and our school. You are invited to attend PA meetings to help build a stronger
community. Join the PA to:
Parent Diversity, Belonging, and Community Committee
All parents are encouraged and welcome to join the committee that strives to:
There are many ways for parents to get involved in our effort to help advance the school. Join
us in sharing our school’s story and creating opportunities to engage parents, grandparents,
alumni, alumni parents and friends of Senesh.
The cost of educating a Hannah Senesh student is not covered in full by tuition. Approximately
85% of the school’s income comes from tuition and the other 15% needs to be raised. The
school depends on fundraising efforts to retain our excellent staff, sustain our commitment to
diversity, enhance our school program, and ensure we are keeping our community safe and
healthy. We hope that parents, alumni families, grandparents, extended family members, and friends will participate in Senesh fundraising activities, which will ensure our growth as a unique
Jewish educational community. Email Director of Development Karen Stein
email@example.com to get involved.
You can also help expand our community by becoming an admissions ambassador and attend
events to engage prospective parents, make outreach calls, or become a buddy family and help
welcome new families to the school. Contact Director of Enrollment Dana Goldberg at
Visitors to the school building are greeted by a security guard and all non-parent/caregiver visitors are required to sign in and wear a guest name tag. Senesh follows comprehensive school safety and crisis management policies. Faculty and staff are trained in how to respond to emergencies, and drills are conducted regularly to prepare students for a variety of emergency situations.
In case of an emergency, please do not call the main office as our lines need to be open for emergency personnel to reach the school. The school will communicate with parents via email or text as soon as possible. Please be mindful that the student’s immediate safety is our priority.
A central alarm system is utilized for fire and emergency drills. All students and staff in the building participate in ten orderly evacuation and lockdown drills. In the event of an evacuation emergency, students would be escorted to Mary McDowell Friends School at 133-135 Summit Street.
Parents are expected to review these policies for community wellbeing with their child to ensure they are understood. Questions about what is laid out here should be brought to the Head of School or Division Directors.
It is important that school be an environment which is emotionally and physically healthy for all students and staff. In order to foster such an environment, negative acts of a violent, physical, verbal, or emotional nature will be treated seriously . This includes identity based harm and harm that is adult to student, student to student, and student to adult.
During the school day, students are expected to live the value of Shayachut/Belonging by engaging in behaviors and using language which promote feelings of inclusivity and wellness and belonging.
In the event students act or speak in a manner that includes making disparaging comments about or singling out a student based on that individual’s race, ethnicity, gender, or other social identities—Senesh staff will follow a school wide protocol shared below to investigate and respond to the incident.
Examples include, but are not limited to:
Behaviors not aligned with our school values:
Additional examples of unacceptable behaviors include, but are not limited to the list below. Students may also be disciplined for common sense violations or violations of school community values other than those enumerated below.
Physical and verbal aggression, the use of abusive language, hazing, bullying, and harassment of any kind are harmful and not accepted. This policy applies not only at school and school sponsored or affiliated trips and events, but also to certain conduct that occurs outside of school and in cyberspace. The school reserves the right to discipline those in the school community who engage in harassment/bullying of other school community members at any location and at any time if such harassment/bullying causes a substantial disruption to the school community at the discretion of the school.
Harassment/bullying is the creation of a hostile environment by conduct or by threats, intimidation or abuse, including cyberbullying, that either:
Bullying behavior can include, but is not limited to, the following:
Bullying/harassment includes sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a specific abusive behavior that involves unwanted and unwelcome sexual attention. A behavior is considered sexual harassment on the basis of the target’s perception of “unwelcome” sexual behavior; in other words, it is defined by the impact of the action rather than the intentions of the harasser(s). Sexual harassment also includes any unwelcome behaviors which create a hostile or intimidating learning environment.
Harassment may include, but is not limited to, the following:
Other examples of the type of behavior that may constitute sexual harassment include:
The above lists are not all inclusive. Other unwelcome acts of an offensive nature may also constitute sexual harassment/bullying. Sexual harassment can occur between individuals of different genders or individuals of the same gender.
Procedures for Reporting and Responding to Behaviors of Bias, Bullying, and Harassment:
Adults in the community are prepared and committed to engaging in a process to listen, understand what transpired, and respond with the appropriate resources and actions.
As a school with children between the ages of four and 14, we seek to support students with interventions, restoration, and disciplinary action where appropriate, holding students accountable and simultaneously helping students learn from their mistakes. The response to misconduct is dependent on the student’s age, the student’s prior misconduct, the number of prior instances of misconduct, the nature, severity and scope of the behavior. Discipline may include, but is not limited to, suspension or expulsion.
Procedures for Reporting
The school will take prompt, reasonable action to prevent, investigate, and remedy bias/harassment/bullying.
Responding to a Violation
As a school community our goal is for people to be safely in community together. We are committed to caring for those harmed and for our community as a whole. We are mindful that mistakes happen and will also care for the misstepper; engaging them in restorative practice and additional learning and support as needed.
Response to policy violation includes:
A focus on diversity, belonging, and community is at the heart of our school’s mission and values.
