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From Our Parents

What Parents

are saying

Hear from our parents how Knoxville Jewish Day School has impacted their kids and how we prepare each of our students for life after our school.

KJDS fosters a sense of community both inside and outside of the classroom where students learn respect, responsibility, and real-world problem solving skills that make them not only successful students but also caring people who can empathize and cooperate with others. A well-rounded education is our highest priority as parents, and KJDS provides just that with Hebrew instruction, a focus on the arts and theater, and regular STEM activities.  We have seen our son grow tremendously as he is challenged, uplifted, and supported at KJDS, and we are so proud to be part of this community.

- Staci Messing

When my spouse and I went on the school tour of KJDS last year, the first thing we noticed was how happy all of the students were. We had planned to send both of our daughters to our local public school, but after the tour we couldn’t stop thinking about how much KJDS seemed to be set up for our kids and our family. There were top notch academics, creative problem solving in the arts and STEAM, and an emphasis on ethical formation and community...Our daughter thrives as a learner because of the community that KJDS fosters.

- Gina DiSalvo

We had finally found a school for our child that we felt could offer him the opportunity and support to be successful, build confidence, and contribute to the larger community.  Coming from a racially and religiously blended family, we wanted our son to be part of a school community that would welcome and embrace our family structure...We see KJDS as an agent of change that is fostering thoughtful and committed citizens.  Our son is growing up not only developing a love for learning, with a focus on academic excellence, but also developing a passion for improving our community. He is in an environment that challenges him, that supports him, that piques his curiosity, and allows him opportunities to understand and process his emotions.

- Deisha Finley

Three qualities of KJDS had the greatest impact on my thinking: its academic excellence, its Jewish ethics, and its caring community. The KJDS atmosphere is simultaneously scholarly and nurturing.

- Lois Presser

Over the course of the past year (during a pandemic, no less) we have watched as Ella’s entire attitude towards school and learning has changed. She is excited to go to school each day, excited to learn, and excited to bring her lessons home to our dinner table. Rather than getting frustrated when learning something new, Ella now repeats the mantra, “Remember, I just can’t do this yet.” She builds “simple machines' ' that she learned about in science to raise and lower laundry baskets over the banister, practices her dance moves for the school musical each morning, and finds videos of the Alef-Bet to practice her Hebrew. She has also learned to celebrate not only her own success, but the success of her classmates and the school - she truly feels herself part of a community working together toward a common goal. In short, we are thrilled with KJDS.

- Sarit Olinzock

Mom with students

KJDS built a sense of confidence in Camden. Every time he does a presentation, he gets very high marks because he is very confident speaking in front of people. Camden never even knew he had these talents until he was cast as Baloo in “The Jungle Book”. Our little boy, who was nervous presenting a science project in front of his friends, surprised us with a strong stage presence. Honestly, I think a signature trait of a KJDS student is confidence when speaking to adults and other children. As I see them out and about in the community I am constantly amazed at how KJDS students and alumni present themselves.

When Camden moved on to Webb for middle school and high school he had a strong connection to his Jewish Identity. When the opportunity to take off school for religious holidays arose, it was a definite -without hesitation as he valued the Jewish Holidays. In high school, when BBYO was presented to him he immediately jumped on the opportunity and even moved on to become his chapter’s president. I am so grateful for the strong feeling of Jewish belonging Camden got at KJDS.

- Bonnie Boring

Mom with student

Dylan attended KJDS from K-5th Grade. He now goes to West Valley Middle School and is in 7th grade.

When Dylan started going to KJDS he was a shy little boy.  We were a little concerned about the small school size and if it would not promote him to blossom out of his shyness.  We were completely wrong!  KJDS encourages and allows the children to express and be themselves, while still having structure and a great learning environment.

KJDS also prepares children to problem solve and work independently. Here’s a great story to show how much KJDS prepares their children for Middle school.
Dylan’s 6th grade English class took a test; the entire class's parents received an email stating that the majority of the class failed the test.  The teacher felt that it was because the children did not take the time to read, study and work through the passages.  Dylan was one of the few children that earned an A.  We attribute this success to the style of teaching and learning at KJDS, which encourages independence and problem solving skills. Dylan is now very outgoing and has made so many new friends as well as being in all honors classes and getting mostly A's!!!! KJDS is an amazing school!

