The Beginning of an Exciting 19-20 School Year

The Beginning of an Exciting 19-20 School Year
  • Head of School/CEO
  • Lower Division
  • Upper Division
Matan Halzel

By Avi Halzel, Ped. D., Head of School/CEO


Congratulations! You’ve made it through summer vacation and are about to embark on the 2019-20 school year! The Denver JDS faculty and staff are eager to welcome students and parents next week as the new school year begins. The start of a school year has a certain energy about it that is different from anything else. It’s a feeling that I look forward to and embrace. But this August I found myself wanting to explore more deeply what that feeling is all about. 

Upon reflection, I realized the source of my excitement about the start of the school comes from my deep-seated beliefs about the importance of Jewish day school education. There are so many compelling reasons to send your children to Denver JDS. Here are three that rise to the top for me. I hope they resonate with you as well. And, I’d love to hear your reasons any time! Shoot me an email with them at

Extensive research by educational scholar William Jeynes demonstrates that attending an independent religious school correlates with the highest level of academic achievement when compared to public schools, charter schools and non-religious independent schools. Affirmation of the high level academic achievement at Denver JDS is documented by strong achievement test scores, the colleges our graduates are accepted into and the success our alumni have when they move on.

Jewish day school is the best place for American Jewish children to learn to be proud of who they are as Jews and human beings. Exposure to our tradition, history and heritage gives them the confidence to speak intelligently on behalf of our people, making them our community’s leaders of today and tomorrow. Grappling with rabbinic texts transforms them into master philosophers and (sorry mom and dad) debaters who will be solving the world’s problems long after they leave us. Being part of a community with shared identity means they do not feel the sting of “otherness” during their formative years and are able to develop the self confidence, derived from belonging, that ALL children so deeply deserve. 

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly in our times, Denver JDS teaches strong values rooted in Jewish tradition. I think we have room for growth and improvement in this area and that work is underway.  Our middot and divrei chaim (words to live by - kindness, integrity, curiosity, community and purpose) are a sound foundation for the critical, social, and emotional learning that is taking place in our community. Our emphasis on values and character can be seen in many ways from the simple kindness of one individual to another to the high rates of volunteerism and social involvement of our students. It’s all important and it all leads to making the world a better place.

These are three powerful benefits of a Jewish Day School education.They are my motivating factors and get me incredibly excited about the start of every school year. I thank you for choosing to be here with your family for the 2019-20 school year, I look forward to realizing all of this with you!

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