Members of the Class of 2019, it is a sincere pleasure to have been chosen by your particular class as faculty speaker. As a grade, you are beloved by the teachers at JDS for qualities you possess that make you very special. You have always been an easy group to teach. You are an incredibly talented grade, as we’ll hear more about today and Sunday.
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This month marks the 11th 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.
Picture this: You graduate from JDS. You travel to Israel with all your friends. You are in your freshman year at college, and you land your first summer internship. Summer is here, and it’s your first day on the job, somewhere in Virginia. You’re late because you don’t know where you’re going. You find the place, you are rushing to get there somewhat on time.
Change is hard. I have been a student at CESJDS since kindergarten, and the thought of leaving is, for lack of a better word, weird. In my life I have a routine: I go to school, hang out with friends, participate in a variety of after-school activities, and spend time with my family.
In Pirkei Avot, the Ethics of our Fathers, it’s said that we have three names in our lives: The name we are given by our parents. The name we come to be known by. For you, Class of 2019, maybe this is what’s on the back of your senior jersey. The third name is much more than a name. It’s the essence of who we are, what emanates from us out into the world. It really can’t be encapsulated with just one name or one word. I have some thoughts about how to develop this third name that I’ll share with you now.
It is always a privilege for me to speak to the senior class at their graduation ceremony, but, because of who you are, this is an especially meaningful year for me. You, Class of 2019, entered the high school with a reputation that made all of us excited to welcome you to the ninth grade. Your lower and middle school teachers spoke about your kindness, your accepting nature, and your willingness to look out for one another. You had opinions and you were not shy about sharing them, but you always did so with respect and an open mind.
A recent Washington Post article about colleges’ early admission programs highlighted two of our soon-to-be graduates, Henry and Kate Sosland. Henry and Kate found success via early admission, yet, “They didn’t flaunt it. They knew the numbers for many schools were brutal.”
The Jewish community's voice has always been strong, particularly when it comes to Tikkun Olam and helping others in need. Also, legislative and grassroots advocacy have always been important too.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) education is all the rage in the United States and beyond as schools work to prepare children for a rapidly changing and developing world and for jobs that have not yet been invented/created.
The CESJDS Middle School is committed to offering an exceptional program where innovation meets tradition. This past summer our Middle School team took a serious look at our Health and Sex education curriculum. We believed it was time to find new and better ways to engage our students in an important conversation with considerable consequences.
I remember exactly when I realized that I needed to make a change in my classroom. It was November of last year. The students were ready for Thanksgiving Break and made sure to show it to me by being overly antsy. I figured it was just the time of year and that after a few days off they would return to a more calm state.
In my September Principals Perspective, I referred to a recently published book, Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain, written by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. In her book, Blakemore presents brain-based evidence that adolescents are often concerned with how others, especially their peers, view them.
“What does it mean to be Jewish?” I asked my mom. I had just started sixth grade, and my new friend Nancy had told me she didn’t go to church because her family was Jewish. I really liked Nancy. She was adventurous and direct. I hoped that being Jewish was not going to be a problem.
The holiday of Hanukkah is one I look forward to each year as it brings light to the winter that is settling in around us. At CESJDS we make sure to celebrate this light each day of Hanukkah for which we are in school.
Since I was in fifth grade I have always dubbed myself as a ‘STEM girl.’ Maybe it was because I felt a sense of accomplishment when I was able to tackle one of Mr. O'Brien's challenging problems, or maybe it was just me rebelling against my parents’ liberal arts lifestyle, but I always knew I loved STEM.
Recently, I was fortunate to attend a lecture by Dr. Yehuda Kurtzer, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute of North America. He spoke about the current state of Jewish institutions and Jewish life in America, and with impressive clarity and articulation, he conveyed that we are a people in flux.
What is social thinking and what does this have to do with our curriculum at CESJDS? According to the Wikipedia definition, social thinking is what individuals do when interacting with other people: namely, they think about them.
At CESJDS, we take a purposeful approach to “education of the whole child.” Last December, I wrote a Principal’s Perspective on what that term means for us here at the school and if you are interested in reading or revisiting it, I am pleased to be able to share the text of that article with you here.
Several years ago, when I lived in Boston, I attended yoga classes on a daily basis. While there are many lessons that I learned from these classes, one has stuck with me and proven important to apply in both my personal and professional spheres.
The CESJDS Portrait of a Graduate articulates the School's mission and core values in terms of specific high-level student outcomes. One section of the Portrait refers to graduates who are ethical, responsible, and compassionate global citizens