Our School Culture
Students at SAR High School are participants in a vibrant Jewish
community that extends far beyond the classroom. Tefillah and
mitzvot help shape the SAR experience. Study and song in informal
settings during shabbatonim, yemei iyyun and chagigot encourage
personal religious expression.
Tefillah be-zibbur is a fundamental part of the day at SAR High
School. We begin our day together with shacharit as students meet in
various minyanim throughout the building. Students choose to daven
with their grade or with a specialty minyan – such as the “Hilchot
Tefillah”, Sephardic or explanatory minyan. On Yom Ha’atzmaut, Yom
Yerushalayim, and other select days, the entire school celebrates
together as we daven in one minyan. Students are active participants
in all minyanim which seek to promote and inspire a communal
commitment to God while recognizing the individual passions and
interests of students.
Character development is a core value in Jewish life. Our faculty plays
a key role in modeling respectful and positive behavior through their
personal interactions with students. A variety of chesed programs are
offered, through which our students are able to discover their own
voices and develop and refine their own midot. Our students are
taught that their personal behavior, both in and out of school, reflects
who they are, as well as the role they play as responsible members of
Am Yisrael and the broader society.
Community Service is an essential component of the SAR High School
experience. Our mission commits us to developing individuals who
will respond in a spirit of courage and selflessness to the needs of the
With this in mind, our advisory program includes group service
experiences designed by the members of each advisory. An important
element of our service program is having students learn from their
work with the community in ways that will contribute to their growth
as caring and compassionate citizens. Advisory provides opportunities
for students to share and reflect upon these experiences.
Each grade participates in a Chesed Day. Students choose from a wide
variety of chesed opportunities ranging from packing boxes to singing
with senior citizens, from serving food at a soup kitchen to baking
with developmentally disabled adults in a group home.
Additionally, students participate in many voluntary community
service projects reflecting their individual interests and talents. These
projects include “Midnight Run,” a Blood Drive, Chesed Missions in
Israel or in the United States, weekly senior center visits and several
tzedakah fundraisers each year.
Students and staff look forward to the SAR chagigot as we celebrate
together in song and dance. On Rosh Chodesh and chagim, the
entire school meets for words of inspiration followed by spirited
dancing. Students and staff bring their boundless enthusiasm to each
celebration as freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors bond in a
way that is both spiritual and fun.
Shabbatonim play a prominent role in the culture of SAR. Each grade
has its own shabbaton, followed by a school-wide shabbaton which
takes place each year between Purim and Pesach. These weekends are
an important part of school life, where students and staff are able to
enjoy each other’s company, have meaningful discussions, and learn
and daven together as a community. Students play a prominent role
in the planning and execution of various aspects of the shabbatonim
as they continue to develop their leadership abilities.
Every student belongs to an advisory – a group of 8-10 students
which meets bi-weekly with a faculty advisor. The advisor serves as
an academic and personal advisor helping each student maximize his
or her SAR experience. Advisory emphasizes an important SAR value:
teachers do not just care about students as students, they care about
students as people.
The advisory group is a comfort zone for students. In the groups,
students and their advisor discuss issues ranging from ethical
dilemmas to academic development, from current events to
controversial school issues. In addition, advisory groups engage in
informal activities, celebrate events and go on trips together.
Advisory time is also used to support grade unity and special
programming. Grades meet together to plan events, prepare for
shabbatonim and to discuss issues relevant to the grade as a whole.
The student government is the embodiment of SAR High School’s
belief in learning through exercising responsibility. It addresses
important issues facing the school community in a democratic,
collaborative fashion. Students play an active role in developing
activities and programs which contribute to school culture, reflecting
SAR’s commitment to developing essential leadership skills.