These principles guide decision-making:
As an open and inclusive Jewish day school in the heart of Brooklyn, we strive to provide an unparalleled, modern academic home that is committed to the rich mosaic of Jewish life. We are committed to intentionally building this mosaic with our students, faculty, administration, and families through their diversity across ethnicity, race, nationality, Jewish identity and practice, interfaith family composition, sexual orientation, gender identity, life experiences, socio-economic status, perspectives and worldviews. We value the dignity and self-worth of each member of our community.
We believe in ensuring that our students are prepared to be global citizens who can be productive agents of change toward a more just world. Our core Jewish value of Openness/Elu v’Elu guides our work in building empathy, promoting tolerance, and valuing difference. We live this value daily at Senesh in our curriculum, programming, admissions, hiring, professional development, and dialogue with our broader community. It is integral to our ongoing journey/Masa as a school to embrace the complex conversation of diversity in the 21st century, which we believe will continue to make our school community even more vibrant and strong.
Senesh faculty promote the school’s commitment to diversity and belonging in many ways, which include:
Transgender and Non-Binary Student Support Guidelines
We have also adapted these Transgender and Non-Binary Student Support Guidelines.
School policy with regard to ritual head coverings reflects Senesh’s commitment to tradition and to egalitarian values.
As an organization, Hannah Senesh observes kashrut, which means that all food that was served at school events (pre-COVID) is certified kosher. Additionally, certain restrictions are put on any foods that are brought into the school building. Our policy aims to balance an authentic communal standard with a respect for individual home practices.
There are many intricacies to the Jewish laws of kashrut, but the basic points are as follows:
Please note, the presence of a K on a package does NOT indicate that the food handling and production has been supervised by a mashgiach, so the food product is not considered kosher by school sharing standards. You may notice some other letters near a food’s hechsher: D indicates that the food is dairy; DE indicates that the food was processed on dairy equipment, but does not include dairy ingredients; P indicates that the food is certified kosher for Passover, in addition to being kosher for the rest of the year. The word parve indicates that the food contains no dairy products.
Class Birthday Celebrations Outside of School:
We ask you to be sensitive to the religious practices and dietary restrictions of all who are invited.
Class Birthday Celebrations in School:
Invitations, Timing, and Food
Celebrating milestones together builds community. As such, we request:
In School Celebration
Students entering Senesh must fulfill the requirements of the State of New York for immunization each year. Any child who is found to be out of compliance is required by the NYS Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to be excluded from all classes and activities until they comply. This will be strictly enforced by the Senesh Health Team.
To ensure the health of our community, the Flu vaccine is required for all students and staff no later than October 15, 2023. Proof of vaccination should be submitted to the nurse at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can access your Magnus Health SMR account by clicking here. Students are considered fully vaccinated two weeks following the second dose.
Should you require a medical exemption; please email Nathalie Cabot at email@example.com for the documentation required to make a request for a medical exemption. The Senesh Health Team will review your application in consultation with our legal team. We will let families know whether their applications were approved or denied as soon as possible.
Medical, Emergency Information and Administration of Medication forms must be submitted to the school via the Magnus platform for all students before the start of the school year.
Minor first aid will be given in school and a parent/guardian will be notified if necessary. In an emergency, if a parent cannot be reached or cannot retrieve the student in a timely manner, the student will be taken to the nearest hospital by EMS ambulance transport and the parent/guardian will be notified.
Hannah Senesh is a food allergy sensitive school. The school nurse maintains a list of student allergies and works directly with classroom teachers to make them aware of student needs. The teachers are given a list of children with allergies at the beginning of the year and these children are accommodated. Teachers are taught how to respond to food allergies and allergic reactions. Children are instructed not to share food and to wash hands before and after meals.
Children with food or other allergies should be identified to the school nurse, and information regarding exposure discussed and outlined. Those students who have epi-pens/auvi-Q prescribed must have one non-expired device in the nurse’s office at all times. For further information, contact Nathalie Cabot at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If it is discovered that your child has head lice you will be called to pick up your child. Children will not be readmitted to school without a note from a lice checker (unrelated to the child) who has determined their hair to be nit-free. If your child returns to school with any remaining nits or without a note, you will be asked to take your child home and complete the nit removal process. Speak to your pediatrician or call the school office for referrals to assist you in caring for your child. If you discover that your home has bed bugs, this must be reported to the school office. Appropriate measures must be taken to address the infestation. More information is available at www.nyc.gov/health. Contact the school office for further protocol details.
In addition to guidance from the CDC; NYS Department of Health; and NY State Education Department; and medical, health, and educational professionals, we have school leaders and medical and health professionals who advise on important decisions related to the pandemic.
Illness Prevention Strategies at Senesh:
If A Student or Member of a Senesh Household Tests Positive for COVID:
Counting 5 Days of Isolation:
If you had symptoms
If you had no symptoms
Senesh supports students and parents during through our robust multi-tiered social-emotional support system:
Responsive Classroom philosophy is the cornerstone of our approach to building community and connection.
In middle school, our advising system is the cornerstone of social-emotional support.
Senesh is fortunate to have a strong learning support program in place. Our learning support team includes two full time learning specialists.
