When we were looking for schools for Joe we pretty much ruled out public schools in Philadelphia instantly. Adam went to public school and didn't like it and frankly the state of public schools in Philadelphia (center city where we live) is a bit sad. I went to a Jewish day school (Solomon Schechter) for elementary school and loved it (my yeshiva - modern orthodox - high school, not as much).
Since private school was going to be a definite we wanted to send Joe (and Ben now of course) to a school that we could identify with and one with a community we felt comfortable with and that we were excited to become a part of. We looked at a few local schools, Friend schools and a local progressive private school, and while they were nice and certainly physically closer (at least in miles, never mind that with traffic it could take forever to get to one or any of them) they just didn't get us excited.
We then looked at Jewish education opportunities in our area. There are a few synagogues that offer preschool programs but we liked but we would then be on the hunt for a school again come kindergarten. we looked at other area day schools and they were not a fit for us (and Joe wouldn't have been able to start until Kindergarten). Then we found KBA (thank you google!!) and I went to visit and fell in love from the minute I walked in the door. After spending an hour learning about the school and touring the building I couldn't wait to bring Adam.
Here is a list of features that sold us on KBA over our other Jewish school options:
1. The preschool program - so awesome that we could send Joe there from preschool through 8th without having him have to switch school. I only wish we had found KBA sooner so he could have started in P3.
2. The building - the bright and happy facilities.The artwork along the walls had us smiling and made the building warm and inviting. The care for the environment. It's wonderful that the building and school are so green.
3. The love of Israel (huge seller for Adam) and the Israel trip - what an amazing opportunity!
4. The education and program. The balance of Jewish education and secular studies is great, interweaving Jewish morals and values through out. We also really appreciate the integration of current technology in the middle school. I was particularly impressed by the art program. The after school offerings are also fantastic!
5. The amazing community. From the start we felt welcome and like we were being taken in by a family.
6. When considering the costs of a private education the value of a KBA education for the tuition is phenomenal!
Even when we take into account the travel from our home in Philadelphia (gas, toll, etc.) we are still more than happy we chose KBA. It only takes 30 minutes (less without traffic) to get from our house to school and that is the same or less time than it would take Joe to travel to a Philadelphia school on the bus or even car pool.