Frequently Asked Questions
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy is an online school of Jewish Studies for students in grades 6-12.
Q: Who can take courses?
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy works with two course models.
a) Jewish schools may register their students in Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses. Their students join cohorts made up of students from other like-minded schools .
b) Interested parents may also register their children who are enrolled in public, private, or homeschools and who would like to continue their Jewish education. These students participate in courses in small cohorts or complete the coursework independently.
Q: Does Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy grant diplomas?
A: No, Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy is not a diploma-granting school. In the case of school enrollment, students receive credit from their local schools. Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy provides completion certificates for students upon request.
Q: Is Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy a non-profit organization?
A: Yes. Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy is a registered non-profit in the United States and Israel.
Q: What are Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy’s affiliations?
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy is an initiative of The Lookstein Center for Jewish Education, School of Education, Bar-Ilan University. The Lookstein Center has worked with Jewish schools across the world for more than thirty years. Bar-Ilan University is a leading university in Israel that has the largest Jewish Studies faculty in the world.
Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy is sponsored through grants from foundations and other partners.
Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy Academic Level and Quality
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy believes that online education can be a powerful instructional tool for Jewish schools. Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy is not intended to replace a traditional school, nor does it advocate for fully online programs.
Q: Who develops curriculum and creates course content?
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy’s course development team—veteran Jewish educators, instructional designers, academic and pedagogic consultants, assessment specialists, graphic designers, programmers, writers, and multimedia specialists—works collaboratively to produce rigorous and highly engaging courses.
Q: Who teaches Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses?
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy’s teaching staff is made up of exemplary educators who have taught in Jewish schools – both day and supplementary – and other Jewish educational frameworks. Most have more than a decade experience and graduate degrees in their discipline. We work to ensure a good match between teachers and students/schools.
Q: Are your courses evaluated?
A:Yes, our courses are evaluated regularly by independent evaluators to ensure they meet iNACOL standards and a variety of measures of Jewish educational quality.
Q: How do Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses compare to the courses in Jewish schools?
A: All Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses are designed to be academically challenging, engaging, and interactive. Over 90% of our day school students report that the intellectual challenge of their Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy course is comparable or exceeds the challenge of their courses in their local school. Depending on the year, between 90-100% of participating day schools report that Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses were “as good or better” than courses offered in their schools.
Q: Are Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses academically appropriate for public school students?
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy’s courses are appropriate for motivated students who are eager to learn. These students will be actively looking to expand their Jewish knowledge and enthusiastic to pursue Jewish studies outside their regular school framework. Please contact us for more information.
Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy Student Experience
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy has a range of courses. Depending on the course, between 1.5 hours and 4 hours per week.
Q: What should students expect from a Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy course?
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses are hands-on and highly participatory. Students are expected to log in to LMS daily to read updates and complete their coursework, whether it’s reading the unit’s study guide, adding their voice to a class-wide discussion, or working with a peer on a collaborative project. Students work both asynchronously (not-live) and synchronously (live) throughout the semester.
Q: How do students interact with their classmates and their teacher?
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses are designed to be highly interactive. Students connect with their classmates individually and as a group through a range of assignments and discussions. Our courses feature virtual chevruta (learning in pairs), debates and round robins, collaborative wiki work, and peer assessment. Teachers engage with their students regularly, email conversations, one-to-one or small group sessions, and full class meetings. Teachers have weekly online office hours when they are available to review course materials and talk about concerns. Additionally, teachers and students schedule individual or small group meetings as needed.
Q: How do students build relationships with their classmates and their teacher?
A:Students build relationships with their peers by working together on collaborative assignments and through the give and take of conversations, both synchronous and asynchronous. Students tell us that they have reconnected with friends that they know from youth groups and camps in Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses. Teachers comment on students work regularly, connect with them via email and one-to-one video chats.
Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy Logistics
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses range between 6 and 14 units in length, taught over the course of the semester. Depending on the school calendars, public and Jewish holidays, semester-long courses may run anywhere between 14-17 weeks. Individual students not enrolled in a cohort may move at their own pace throughout a course.
Q: When do courses begin?
A: In school cohorts, Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy works with the schools to determine the best point to begin a class. Typically this is within the first two weeks of the semester. Individual students may enroll in an ongoing basis, including over the summer.
Q: How many students are there in each class?
A: Cohorts are limited to 25 students. Average size is 21. Individual students may study independently or in small cohorts of 3-5 students.
Q: How do Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy classes integrate into a school’s existing course of study?
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses supplement a school’s existing course of study. Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy has worked with schools to offer increased course offerings, provide differentiation and enrichment opportunities, and fill permanent and temporary gaps in teaching staff. Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses are meant to be taken in place of a current course on offering by the local school. Except in special circumstances, we do not recommend that Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses be added as an additional course.
Q: How does Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy schedule synchronous (live) sessions in the cohort model?
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy recognizes that each school follows an independent schedule (e.g. block scheduling) and calendar (e.g. school trips, color war, PD days). Before a cohort begins, representatives from participating schools meet online with a Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy staff member and work together to determine a common course calendar and the best times for live sessions. In the event that a school/student is unable to participate in a scheduled live session, all live sessions are recorded and available.
Q: What is Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy tuition for schools?
A: Tuition for semester-long courses is $430 per student per semester. Volume discounts are available for schools that enroll more than 10 students annually, dependent on the specific enrollment details. For a school specific price quote, please contact us. For information for families, visit www.looksteinvirtual.org/families.
Q: Are scholarships available?
A: Scholarships may be available for schools if certain criteria are met. Scholarships are limited and priority is given to schools that register early. Please contact us to determine if your school is eligible for a school-wide scholarship.
Q: What are the technical requirements for Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses?
A: Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy students need a working computer/device, webcam, headset, and access to the Internet. The specific technical requirements for Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy’s LMS and web conferencing platform are available here.
Q: Can I see a sample Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy course?
A: Yes. Please be in touch to schedule a course tour.
Q: How do I register my students/children for Lookstein Virtual Jewish Academy courses?
A: Schools can their students register here.
Parents can register their children here.