- Bonnie Kolnick

Mom with student

Knoxville Jewish Day School is a small family with every member trying to become their best. All the children are connected. You know your child is becoming their best and everyone is there to cheer them on and support them. The teachers and directors are their second moms and dads. They want what is best for them just like I do.

- Jami Quartararo

Mom with student

After six years at KJDS, Samantha’s transition to middle school was very smooth and easy. With the solid academic foundation she gained at KJDS, Samantha has the confidence to ask questions whenever she needs clarification. Socially, Samantha entered middle school with the skills to quickly make new friends and get involved in extracurricular school activities. While Samantha misses learning Hebrew and doing Shabbat with her KJDS friends, she is confident in her Judaism and is proud that she can share her knowledge of Jewish culture and community with her new friends and teachers.

- Debbie Abrams Cohen

Mom with student

Why do we love KJDS? Where to begin! In kindergarten, Cora blossomed on stage as Petunia in the all-school play Alice in Wonderland. In first grade, she "STEAMed into Service" to help fight hunger in Knoxville. And in second grade, she presented a TED talk on community gardening to a standing-room only audience. . From Cora’s first day at this wonderful school , KJDS has nurtured Cora's natural curiosity and excitement for learning, and so much more. Thanks to KJDS, her creativity, concern for the world, and confidence to try new things abound. We couldn't be more grateful!

- Lisa Mason

Mom with student

Elizabeth is thriving in middle school because of her experience at KJDS. While we had concerns about her transitioning from a small school to a large one, we soon realized that there was no need to worry; KJDS gave Elizabeth the tools to stand on her own and be confident. The KJDS culture allowed Elizabeth to build warm personal relationships with not only all the students in her class, but also with the entire student body. As typical friendship issues arose, Elizabeth was coached on how to voice her needs and feelings to her friends in a positive and productive manner. With the skills and confidence that she gained at KJDS, Elizabeth is adept at navigating social situations and enthusiastic about meeting new and diverse students at West Valley Middle School.

- Laura Floyd

Mom with student

Sending our children to KJDS has given us so much more than just a great school. It has given us long lasting friendships in a warm and welcoming community. Although our two oldest children are now in public school, they have maintained close and lasting friendships with their KJDS friends. Their KJDS experience has given them such a solid and joyful Jewish foundation, and they stay connected. Even our oldest child, who was already in middle school when we moved to Knoxville, became friends with KJDS alumni and continues to attend all the KJDS alumni events.

- Nathalie Guigui

Mom with student

One of the things we love about KJDS is the holistic approach to education. Each child is challenged and supported at their level academically, socially, and emotionally. The loving and supportive environment at KJDS has helped our children build grit and confidence. Our four children have different needs and KJDS has met them all.

- Sarah Dugal

Mom with student

Knoxville Jewish Day School feels like joy. My twins, who attend kindergarten at KJDS, daily experience the joy of learning and connecting with others and with higher values. I am thrilled by my kids’ enthusiasm for personal excellence and for being part of a caring community!

- Lo Presser

Mom with student

As an employee at KJDS, I was so excited for my son to join me at school! He benefits from the small, multi-age classes as he’s nurtured as a leader and works in small Math and Read- ing groups daily. He has an awesome relationship with his teacher, and she pushes him to produce his best work. And, he is loving learning a second language, especially because his Hebrew teacher integrates fun technology into the lessons. KJDS is both a challenging and joyful place to learn, and I’m thrilled that my child has the opportunity to be part of this amazing and unique school community.

- Louise Lindsay

Mom with student

KJDS was a second home to my son and is now a second home to my daughter. It is probably the best decision I will ever make about their education because it established for my son and is establishing for my daughter a love of learning that is priceless and that runs deep. There is just no better elementary school out there if you want your kids to learn amazing amounts, be loved and respected completely, and look forward to school every single day. I just can’t say enough about this wonderful school.

- Joelle Adajian

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