If a student is not making satisfactory progress,
There are a number of students at each grade level who receive support through the Department of Education, including academic support from a SETSS provider, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. These providers are not employees of the school but use spaces in the building to support the students. These providers will be allowed in the building this fall.
Open communication, a collaborative approach, and providing these necessary interventions and modifications will support student progress and individual learning needs being met.
There are many ways that parents can help their children develop independence and organizational skills, and become responsible for their school work.
Judaic and general studies teachers coordinate homework assignments so that the children are not overly burdened with homework. There will be homework four times a week for grades 1-8. Extensive homework will not be assigned over weekends or Jewish holidays.
When a student is absent, parents of lower school students should email the teacher to request homework and to discuss means to get the books/materials home to the child. Middle school students are expected to contact a classmate to find out what was missed. Concerns regarding any homework assignments should be first directed to your child’s teacher.
Students work at various paces, so there is a range of time that a child may spend completing daily assignments. As students progress through the grades, especially in middle school, time management in regards to long-term assignments increasingly becomes the responsibility of the student. Below is a guide to the approximate amount of time your child may spend completing homework. If you notice assignments taking much longer than noted, please be in touch with your child’s teacher.
Homework Time Guide (This is in addition to independent reading).
Grade 1 15-25 minutes per night
Grade 2 20-30 minutes per night
Grade 3 30-40 minutes per night
Grade 4 40-50 minutes per night
Middle School 60-90 minutes per night
Senesh gives students all necessary school supplies at the beginning of the year.
Each classroom has a library in addition to our school library. Both collections are used for organized class projects and student research. In addition, students may borrow books for their personal use. Lost or damaged books must be paid for or replaced.
Textbooks and trade books are lent to students. Except for consumables, books must be returned at the end of the school year. Students will be charged for books that are not returned or are returned in poor condition.
Field trips are an important part of your child’s learning experience. While consent for students to participate in class trips is given by parents when signing the enrollment contract, parents will receive a trip-specific form before each trip with information regarding the date, destination, and schedule. A parent or guardian must sign these forms in order for your child to accompany the class. Students are expected to bring a dairy/parve disposable lunch to school on the day of a class trip.
Fifth graders participate in an all-day NYC challenge and grades 6-8 participate in overnight class trips. Sixth grade students spend four days at the Teva Learning Center, seventh graders explore Washington DC for three days, and eighth graders travel to Israel for two weeks.
Transcript and Recommendation Requests
The way students dress contributes to the classroom tone and school culture, and can impact the ability to have a positive learning environment. We expect children to come to school dressed appropriately for work, play, and study.
In the event a child is not following the dress guidelines, the student will be asked to change in accordance with the code.
Students may not receive phone calls in the school office and the office staff is not able to leave the office to deliver messages to students, except in an emergency.
Student use of cell phones is not permitted during school hours. In middle school, cell phones are collected at the start of the school day and returned at dismissal. Students can call home from the main office or division director’s office.
Lost items are likely to be in the child’s classroom. If a parent has a concern of a missing item, please have your child check their classroom and then email the teacher if an item is still not found.
Each year when families enroll at Senesh, they pay a Trip/Faculty Gifts/PA fee. The Parent Association (PA) uses a portion of these funds to coordinate collective gifts for all school personnel, which are distributed at Hanukkah and at the end of the school year. The PA also plans special events and gifts for Staff Appreciation Week and at other points during the year. This policy allows us to preserve equity and a professional balance among teachers, students, and parents.
Senesh requests that any individual expressions of appreciation be done with small handmade gifts or personal notes.
An enrollment contract, tuition schedule, and scholarship fund pledge form are sent to parents after the winter vacation, and are due back at the end of January. A student is officially enrolled when this signed contract and the registration fee have been returned. Tuition payment options are listed on the contract.
The scholarship fund contribution supports economic diversity at Senesh and will be acknowledged as a charitable donation to the school.
In the event that a family’s account goes into default, the parents or guardians will be notified by certified mail of the default. The family must either pay the remainder of the school fees that are due or approach the Senesh office to discuss their present situation. The Business Manager will work with parents to revise their payment schedule. If no agreement can be worked out, dismissal from the school may be necessary. Final student progress reports will not be released until all financial obligations are fulfilled for the school year. No student will be admitted to class in September if there remains any prior balance or if the enrollment contract is not on file.
After the signing of enrollment contracts, the parents’ obligation to pay the fees for the year is unconditional, notwithstanding the absence, withdrawal, or suspended enrollment of the child.
When a student transfers from the school, a written statement is required from the parents giving the school permission to forward student records. This statement should inform the school administration of the child’s final day of school. Transcripts, report cards, and other student records are not sent to the new school until financial obligations are satisfied.
For further information regarding business matters, please contact Business Manager Shai Carmel at email@example.com.
To email any member of the school staff, use the following formula: First initial of the staff member’s name, followed by his/her last name, @hannahsenesh.org. (i.e. to email Nicole Nash, the correct email address is: firstname.lastname@example.org). Staff will make every effort to respond within 24 hours. All email addresses can be found on the Faculty page of our website.