FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: How many students are at Leo Baeck?
A: In the 2012-13 school year there are approximately 450 students at the South Campus and over 470 students at the North Campus. Our enrollment continues to grow with each year.
Q: What is the difference between North and South Campus?
A: There are specific geographical boundaries for attendance at each campus, defined by the school’s Board of Directors. Students who live south of Wilson attend our South Campus, those who live north of Sheppard attend North Campus, and those living between Wilson and Sheppard may attend North or South depending on individual circumstances. Both campuses operate by the same philosophy and teach the same curriculum, and teachers share resources and ideas towards the goal of like expectations.
Q: How far in advance do I need to apply?
A: As space at Leo Baeck is limited and waiting lists are common, we do encourage early application. The deadline for application is September 30th of the year prior to admission and a $500 deposit is required on application. (This deposit is refundable only if we are unable to accommodate a child.) Leo Baeck is an admission-based rather than registration-based school. Admission is not first-come, first-served: our aim is to ensure that the school is the proper fit for the child and vice versa.
Q: What makes Leo Baeck unique?
A: Leo Baeck is the only Reform Jewish day school in Canada and the largest in North America, which makes us an attractive choice for parents who are affiliated with or inspired by the Reform movement as well as other parents who are looking for an egalitarian, liberal Jewish education for their children. Our two campuses make us convenient in terms of location no matter where in the GTA you live. We are also unique in terms of our academic program. The academic day is divided into equal thirds (English Language Arts, Math/Science/Social Studies, and Hebrew Language Arts/Jewish Studies) in Grades 1-5 and a rotary schedule in Middle School, which allows for an excellent academic balance. The enriched curriculum is rounded out with specialist subjects such as music, drama, art, computers, library science, phys. ed. and French (taught for ½ hour per day from SK onwards), and supplemented by frequent field trips. All teachers are specialists in their taught subjects.
Q: What is the IB program? How does the IB program affect the academic program at Leo Baeck?
A: Leo Baeck is the only Jewish Day School in Canada authorized as an IB world school for the Middle Years Programme Gr 6-8, and we have incorporated IB pedagogy and terminology at the younger grades as well. IB stands for International Baccalaureate, and is an academic program that has been adopted at over 1500 schools worldwide, primarily independent and private schools. It encourages critical thinking, cross-application of knowledge, and engagement with one’s community – from local to international. IB works in harmony with our own curriculum. It reinforces a system of ethics that works with and echoes the Jewish traditions, value system, beliefs and parochial objectives of Leo Baeck. We adopted the IB program because it helps our students to grow and develop academically without losing focus of the Jewish objectives of a Leo Baeck education. It’s the best of all worlds.
Because the IB curriculum is quite rigorous, Leo Baeck students are encouraged to reach for a high level of academic achievement. All teachers are trained in IB methods and are eager to help each student reach his or her academic potential.
Q: What do you mean when you call Leo Baeck a “Reform Jewish Day School”?
A: Leo Baeck is affiliated with the Union for Reform Judaism. That means that we have relationships with Reform organizations in Toronto and worldwide, such as the Toronto Reform synagogues, Camp George, and Reform youth groups. In general, Reform Judaism is egalitarian and liberal in its views, while placing central importance on the place of religion in family and daily life. Leo Baeck students lead educational Kabbalat Shabbat services every Friday, regular Shacharit and Rosh Chodesh services, and other holiday-specific services throughout the year in preparation for assuming responsibilities as an adult in Jewish life. Religious learning is taught through the lens of Reform Judaism, which emphasizes personal informed choice in decision-making. Girls and boys are treated equally, both in a religious and a secular sense. Girls and boys both wear kippot during tfilah, read Torah when and after they come of age, and have equal obligation in all religious rituals.
Q: What is the advantage of a Jewish day school versus public school or a non-denominational private school?
A: A Jewish day school education helps to instill Jewish values, philosophy and pride in each student. Students benefit from the seamless integration of Judaism into both their home and school life and gain a sense of belonging as part of the wider Jewish community. Along with French beginning in SK, Hebrew is also taught for 1 hour per day in SK and 2 hours per day after that; multi-language learning at an early age is proven indicator of future success. Because Leo Baeck is a school that values academic excellence, a Leo Baeck education allows students to develop a Jewish identity without sacrificing the academic rigour of a private school education.
Q: How difficult are the academics at Leo Baeck? Will my child be able to keep up?
A: Academics are a high priority at Leo Baeck. We understand that all children have different gifts and that traditional academic achievement is not the only measure of success. Our goal is for each student to become proficient in English, French and Hebrew as well as in Jewish Studies and the secular academic subjects. Our teachers are experienced in teaching classes with a range of ability levels and are dedicated to helping each student achieve to the best of his or her ability. Remediation and enrichment are offered with specialized staff and Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Pathologists are brought in as needed.
Q: Does the school provide before and after care?
A: Before school care is available at no extra cost from 7:30 AM until school starts at 8:30 AM. Children are supervised in the gymnasium by a qualified teacher. After school care is available from 3:30-6:00 PM from Monday-Friday in a fun, safe environment for your child. It costs 15$ per day and $10 for each additional sibling and is run by Leo Baeck Day School staff.
After care is also available on early dismissal days, running from the end of the day until 6:00 PM as per usual. To the contrary, on days where the school closes early for a Jewish holiday there is no after care available.
Q: Where do students usually go when they graduate from Leo Baeck?
A: Our alumni achieve success at many different schools once their time at Leo Baeck is through. Currently, significantly more than half of our alumni go to Tannenbaum CHAT, where they enjoy exceptional levels of academic achievement. Many alumni also attend local public high schools and other private schools.