Heller High Fall 2020 Virtual High School FAQs

We have received a LOT of positive feedback about how we maintained our high academic standard after the transition to distance learning last semester. We are aware that there is a great deal of concern about the reopening of schools in North America - both in terms of safety and the quality of education in the event of continued distance learning. Based on feedback from Spring 2020 participants, and learnings gleaned from the semester, we feel that we can provide an excellent alternative in this time of uncertainty.
Heller High is a fully accredited high school by the Middles States Association of Colleges and Schools. There should be no problem transferring credits. Students should confirm this with their home schools. If helpful, our Director of Admissions will be happy to speak to guidance counselor if they have any questions.
Our small classes, devoted and accessible teachers, motivated students, and synchronous (real-time) instruction, as opposed to recordings or project-based work, all contributed to making the online program a success.
We will accept 10th, 11th and 12th grade students. Preference will be given to Heller High alumni and those who were registered for Fall 2020, followed by members of URJ communities and/or teens who attend URJ summer camps, and then the general community.
Almost all of our regular courses will be offered. A list of courses is available by clicking here. We will not be able to offer block scheduling (where the entire syllabus for the year is taught in one semester). As far as physical education is concerned, we will work with students who need a PE credit and are taking part in an organized sport/activity at home which can be documented. Students can take up to five courses besides PE. Our classes will follow standard syllabi, as listed in the course catalogue.
It might be possible to arrange a private course. However, the cost of a private course would be more than double the cost of a regular course.

These classes are at the core of our existence. We will, therefore, be offering a Jewish History / Israel studies seminar twice a week - once on Sundays and once during the regular academic week, usually on Tuesday. This seminar will not be for credit.

We encourage students to continue their Hebrew studies. Because of technical challenges resulting from the time difference, we cannot utilize our Hebrew faculty. Those students who would like to continue their Hebrew studies (for credit) either at the high school or college level can do so with our long-time partner - Gratz Academy/Gratz College.

The semester will begin on Monday, September 14 and will run through December 30. The general studies classes will take place 4 days a week - Monday to Thursday. We will do our best to take students’ locations (West Coast, East Coast, etc.) into account when building schedules, but cannot guarantee that there will not be some early mornings for West Coast students. The Jewish/Israel studies component will take place on Sundays, and once a week after general studies, usually on Tuesdays.
Rabbi Sykes (Principal), David Solomon (Assistant Principal), and Judy Goldstein (Director of Student Services) will all be available to students for academic and individual support. In addition, there will be madrichim (counselors) who will be in touch with students to both follow up on attendance and to provide additional individual support.
The counselors will run some fun activities (e.g. Israeli music, Israeli cooking, etc.) to create a sense of community. Activities may include special guest speakers who will address the students on a variety of topics.
By the August 16th registration deadline, students will need to commit to studying with us for the fall. We will then look at the registration and confirm that we have enough students to make it financially viable to run the program. A final decision will be made within a week of the registration deadline. We will be able to run the program only if we can cover costs, so it depends on having the minimum number of students and the range of courses. If these thresholds are not met, application deposits will be refunded.
The cost is for the online semester is as follows:

  • 5 courses and Jewish Studies/Israel seminar - $5,000
  • 4 courses and Jewish Studies/Israel seminar - $4,000
  • 3 courses and Jewish Studies/Israel seminar - $3,000
  • 2 courses - $2,000
  • 2 courses and Jewish Studies/Israel seminar - $2,250
  • 1 course - $1,000
  • 1 course and Jewish Studies/Israel seminar, $1,250
  • Jewish Studies/Israel seminar only - $250


Payment for Hebrew courses will be made directly to Gratz according to their price schedule.

At this stage we are still hopeful that we will have a real Spring semester. Unfortunately, we don’t have the resources to run a real semester and distance learning simultaneously, so the distance learning is for the Fall only. That said, if the situation does not allow for a regular semester in the Spring, we would be open to considering running distance learning until the end of the school year.
Unfortunately, we are unable to offer scholarship money at this time. We will certainly let you know if the situation changes.
Please contact Robin Kulwin, Director of Admissions at rkulwin@urj.org or (212) 650-4073.