Student Union opens ‘hasbara’ room in effort to fill public diplomacy vacuum.
The technology laboratories that are a key feature of SuccessMaker and Waterford have contributed to increased student motivation. These projects are being upgraded and the expectation is that the new versions that are about to be introduced will produce even greater educational benefits.
It is noteworthy that the participating schools comprise a wide spectrum of day-school education. It may be expected that they would be institutions that focus more on secular studies than a typical yeshiva does. In fact, a number of major yeshivas are enrolled in Gruss academic programs and more are asking to join. Some months ago, a respected dean at a yeshiva outside New York called me three times and asked for me to assist his school’s effort to be included in CIJE programs.
In this connection, it is well to note the point made by Rav Elya Svei, the Philadelphia rosh yeshiva and the outstanding figure in American Torah education for a generation, to the effect that if a yeshiva allows a secular studies program to be ineffective and cares not about the progress its students are making, the results is bitul Torah or the neglect of Torah study.
CIJE has developed programs aimed at stronger students who need additional intellectual and academic challenges. As an example, for grades 5-9 there is the Excellence 2000 or E2K initiative which facilitates skills development in science. Installed so far in 68 schools, E2K also encompasses special training of day school faculty to enable them to effectively teach and inspire students in science and technology.
Add to this the state of the art science laboratories that have been placed, as of this writing, in eighteen specially selected elementary schools at a cost of about $75,000 for each facility. Additional schools are being brought in.
Then there are the interactive SmartBoards that CIJE is placing in day schools around the country. The rage these days in elementary and secondary education, SmartBoards essentially are the union of the old fashioned blackboard and a computer, with smartly done software added to the exciting brew. As a rule, new approaches in basic education tend to be oversold, and this may turn out to be true of SmartBoards because technology can only accomplish so much in view of powerful societal forces that often undermine the capacity of students to learn. But anyone who has sat in on a classroom demonstration can attest to the impact that it has on students, making for them the ordinary learning experience something that is marvelously exciting.
The further good news is that SmartBoard software is being developed for Talmudic study and other Judaic subjects. The painful truth is that for too many students, this is the part of the curriculum where they sort of check out. Hopefully, for these students Gemara will be transformed into a challenging experience.
There is more in the offing from Gruss and CIJE as new creative ways are being sought to improve the curriculum at yeshivas and day schools. It is small wonder that there is now much to celebrate in religious Jewish education thanks to the Gruss Foundation.
About the Author: Dr. Marvin Schick is president of the Rabbi Jacob Joseph School. He has been actively engaged in Jewish communal life for more than sixty years.
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Because let’s face it: Hamas obviously can’t defeat the IDF in the field, soldier against soldier
The residents of Gaza were not occupied by the Hamas; they voted for the terror organization in democratic elections, by a huge majority, by virtue of its uncompromising struggle against Israel. For this reason, the separation between the armed Hamas terrorists and those ‘not involved’ or ‘innocents’ is false. The Gazans are now paying for […]
As Peres retires, Israel fights sour legacy: Insistence on setting policy in line with hopes, rather than with reality.
Our capital was not arbitrarily chosen, as capitals of some other nations were.
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People test Israel every day to see how serious we really are in knowing when we are right.
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Germany’s The Jewish Faith newspaper ominously noted, “We Jews are in for a war after the war.”
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We now are in the season of advocacy of preschool, referring specifically to the education of children who are four years old.
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As we commemorate the fiftieth yahrzeit this Friday, the second day of Kislev, of Rav Aaron Kotler – the greatest Jew, in the opinion of even many of his fellow Torah luminaries, ever to set foot on North American soil – we are obligated to reflect on his achievements and the lessons he taught.
A major sociological characteristic and consequence of modernity is the tendency for people to join together in associations that express a common goal or interest or a shared experience. The United States has been a nation of joiners from day one and perhaps even before independence was declared. Alexis de Tocqueville described this tendency in Democracy in America, the epic prophetic work published a century and three-quarters ago.
There is constant talk of a tuition crisis, of the growing number of yeshiva and day school parents – and potential parents – who say that full tuition or anything close to it is beyond their financial reach.
Where children are emotionally and socially when they are not in school is a matter of growing concern for educators, especially in Jewish schools and other religious institutions.
It often seems that it’s always open season on teachers, that they are available for target practice in the form of harsh criticism or verbal and written abuse from current parents, former parents, current students, former students, administrators, lay leaders and, in the case of public education, public officials and the media.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/something-to-celebrate-in-day-school-education/2008/09/10/
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