Sunday, March 26, 2023

Ben Porat Yosef is pleased to announce that it has been granted first-time accreditation from the New Jersey Association of Independent Schools (NJAIS) and Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges (MSA-CESS). Ben Porat Yosef is the only yeshiva day school in Bergen County to hold this prestigious dual accreditation. The accreditation process includes rigorous self-reflection and an impartial peer review which follows an internationally recognized set of standards. As an accredited school, Ben Porat Yosef has shown that every area of its academic program, operations, facilities and leadership meet each accreditation standard without exception. As an accredited institution, Ben Porat Yosef now joins a network and cohort of other elite, accredited independent schools in New Jersey that meet on a regular basis to collaborate and share best practices.

Over the course of two years, a steering committee chaired by Aliza Strassman, director of student services, and Rachel Esquenazi, kindergarten head teacher, led the faculty, staff and board of trustees of Ben Porat Yosef through the rigorous self-study process culminating in a four-day site visit by educational leaders from other independent schools representing both NJAIS and MSA-CESS. The self-study report, a 200-page document, covered all aspects of the school including the rigorous academic program, facilities, finances and operations, and school professional and lay leadership. Each member of the faculty and staff was involved in the process of reflecting on current practices and planning for further growth in the future.

Following the four-day site visit that included classroom observations, interviews with faculty, staff, students, parents and board members, as well as reviews of policies, procedures and facilities, the visiting team cited several noteworthy qualities of the school. Included in these commendations were the school’s dedication to academic excellence, fidelity to the mission statement, concern for student learning, passion for achievement, and high standards in every area of the school’s program. As part of the visiting team’s final report, the school was specifically recognized for the following:

“Aligning effectively the mission with the school beliefs and profile of the graduate.”

“Engaging deeply and joyously the embodiment of Jewish life, values, knowledge, Zionism, culture, and traditions as a faith-based school.”

“Creating a warm, inclusive environment for all students, faculty, staff, and community that is evident throughout all facets of the school and its programming.”

“Implementing a successful, unique Hebrew immersion program across all grade levels.”

“Meeting students where they are academically, providing individualized attention.

Providing a school that is safely secured, is well maintained, and there is a thoughtful plan for future development.”

“Establishing a culture of self-reflection and a mindset of improvement in all areas of Ben Porat Yosef.”

“Creating an outstanding Early Childhood program, built from the ground up, that is aligned with the school’s mission, is thoughtful and sophisticated, is developmentally appropriate, and is forward-thinking.”

“Employing and retaining dedicated and motivated faculty, staff, and administrators who are willing to take on additional responsibilities for the benefit of the school’s continuity.”

Past Parent Teacher Organization president Jaclyn Cohen was part of a group of parents who met with the visiting team during the site visit. “As a parent I am energized to see a school so thoughtful about its mission. How rare to find an organization that can set an ambitious goal five years into the future and actually achieve it! While serving as PTO president I witnessed firsthand how the administration and teachers engaged in the process. BPY is now armed with an honest and in-depth assessment, expert recommendations and a strategic framework for BPY’s long-term success, and I have full confidence in the education that the school will provide our children.”

In her exit remarks to the school community, Ruth Gafni, chair of the visiting team noted: “Your community, steeped in Jewish values, draws from an ancient, enduring and powerful force. It is a source of strength, which you appreciate. The values of kindness, respect, inclusiveness, and the passion for klal Yisrael, and all people, who were born in the image of God, are deeply felt and are truly rare in the world environment we live in today. Hold tight to it, keep nurturing it, as it takes hard work to maintain and sustain it.” These remarks reflect the school’s mission statement and 22-year history and ongoing commitment to excellence in Yeshiva education.

Rabbi Saul Zucker, head of school, noted how beautiful it was to have every segment of the school working together as a wonderful team to achieve this recognition, as well as how great it is to have the blueprint and treasure map for working in the years to come, b’ezrat Hashem, as BPY continues to soar higher and higher.

By Jewish Link Staff


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