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.
View the handbook below or print the 2022-23 Parent Handbook.
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.
Kol Yisrael arevim zeh bazeh,
the entire community is responsible for one another.
Indeed, each of our individual actions can have a direct impact on our larger Senesh community. By leading with empathy, and in the spirit of moving from “me” to “we”, we ask for every member of our community to commit to the health, safety, and success of the 2022-23 school year by following a set of updated community guidelines. We know that every household has adopted various behaviors in response to the threat of COVID. Our goal is to keep our community safe and our children in school. We hope these guidelines offer us a singular roadmap to follow.
In addition to guidance from the CDC; NYS Department of Health; and NY State Education Department; and medical, health, and educational professionals, we have a COVID Task Group including school leaders and medical and health professionals who advise on important decisions related to the pandemic.
The Senesh health team will continue to monitor the COVID level at Senesh and in the community and will adapt as needed to changing local situations, including periods of increased community health impacts from COVID.
We are grateful knowing that each family and staff member will hold themselves accountable and ensure the overall well-being of our community.
Counting 5 Days of Isolation:
If you had symptoms
If you had no symptoms
Communication of Positive COVID Cases or Exposure
If a student or member of a Senesh household tests positive for COVID it is imperative that they notify the school nurse at email@example.com and Director of Operations Nathalie Cabot firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible if you, your child(ren) or a close contact has tested positive for COVID.
Families will be notified of exposure and of positive cases of students or staff in their grade level. Confidentiality is paramount and no names or identifiable facts will be shared/discussed internally or within our messaging to families.
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, 2022. Proof of vaccination should be submitted to the nurse at email@example.com.
Senesh requires all students be vaccinated with the COVID primary series, and recommends COVID boosters for everyone ages 5 years and older, if eligible.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com.
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.
School Hours for 2022-23
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 contacted.
Lunch and Snack Protocols
Kashrut (Jewish Dietary Laws) and Other Food Guidelines
To reduce the transmission of germs, only students and vaccinated adults will be admitted into the building. 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.
It is important that school be an environment which is emotionally and physically safe for all students and staff. In order to foster such an environment, negative acts of a violent, physical, verbal, or emotional nature will not be tolerated. Parents are expected and encouraged to review these policies with their child to ensure they are understood.
As a school with children between the ages of four and 14, we seek to support students with interventions and disciplinary action where appropriate, holding students accountable and simultaneously helping students learn from their mistakes. Our intent is not to suppress or punish normal and developmentally appropriate behaviors. 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.
Examples of unacceptable behaviors include, but are not limited to:
The above list includes some examples. It is not a comprehensive or all-inclusive list. Students may also be disciplined for common sense violations or violations of school community values other than those enumerated above.
During the school day, students are expected to live the value of Belonging/Shayachut by engaging in behaviors and using language which promote feelings of inclusivity and belonging. In the event students act or speak to fellow students in a way which runs contrary to Senesh’s Diversity Statement—for example, by making disparaging comments about or singling out a student based on that individual’s race, ethnicity, gender, or other identity markers—Senesh staff will address the issue directly by engaging in some or all of the following measures:
If your child is on the receiving end of comments or behavior, from anyone within the Senesh community, which makes your child feel singled out for his/her/their identity, please reach out to your teachers and/or the Lower/Middle School Director so that the incident can be addressed quickly and processed with all parties in a sensitive, empathic way at school.
We are dedicated to helping your child thrive at Senesh and appreciate your assistance.
If you are contacted about (or otherwise learn of) your child engaging in comments or behavior which may have resulted in another child feeling targeted based on their identity, please reach out directly to the parents of the impacted child for purposes of opening lines of communication and model promoting an empathic dialogue.
Physical and verbal aggression, the use of abusive language, hazing, bullying, and harassment of any kind are prohibited. 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:
Acts of harassment/bullying shall include, but not be limited to, those acts based on a person’s actual or perceived race, color, weight, national origin, ethnic group, religion, religious practice, disability, sexual orientation, gender (which includes gender identity and/or expression) or sex.
Prohibited conduct includes, but is not limited to: epithets, slurs, quips or negative stereotyping that relate to any of the categories above. This list is not all-inclusive. Other unwelcome acts of an offensive nature may also constitute harassment/bullying.
