Upper School

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Welcome to the HMJDS Upper School — a journey through intellectual thought, social exploration, and spiritual understanding. We hope our graduates are students who:

  • think deeply about a broad range of topics and ideas
  • are unabashed question askers and risk takers
  • are kind people who integrate Jewish values into their everyday lives

We trust that the adolescents who walk our halls leave with an intense desire to continue learning about the inter-connected world in which they live. As an institution of learning, we challenge ourselves to create an environment that is most conducive to this lofty outcome.

Todah Rabbah for the wonderful capstone project experience you provided to the eighth graders. Their impressive passion and ability to grasp complex issues came through loud and clear as they eloquently communicated to parents and a broader communal audience.” – Eighth Grade Parent

Our curriculum, based on national best practices and a thoughtful team approach, is designed to impart knowledge, elicit curiosity, and hone student skills. It is stimulating, inviting, challenging and deep, practical and forward thinking.

Recognizing the benefit of collaboration in the working world, our teachers incorporate team projects, group discussions, and interactions with others outside the school walls. Using experiential teaching styles, students engage with ideas and concepts from multiple viewpoints; they are:

  • asked to learn and think deeply about other cultures, other countries, and, ultimately, other people’s experiences
  • carried from the concrete into the abstract by exploring ethical dilemmas and current social issues.
  • allowed to wander and explore the world of debate and social action
  • filled with pride as they experience together classmates’ B’nai Mitzvah

Our thoughtful curriculum, experienced and caring teachers, and challenging and encouraging environment prepares students for the next stage of their educational journeys as Jewish leaders and the life-long learners they deserve to be.


Application Process

Like building a collage, we seek to gain several “snapshots” of your child during the application process. A number of steps designed to understand each prospective student and family help us develop the most complete picture possible, and determine whether HMJDS is a good match.

Application—Getting Started

Please contact Julie Ziessman, Admissions & Outreach Director or submit a form on the admissions page to receive a school application. To initiate the admissions process, please submit a completed application form (signed by all parents/legal guardians) and $200 non-refundable application fee starts the formal admissions process. We will contact you to schedule your admissions appointments. (Please see Admissions Timeline below for important dates.)

Individual Screening—Getting To Know Your Child As An Individual and Learner

All prospective Day School Lower School students meet one-on-one with Julie Ziessman, or another member of our Admissions Team. In most cases we will administer a screening test and a brief interview with your child that provides information about interpersonal skills and social-emotional development. This process will take approximately one hour. During the entire appointment, one parent/guardian (not nanny/babysitter) must stay in our office waiting area.

Classroom Preview—An Opportunity To Learn and Share More Information

We ask that your child spend a day at our school in his or her current grade. This visit will give your child an opportunity to experience a “taste of HMJDS” as well as enable our teachers to observe your child formally in a classroom setting.

Previous School Records—This Important Documentation Is Necessary

We will provide you with a Request for Records Form for you to fill out and give to your current school so it can forward your child’s complete file directly to HMJDS. This information that provides our Admissions Team with important information is due to the Day School in advanceof the parent-only follow-up meeting.

“Everyone is so much nicer at this school. When there’s a problem there are people around to help you fix it right away.” – HMJDS Student

Follow-Up Meeting—The Partnering Process Begins

After the Individual Screening and Preview Day, you will be invited back for a parent-only follow-up meeting with Julie Ziessman and our Associate Head of School, Helen Siegel. At this meeting we will share what we have learned about your child. We hope the information provided at this meeting will give you valuable insights about your child’s emerging learning profile. This is also a time for you to share any information about your child that you do not feel was communicated on your application form. As part of our ongoing partnership with families, we hope that both parents in dual-parent households can attend this meeting.

Final Review—The Admissions Team At Work

Our Admissions Team meets to review each applicant’s file. Admissions criteria used to determine whether or not the Day School is an appropriate learning program and environment for your child include: information from the application; Individual Screening; Preview Day; and current school records; and any other information provided in writing by parents. Sometimes our Admissions Team will request additional information before making a decision about admission. (Please see Additional Information below.)

Admission—A Thoughtful Decision

A letter of acceptance, along with an enrollment contract, fee schedule, and Parent Covenant, will be mailed to your home, in accordance with the Admissions Timeline listed below. Please review, sign and return to HMJDS the enrollment form and $600 deposit (applied to tuition), by the date indicated on the contract, to hold your child’s place in the coming year’s class. Enrollment forms received after the date requested will be considered on a first-come/first-served basis, pending space availability.

All new families will be invited to attend over the summer Parent Orientations and our Ice Cream Social. Grade 1 and 2 families can attend informal park play dates and an End of Summer Picnic.

Admissions Timeline

  • Families whose application forms and fees are received by mid-December, and who have completed the other necessary steps in a timely manner, will receive early admissions notification near President’s Day
  • Families whose application forms and fees are received by mid-February, and who have completed the other necessary steps in a timely manner, will receive admissions notification in mid April.
  • All other applications will be entertained and accepted pending space availability.

Financial Assistance—Available To Families Who Qualify

The Day School is committed to socioeconomic diversity. If you are considering applying for financial assistance, please be sure to check this box on your application. Financial assistance information will be emailed to you under separate cover, early in the calendar year.

Additional Information

Partnering between school and home is key to a successful experience. Please provide us with any/all outside testing or evaluations done by OT, PT, IEP, speech/language, medical, psychological, or other professionals. The more information we have about your child, the more successful we will be in meeting your family’s needs!

Sometimes it is helpful to observe a child in their current school environment, and/or secure releases to communicate on the phone or in writing with health care providers. If we are in need of this type of information we will let you know.

Hebrew Language Learning—Preparing Your Child For A Dual-Language Program

Across our program we are committed to providing a variety of flexible Hebrew groupings, to accommodate many learning styles and paces. This allows us to welcome students mid-program with little or no Hebrew language experience. Regardless of the grade your child enters HMJDS we will support his or her Hebrew learning during the defined school day through small-group work and differentiated instruction.

  • Students entering second grade or above will be asked to engage during the summer preceding their enrollment in private summer Hebrew tutoring.
  • We will provide families with the names of Hebrew tutors familiar with teaching our curriculum.
  • Tutoring is usually two times per week.
  • Compensation for these tutors will be the family’s responsibility.
  • We may recommend some less-intensive tutoring during the school year.
  • Regarding all your initial questions or scheduling tour, please contact our Julie Ziessman, Admissions & Outreach Director, at 952.381.3500 or jziessman@hmjds.org

Admissions-Related Questions?

Please use this guide as a reference when further admissions-related communication is desired.

If you have questions regarding scheduling admissions appointments, please contactEthan Tarshish, Admissions and Outreach Coordinator, at 952.381.3506 or etarshish@hmjds.org.

If you have questions regarding our Lower School program, please contact Helen Siegel, at 952.381.3500 or hsiegel@hmjds.org.

If you have questions regarding financial assistance and/or payments, please contact our Business Department, at 952.381.3510.

Non-Discrimination

The Amos and Celia Heilicher Minneapolis Jewish Day School admits students of any sex, race, color, religion, or national and ethnic origin to all rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school, and it does not discriminate on the basis of sex, race, color, religion, or: national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, or any other school-administered programs.

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