The Class of 2023 is and will always be the first CESJDS middle school class in what has become a thriving and strong middle school. As the first 6th graders here at the upper school you were initially disappointed about waiting until 8th grade for your grade trip, which was totally worth it! We also know that sometimes being the first made you feel a bit like guinea pigs.
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Reach for the stars. Class of 2026 - that is the charge that you have chosen for yourselves as you complete your years of study at the Lower School and prepare for the next chapter of your education and your lives.
At the beginning of this week, we celebrated the festival of Shavu-ot, also known as זמן מתן תורתינו, the time of the giving of our Torah. Our tradition teaches that it was at this time over three thousand two hundred and fifty years ago that the exodus generation received the Torah at Mount Sinai. The Jewish community around the world commemorates the anniversary of this event on Shavu-ot with a number of ritual practices, including late night Torah study and a reading of the Ten Commandments section of the Torah.
Picture the entire 8th grade class sitting, deeply reflecting upon, and journaling about the Portrait of a Graduate on their 8th grade trip to the South. Now picture the entire 8th grade class on the Shabbaton that immediately followed the trip, sitting in a quiet, contemplative circle, listening so intently to one another that one could hear a pin drop as each and every student shared what CESJDS has given to them as both students and human beings.
As a teacher, it became evident to me early on that my instruction could be more relevant to my students and more personalized to their needs. And as my work progressed, I began to see that the thoughtful implementation of classroom technology (referred to by some as “Blended Learning” because of the blend of human and technological elements) could help address this problem.
Roughly a year ago I wrote a piece titled The Value of Time Off. Immediately below is a condensed version of that piece (it bears repeating each year), and that is followed by a description of the three questions I’ll pose to our high school students at our closing assembly in a couple of weeks
My husband and I give to the Ma’ayan Annual Campaign because of our daughter and current 9th grader, Ellie. Ellie had in her mind for years that she would go to Madeira for high school because she loved horseback riding and she knew at that high school it could be part of her daily curriculum.
Even before my arrival at JDS, I had a sense of the profound meaning of the Irene and Daniel Simpkins Senior Capstone Israel Trip. This year, I had the opportunity to visit my daughter on the trip (over Pesah, along with many other JDS families) and I was overwhelmed with additional layers of meaning that the trip offers. The trip is the culmination of a Jewish education at JDS that, throughout, holds Ahavat Yisrael (love of Israel) as a core value.
With Pesach/Passover around the corner, I find myself thinking about the community oriented focus of the Torah and Judaism. One of the most important values of Pesach, and in my experience one of the pillars of the Jewish people, is that no one should be alone for seder.
During February, I had the privilege of representing BBYO at the Jewish Federations of North America’s annual Jewish Disability Advocacy Day (JDAD) Conference, along with over one hundred passionate members of the Jewish community dedicated to making our country a more inclusive place for all.
In my February Principal’s Perspective I wrote about college admission and included my interview of Sue Rexford, Director of College Guidance. Near the end, I wrote the following: When we consider education to be a means of self-development and self-discovery, of broadening our perspectives and developing the confidence and the tools to tackle a myriad of life’s problems, then I believe we can rise above our culture’s prodding to somehow link our self-worth with the name of the college we attend.
This past Sunday, eleven of us flew down to Atlanta, GA to join over 1,100 other Jewish educators from all over the globe for the 2019 Prizmah Conference. There we were encouraged to dream together. Several of our faculty members presented the phenomenal work that they are doing at CESJDS and how they and CESJDS are leaders in the field of Jewish Day School education.
Story Grammar Marker® is a manipulative and multi-sensory tool for narrative development that helps students develop reading, writing and speaking skills that are essential for academic and social success. Our learning specialists were fortunate enough to attend a training this summer with founder and creator, Maryellen Rooney Moreau.
We know that college education, graduate education, and the nature of paid work are different today vs. years ago. Nearly 20% into the 21st Century, high school education now prepares students for a less predictable, less-defined, and more dynamic future. Given this landscape, some argue that for high school education, content is no longer king--emphasis should be on development of thinking and communication skills that can be applied in any context, including contexts that none of us have yet envisioned.
Six members of the CESJDS Class of 2019 will join the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) this summer. The IDF, צה״ל in Hebrew, defends the existence of the State of Israel, its independence, and the security of the citizens and residents of the state. National military service is required for all Israeli citizens over the age of 18.
In today’s world, teachers have to teach about race and racism in our country, delving into the complexities of race relations throughout American history, the progress that has been made, and the areas in which growth and change need to occur. As a classroom teacher in a Jewish day school, I have embraced the challenges that come with teaching about race in a predominantly homogeneous class. Prior to teaching any unit centered on race, I consider several key questions.
In the Middle School we approach supporting our students through a holistic lens. One way in which we do this is through the strong partnership we have created between our Educational Supports Services (ESS) Learning Specialists and our School Counselors. Each week, the two teams meet together with Middle School administrators to review how students are doing, evaluate student growth over time, identify potential red flags, look for overarching patterns, and determine clear action items that we believe will help contribute to a student’s success.
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.
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.