Milken Community Schools

Milken Community Schools is among the largest independent Jewish co-ed schools in the nation. Students in grades 7–12 experience an academic curriculum combined with Jewish studies and extracurricular activities such as robotics, athletics and performing arts.

Describe the learning environment at Milken Community Schools.

“Judaism is an inherently critical, collab- orative and creative tradition; those values are at the heart of Milken’s academic approach. Whether in a course on Jewish law, Shakespeare or United States government, Milken students learn to approach text as both a narrative and an argument. As such they learn to apply both an appreciative and a critical lens.

While students are ultimately assessed based on individual mastery and application of course content, the learning environment is collaborative as students are asked to work in small groups or pairs, known as hevruta. We believe it is essential for students to develop collaborative skills; their learning is bolstered by peer-to-peer interaction. We believe deeply that learning is an evolving and innovative endeavor that ideally results in the creation of sharp minds capable of tackling the world’s most complex problems.”

How do you balance the rigorous academics of a prep school with ensuring students are healthy?

“Questions about the balance of rigorous academics and healthy students assume that one is the enemy of the other. At Milken, we believe that academic achievement and truly rigorous learning is an important outcome of supporting health and wellness in our students. We also believe that student wellness is optimized in an academic environment where there is a deliberate balance between the difficulty of the learning tasks and the skill of the learner—ensuring that students are neither bored nor overwhelmed by academic challenges.

Three key programs at Milken support this work: a Health and Wellness department, positive education and student-driven scheduling. Our Health and Wellness department provides an advisory program, ongoing formal and informal, education and individual support for students in all areas related to fostering a healthy lifestyle. Faculty and staff, parents and students have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the field of positive psychology through a variety of workshops and courses, and positive education principles are woven into a variety of campus-based experiences. Our philosophy of student-driven scheduling allows students to make individualized decisions about their academic, elective and extracurricular commitments.”