Ms. Edna and the first grade students discussed Shabbat candles and their meaning. The students were then tasked with finding candles around their house and recording a video of what they’re used for. Learning from home brings it’s own unique opportunities for learning and real-life application.
Greensboro, NC — B’nai Shalom Day School received $4,500 from the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge’s (JEIC) 2020 Ignition Grant Program to support its recently launched program “Connecting the Unconnected,” a partnership of five Jewish day schools from small Jewish communities. JEIC Ignition Grants jump-start new or developing out-of-the-box programs that improve Jewish education in day schools.
Susan Siegel, the Head of School, explains, “this program is a a collaborative learning experience bringing together sixth through eighth grade students at five Jewish day schools in small Jewish communities (the “Alliance”) to apply Jewish texts, Jewish history, and Jewish values to real-world issues…through classroom instruction, virtual learning spaces, and real-world learning expeditions. In this program, students connect with students from other schools in Birmingham, AL, Woodbridge, CT, Omaha, NE, and Rochester, NY around the topics of Social Justice, Advocacy, and Israel.
“The program exposes students to the variety of Jewish practice while reinforcing that we belong to one Jewish people,” said Mrs. Siegel. “It helps encourage day school enrollment while overcoming the isolation in small schools.”
“We are enthusiastic about the Alliance’s approach to unsilo-ing students and using online resources to create synchronous and asynchronous online classrooms,” said JEIC Founding Director, Rabbi Shmuel Feld.
Over the past seven years, JEIC has supported more than 21 Jewish day schools’ innovations aimed at reigniting students’ passion for Jewish learning and improving the way Jewish values, literacy, practice and belief are transferred to the next generation.
JEIC is a bold initiative to catalyze radical change in Jewish day schools across North America by bringing together educators, funders, influencers, and consumers to challenge day schools to achieve their mandate of optimizing student internalization of Jewish wisdom, identity, and decision making in the modern world. Initiated in 2012 by the Mayberg Foundation and supported through multiple philanthropic partnerships, JEIC pursues lasting school change through directed funding, philanthropic partnerships, impactful conferences, and innovative educational enterprises.
Preschool students were so excited to get ready for Purim during a fun-filled morning with their parents! Parents dropped in for some Purim prep fun and together they made groggers, delicious Hamantaschen and engaged in Purim Loose parts activities. Enjoy the photos below!
Most trips to Israel include the sights, sounds, and tastes of the Jewish state. This past December, three local educators experienced so much more on their journey. The 2019 Partnership2Gether Educators Delegation sent 23 people (including Margaret Borrego, Jason Cathcart, and Edna Rubenstein) from all over the southeast to experience Israel through the eyes of educators. The group of early childhood educators, administrators, Jewish day school teachers, synagogue educators, and college professors traveled throughout the Hadera-Eiron region.
The first few days of the trip were during Chanukah, each American educator was matched up for home hospitality with a local Israeli educator. Shabbat was experienced through the eyes of local families. Since it was vacation time for Israeli schools, American and Israeli educators spent time together discovering Jerusalem. They had an inside look at museum education at the Bible Lands Museum, the complexities of the Holocaust were presented through the lens of Yad Vashem (World Holocaust Remembrance Center), and nature took center stage at the Rothschild memorial gardens of Ramat Hanadiv.
As Chanukah ended, the focus of the trip turned to local schools in the Hadera-Eiron region. Teachers from Haklai High School in Pardes Hanna presented methods of project-based learning that they implement every day in class. The students of Katzir Elementary school showed off their organic projects, including an amazing caterpillar farm. At Hadera High School, students from robotics, design lab, and entrepreneur classes explained how their education is impacted by the amazing resources the school provides them.
It was a unique trip that provided our Greensboro teachers plenty to think about as they returned. Continuing the people-to-people connections will ensure a better understanding of Jewish identity for both the American and Israeli educators. Note: Edna has already made connections with an Israeli educator who teaches English and will be doing some “pen pal” type communications with her elementary Hebrew classes. Margaret is facilitating a connection between some Israeli teachers and our school about gardening and permaculture.
Partnership 2Gether was established in 1994 by the Jewish Agency for Israel as a program focused on people-to-people interaction, community, and leadership. P2G, for short, currently connects approximately 550 Jewish communities in the Diaspora with 46 Israel Partnership areas. B’nai Shalom is a part of the Hadera-Eiran-SE consortium which consists of 11 cities in the Southeast U.S. and Prague. This allows us not only to connect with Israeli’s but with other small to intermediate-sized southern Jewish communities.
Sixth-grade students read, I am Malala, as part of their language arts class. They recently shared their thoughts and recap of the book with one another through an app called Explain Everything. Through this app, they are tasked with summarizing books and sharing thoughts, and ideas. The app is digital whiteboard where students can use everything from sketches, through PDFs, to videos, to turn an infinite canvas into a mixed-media playground that captivates and inspires students. One student created all of her own artwork to create the visual story. Check it out here: