History

 

The Conservative Movement pioneered the concept of Jewish day school education in the Solomon Schechternon-Orthodox community. The network now extends to 20 states and 2 provinces in Canada. Affiliated with Conservative Judaism, the schools serve the entire population of the Jewish community that seeks an intensive Jewish education that is both traditional and modern.

Read about our founder, Solomon Schechter.

1951: Beth El Day School in Rockaway Park, NY founded. First Day School sponsored by a Conservative synagogue.

1951-52: United Synagogue Commission on Education develops the foundation schools, which served as ‘head start’ programs for students, eventually leading to an intense and enriched congregational school program.

1956: Solomon Schechter Day School organized in Queens, NY. United Synagogue Commission on Jewish Education organized the Day School Education Committee.

1957: First National Conference on Day School Education held by the United Synagogue Commission at the Jewish Theological Seminary of America. Its purpose was to encourage individual efforts and provide assistance to individual schools.

1965: First Conference of Solomon Schechter Day Schools in New York City. Its goal was to formally structure an Association of Solomon Schechter Day Schools to set standards, provide cooperative framework for all existing day schools, coordinate various programs and stimulate creation of new day schools.

1967: Second Conference of Solomon Schechter Day Schools introducing the Association to the greater reaches of the Conservative Movement. Conference held at JTS where then Chancellor Louis Finkelstein praised the efforts and successes of the Solomon Day Schools and their Association.

1968: First Solomon Schechter High School opens in Brooklyn.

1998: MaToK, a Torah curriculum development program of the Solomon Schechter Day School Association and the Melton Center of the Jewish Theological Seminary Davidson School of Education is made possible by a three year grant of $650,000 by the Jim Joseph Foundation.

1999: The SSDSA receives a 1.25 million dollar donation to create a career path to Solomon Schechter Day School professional leadership. The target population is graduates of the Conservative Movement’s rabbinical schools who demonstrate a strong interest in Jewish education. The program bridges the gap between academic preparation and the assumption of school leadership. The SREL program provides each year for the selection of a resident-fellow who will choose a placement from a list of Solomon Schechter residency schools.

1999-2004: Teacher guides and learning materials are developed by MaToK and piloted. Classes are observed, teachers give feedback and changes are made. MaToK teachers participate in professional development.

2002-2004: Two new Solomon Schechter elementary day schools are founded, the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Richmond and the Solomon Schechter Day School of Las Vegas. Two new Schechter high schools opened their doors, Chicagoland Jewish High School and the Schechter Regional High School in Teaneck, NJ.

2004: The Solomon Schechter Day School Association Biennial Conference for lay and professional development meets for the first time outside of New York at a hotel in order to encourage collegiality.

2004: The SSDSA initiates deliberations on how to teach the meaning of prayers and praying.

2005: Over 40 schools are using MaToK and multi-colored, graphically pleasing student learning books, hovrot le’midah, are published.

2006 Thanks to rapidly evolving technology, the SSDSA has established numerous listservs for Schechter leaders that enable peer exchanges among professionals and lay leaders about the challenges, opportunities, resources and best practices in Schechter schools.

2008 An independent website www.ssdsa.org was created and launched. It features announcements of SSDS Association programs and events, achievements of individual schools, articles, resources, the directory of Schechter schools – and so much more!

2011 A new branding initiative results in a new name for the organization: The Schechter Day School Network, a new visual identity, and a new website www.schechternetwork.org. A significant planning grant from the Avi Chai Foundation enables a process of strategic planning to ensure a dynamic future for the Schechter Network.