As a child, I always thought it was interesting that the Jewish calendar and my school calendar were in sync. So just when I was preparing for a new school year, the Jewish new year was upon us and it was time to reflect on the coming year.
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This summer I had the privilege of participating in the Art of Leadership program at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education’s Principal Center. On our first day, our instructors took us to Project Adventure to enjoy a day of team building and experiential learning.
Shortly after school ended last year, I read a recently published book, Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain, written by Sarah-Jayne Blakemore. Blakemore is a professor in cognitive neuroscience at University College London.
As the student council grade representatives of the senior class, we want to welcome you to our first Kabbalat Shabbat of the year! More excitingly, welcome to your first friday of the year!
You might be wondering what we have been up to, or if we have been up to anything at all. We got the water bottle filter installed, and we’ve worked hard to create a science lab that is new this year, similar to math or writing lab. Now back to the approved program.
This summer, Director of Instructional Technology Ginger Thornton, Upper School STEM Coordinator Cassandra Ly, and teachers Terrilynn Platt and Rabbi Marci Aronchick attended a week long Teacher Maker Institute for Educational Technology in Palo Alto where they were immersed in STEM and the Maker Movement. Cassandra Ly has written a blog post about the experience to share the inner workings of the Institute.
This past year, our 7th Grade embarked on a year-long Holocaust and Human Behavior course, which includes a final capstone project. This year, the students created a Virtual Memorial to various people, places, and events of the Holocaust.
It is tradition to share some of the wonderful character traits that we have observed and grown to love about our 8th graders. In just one school year, it was clear to me that the Class of 2022 is remarkable in many ways. Here I share just a few.
Unplugging for the Summer: The first year I went to sleepaway camp was before my third grade year and I really didn’t know what exactly to expect. I knew that I was going to a Jewish overnight camp somewhere near Seattle, WA, that it would take about five hours to get there by bus, and that there would be lots and lots of different outdoor activities for me to enjoy all day long. While I was a very active child in a variety of sports, I also was a big television and movie kid.
Last Thursday night, the Greater Washington, DC community experienced a momentous event. After 43 years as a franchise in the National Hockey League, the Washington Capitals went into Las Vegas, were able to win their 16th playoff game of the year, and earned the right to raise the Stanley Cup and call themselves champions. As a native born and bred Canadian from Vancouver, watching the final minutes of the game, I was fully aware of what that victorious moment meant for the team, the fans, and this community. My hometown Vancouver Canucks were founded four years before the Caps in 1970, have reached the Cup Finals three times - all in my lifetime while twice playing a game 7 - but have yet to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup.
Welcome to the last KabShab of the year! Congratulations to everyone for completing (or almost completing) another full year of school.
This week’s parsha is Parashat Shelach. God tells Moshe to send 12 spies to Canaan to scout out the land. They return with an abundance of fruit and report that the land is bountiful. However, ten of the spies also claim that the land is filled with giants and cannot be conquered. Only Caleb and Joshua say that Bnai Yisrael should do as God said and conquer the land.
Have you ever worked hard to solve a problem, struggled and persisted mightily, only to have a solution arise when you diverted your attention away from the problem? Or have you ever worked on a piece of writing, reached a point at which you lost your "flow," set the task aside for a while, and then returned to it and made quick progress? I suspect most of us, if not all of us, have had one or both of these experiences.
Only twelve percent of engineers are female, according to computerscience.org. Statistics like this are the reason why it’s not just important to bring more women into STEM fields, but to get them excited about it.
The goal of CoderGals, a national organization founded in 2015, is to start this interest young. CoderGals clubs are all-girl environments so that girls can feel confident with themselves and never feel that they are alone in liking computer science. The clubs are also for students of various grades, which fosters bonds between the girls and contributes to the feeling of a powerful female community.
In my first Principal's Perspective article that appeared during the first term, I wrote about the concept of "Whole Child Education" and how it manifests in our school. We take seriously the importance of focusing our teaching and learning not only on excellence in academics, but also in the social-emotional, spiritual, and physical domains.
Last month, with contributions from several of our outstanding faculty, I wrote about the alignment of current CESJDS extracurricular activities with our Portrait of a CESJDS Graduate. It stands to reason that we think a lot about the education of our students in the present for the sake of their futures, and The Portrait is an inherently forward looking document.
A lot has changed about CESJDS recently, but I’m going to explain something that has remained constant since my high school days at JDS until my return this year as a math teacher. (And, no, I don’t mean the fantastic cafeteria cookies. That’s an article for another time.)
As a parent and educator I am constantly thinking about what the appropriate balance of authority is with my children and students and how to strike that balance. After all, my children at home and in school are human beings with their own experiences, worldviews, interests, and concerns.
Arts Chai-lights is fast approaching; the time where all of our students’ arts accomplishments take center stage. It is an evening celebrating arts education and the capacity for creation and artistic innovation within our students. Though once the evening is over, how do we talk about the arts with our students? What do we say when our students show us a piece on which they have been working or after a performance?
I work at a Jewish organization, Charles E. Smith Life Communities, and on my first day, I felt especially fortunate when I saw mezuzahs in doorposts throughout campus.
I am traveling in Israel with the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School group on the JWRP trip. We arrived in Tel Aviv yesterday. As I walked to my hotel room and saw the mezuzahs in all the rooms, it hit me: I am in Israel!
Rabbi Malkus, Head of School, and Dan Mendelson, President of the Board, recently introduced the Portrait of a CESJDS Graduate to our community. In their introductory email, they indicated that the Portrait represents both our current curriculum and our aspirations for our graduates.
Each morning at the Lower School, we recite this teaching from rabbinic tradition as a kavanah/statement of intent for the activity of our school day.