CESJDS Links Blog
A guest blog sharing the voices, wisdom, and insights of the CESJDS community.
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Dr. Lisa Vardi has kicked off her tenure as the High School Principal for the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS). She most recently served as the Director of Teaching and Learning at the Bullis School in Potomac, Maryland.
During her 12 years at Bullis, Dr. Vardi also served as Director of Cross-Divisional Curriculum and Professional Development, Upper School Social Studies Department Chair, and Global Studies and Services Director. Prior to her work in independent schools, she was an administrator and teacher at Sherwood High School in Sandy Spring, Maryland, and a department chair and teacher at Leo Baeck Junior High School in Haifa, Israel. She has experience from outside the educational world as an executive at AT&T and the US Department of Commerce.
Roz Landy is the Interim High School Principal and Dean of Students at CESJDS.
Class of 2021. What a crazy year this has been, what an extraordinary journey for all of us, and especially for you. There were many days that I doubted that we would ever be able to hold a graduation ceremony, so I am thrilled that we are here today --- you, your parents, siblings, and faculty… all together to celebrate you.
Hello class of 2021, it is truly an honor to be here with you today!
I want to read you something from my senior yearbook.
“Experiencing the extraordinary is what happens when you win zimriyah and are screaming in a mosh pit with your entire grade. Everyone around is disgusting and sweaty, but you don't care because you’re having the time of your life. And it’s the feeling you get during Color war when you watch the entire school sing the Birkat Hamazon in unison, only to break out in blue and gold banter. It’s a feeling that people experience everyday in school but cannot find anywhere else.”
Congratulations to the Class of 2021 recipients of the various Departmental, Academic, and School Service awards conferred at the Dr. Stuart Lessans Siyyum Ceremony. Read the full award listing on CESJDS Links!
Class of 2021, it is our tremendous privilege and honor to be representing all of our colleagues at your Siyum celebration today. It has been a wild ride being your grade advisors these past four years! Throughout your time here at CESJDS, your grade has been described in a variety of ways by your teachers. We asked some of your beloved teachers to describe your grade with one word and a few responses we got include: growth, resilient, individuals, personality and WHOA! These words only begin to scratch the surface of your amazingness- both as individuals and as a group. This morning, Ms. Batson/Ly and myself hope to touch on some of the ways your grade represents these characteristics as well as give some advice before you all go your separate ways.
The Power of Community and the Locus of Morality*
Hinneh mah tov umah na'im, shevet ahim gam yahad. How good and how pleasing it is for us to sit together!
After the year we’ve just survived, I am overjoyed to be with all of you, face to face. We’ll never forget the disruptions to our lives. Or the lives we’ve grieved. Or the redefinition of a fact of life we’d taken for granted: what it means to go to school.
Community, Continuity, and Collaboration. Those are the words that immediately come to mind when we think about CESJDS. These cornerstone principles are what inspire us to support the school’s Ma’ayan Annual Campaign and make CESJDS among our top philanthropic priorities.
This year’s Middle School Innovation Minimester was one of the most invigorating and inspiring periods of this year and I am incredibly proud of what our faculty and students accomplished together. Our Innovation Minimester began the week prior to Pesah break and concluded the week after the holiday. Students met in small advisory groups with teacher leaders, explored Jewish values, followed their passions by choosing an affinity track to explore, attended seminars of their choice, worked in Innovation Labs with teachers available to assist, completed a process journal to reflect on their learning and thinking, developed their ideas and products, and finally presented to their peers about their work and the process they underwent.