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 Bullying/Harassment
The school requires all members of the school community (students, faculty, staff, parents, etc.) to report all incidents of harassment/bullying, regardless of who the offender may be. The school will take prompt, reasonable action to prevent, investigate, and remedy harassment/bullying. Reports should be made to a member of the faculty, staff, or administrator. All Senesh employees are required to report such incidents to the Head of School if they receive a report or otherwise learn of an incident.
If comfortable doing so, students are encouraged to inform the offender that the conduct is unwelcome and requesting that the bullying/harassment stop.
After receiving a complaint of conduct prohibited by this policy, the Head of School, in consultation with whomever else is deemed appropriate by the Head of School, will promptly investigate the complaint. School employees and students are under a duty to cooperate with an investigation. The school will try to be as discreet as possible during an investigation and confidentiality will be maintained to the extent possible given the facts and circumstances of the complaint and the need to do a fair and thorough investigation.
If the school determines that this policy has been violated, the violator will be subject to appropriate disciplinary action, which may include but is not limited to a verbal or written reprimand, referral to appropriate counseling, suspension, or expulsion, in the case of a student or discharge in the case of a School employee.
The school will not retaliate against anyone who in good faith reports a violation under this policy or who participates in the investigation of a complaint. Any person who engages in such retaliation will be subject to disciplinary action including expulsion or termination.
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. All students are expected to cover their heads during prayer and when eating. Given the diversity of our community, some students choose to wear head coverings throughout the day. Students should come to school prepared with a head covering; appropriate choices include kippot, scarves, and hats. Specific concerns about the ritual head covering policy should be addressed to the Head of School or to the Judaic Studies Coordinator.
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:
Celebrating milestones together builds community. As such, we request that parents invite a child’s entire grade to the b-mitzvah, virtual or otherwise. While we realize that this may not always be possible, we hope that in making the list of those to invite you will be as inclusive as possible. In a small school, feelings can be easily hurt; some options are to invite the entire class. Excluding just a few students from any of these groups can cause hurt feelings. Please also use sensitivity in extending invitations to students from other grades.
In order to be inclusive, we ask you to be sensitive to the religious practices and dietary restrictions of all who are invited to the party, including the start time of evening parties after Shabbat. As always, please ensure food served at celebrations is aligned with our school’s kashrut policy. Questions regarding this policy should be directed to the Judaic Studies Coordinator.
The Judaic Studies Coordinator keeps a calendar of bar and bat mitzvah dates to avoid scheduling conflicts. Before you schedule your child’s bar or bat mitzvah, please contact Phyllis Sussman at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule your date.
If you have a weekday celebration, we ask that you be respectful of class time when setting the time for the celebration, and choose weekdays when school is not in session. While we seek to be flexible, we also want to avoid a significant impact on the academic program.
Every child will have an in-school b-mitzvah celebration. This includes tefillah led by our b-mitzvah student, a short presentation about how the student embodies our school values, and a gift from the school. Students may give out a small party favor distributed by Senesh staff.
Senesh has and will continue to support students, faculty and staff, and parents during this COVID period in a number of different ways. Our robust social-emotional support system is multi-tiered:
Responsive Classroom philosophy is the cornerstone of our approach to building community and connection.
In addition to explicitly teaching social emotional skills, teachers intentionally introduce a social emotional lens to other areas of curriculum. For example, students examine the feelings and motivation of characters in books, the decision making process of public figures in social studies, and the dilemmas and conflicts faced by biblical figures.
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).
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.
The Parent-School partnership is an important part of your child’s experience at Senesh and is essential to building a strong community.
Successful partnerships are built on open, regular, and clear communication. Following is a list of the many ways that Senesh communicates with parents.
Your children are always our first priority and we look forward to partnering with you to help them learn, grow, and be an integral part of the Senesh 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.
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 parents:
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:
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 Admissions Annette Powers at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.
Due to school protocols during COVID, students will remain in one classroom for the duration of the day, except during their designated outdoor time. 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.
The PA collects funds from families and coordinates collective gifts for all school personnel, which are distributed twice a year, at Hanukkah and at the end of school. Additionally, the PA provides special and gifts of appreciation during staff appreciation week and at other points during the year. Senesh requests that any individual expressions of appreciation be limited to student-made cards 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.