March 14, 2018 was a remarkable day in our Middle School and it was not only because it was Pi day! On Wednesday, each one of our grades was involved in both planful and spontaneous experiential learning.
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In my last Principal's Perspective article, I described the important role that professional development plays in school improvement and shared information about the incredible consultants and trainers we have worked with this year to support students the areas of executive functioning, anxiety, and challenging behaviors.
When my now 24-year old daughter was in elementary school, I watched her sing and sign with American Sign Language (ASL) in the school’s aptly named “Fabulous Flying Fingers” chorus. At the time, I was teaching t’filah here at CESJDS as well as at my synagogue. As I watched her and her fellow students (most of whom were not hearing impaired) perform with such enthusiasm, I knew that, somehow, “hands” had a place in prayer learning.
One of the main goals we have at CESJDS is to help our students grow their inner mensch. During the Middle School years this can be particularly challenging given the number of hurdles early adolescents must navigate, such as hormonal and physical changes, cognitive changes, and the shift from focusing on child-adult relationships to peer-peer relationships.
This month marks the 10th anniversary of Jewish Disability Awareness and Inclusion Month (JDAIM). Jewish communal organizations across the country are participating in this month to raise awareness for the rights of individuals with disabilities.
I had the privilege of addressing the Class of 2018 at their Siyyum last Friday. Following is the message I shared with them: I'm reading a book titled How, written by a man named Dov Seidman. Seidman's message, which I absolutely positively agree with, is this: While what you do is important, how you do it is equally important, if not more important.
In my 40 years at CESJDS, I have worked with many classes and each group definitely has had a distinct personality. So, how do I see you, the Class of 2018? You are wonderful, accomplished individuals but what defines you as a group? Trying to find the answer to this question was a challenge. So, I turned to you for your input. I asked you how you would characterize your class.
Class of 2018, it is such a tremendous honor to be representing my esteemed colleagues at your Siyyum today. I have been fortunate enough to have taught virtually all of you in the graduating class, and I couldn’t think of a better way to send you off than to give you some life advice one last time. So, on that short note, I will do my best to answer the impossible – the age-old question – what is the secret to success?
Thank you Rabbi Malkus, Dean Landy, Mrs. Kaplan, for inviting me today. It truly is an honor to be here on behalf of the alumni community. And it’s wonderful to see so many familiar faces.
When I was asked to speak a few months ago, the first thing I did was turn to my wife, Leah, who graduated with me in the class of 2004, and said, ‘What should I talk about?’
I have been a student at JDS since August of 2005. It’s pretty surreal to think back on the 13 years I have spent here and all this school has given me. Most recently, my JDS experiences lead to a lot of material in my college application essays.
The STEM Integration Project, an innovative collaboration between the Charles E. Smith Lower School and The George Washington University, is well underway! The aim of this project is to create, implement and disseminate an integrated, STEM-rich Lower School (JK-5) curriculum, using the Next Generation Science Standards Crosscutting Concepts as an organizing principle and, through associated professional development, establish CESJDS as a leader in STEM education.
"If you are not changing and improving, you are falling behind."
This statement, or one similar to it, is a common refrain in the area of organizational leadership.
Today I had the privilege to join our 6th graders and some of their parents on a trip to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). Students, led by Jen Mendelson, explored the museum and its architecture and experienced Daniel's Story and the Syrian Refugee Virtual Reality exhibits.
This article was originally published in eJewish Philanthropy.
Recently in this space, Yocheved Sidof, shared a moving and personal reflection on her experience with pluralism in the Jewish community. I appreciated Yocheved’s thought-proving piece but felt that it did not represent the feelings I hear from students and graduates of my pluralistic school on an everyday basis.
I had the opportunity to speak with our high school students at Kabbalat Shabbat on Friday, January 12, soon before the Martin Luther King holiday. I shared some highlights of Dr. King's legacy--elimination of legal segregation in the United States, the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965.
In this week’s parshah, Va’era, God sends Moshe and Aharon to the court of the Pharaoh of Egypt to persuade him to let the Israelites go and worship in the desert for three days. To make sure the source of the message is clear, He tells Moshe to tell Aharon to throw his staff on the ground, and it will turn into a snake.
When I first entered the CESJDS community I was moved by many wonderful things I saw and heard. What struck me most, and continues to strike me, is the remarkable dedication of our faculty to our students.
This fall, the Middle School engaged in V'Ahavta Le'Rei'akha KamoKha/Middle School Community Building Day. This day of programming was designed to promote spreading kindness in our community, and provide a space for students to think deeply about the core values of the school and relate them to their experiences as middle school adolescents. Two of our Middle Schoolers, Sean Levitan (Grade 6) and Kaylee Fellner (Grade 8) each wrote a reflection on the day’s events.
It's academic jargon, the term "Whole Child Education," easily stated as part of a school's educational philosophy, but often incompletely implemented or executed. At the CESJDS Lower School, we embrace the challenge posed by our belief in the education of the whole child and purposefully fulfill it in ways that are unique to the Jewish Day School experience.
Rabbi Malkus and I wrote an article for the Fall 2017 edition of Hayidion, a periodical for Jewish Day School professionals. Following is a portion of that article, with minor adjustments, that highlights some of the core benefits of the CESJDS high school.