Upon reflection, I realized the source of my excitement about the start of the school comes from my deep-seated beliefs about the importance of Jewish day school education. There are so many compelling reasons to send your children to Denver JDS. Here are three that rise to the top for me.
We want to nurture what our kids experience in their physical space and social well-being at Denver JDS. As a PTO, we can help contribute to those objectives. PTO went through a process of asking for wish lists from both divisions, consulted with administrators and teachers, while focusing on the social, fun aspects for our kids. Here's what we're now able to do!
Both Craig and Shapir embodied chesed, as well as scholarship. Chesed, along with the other Divrei Chaim (Words to Live By) and middot (values) that are the foundation of the Denver JDS community are what truly prepare our children for their lives in the world. Teachers like Craig produce alumni like Shapir, graduates who are able to navigate life, in all its challenges and successes, with self-reflection, kindness, and scholarly curiosity.
PBL units are often grounded in real life scenarios and should be as “authentic” as possible. Our sixth graders recently demonstrated their expertise by taking on a science and English challenge: create a marketing tool, e.g. a website, travel magazine, or promotional video for a fictional island based on the island from Theodore Taylor's The Cay.
When I reflect and evaluate how we are doing as a school I look at the big picture. This time of year we get some important big picture data that indicates how the school is doing at preparing our students for the real world.
I really enjoy getting to experience and witness how science applies to real life. To me, that is the coolest part about Eureka Week and science at Denver JDS. Students have the opportunity to research something they find interesting, and then explore it further and make it relatable.
I really think what this week’s parashah is trying to teach us is that to help others be the best people they can be, first you need to be the best you you can be. In order to make others happy, you have to make yourself happy.
It sounds like we need to struggle. We need to be under pressure to create something great. If we just had things smooth and easy the accomplishment would not be as great. In some cases, maybe the greater the pressure, the greater the achievement. Appreciation for our weaknesses and the things that make us scared is so important because the product they give us could change our lives.
This Friday, February 1, our Lower Division students will participate in a Celebration of Literacy Day. Each year this day serves as a reminder of the power of books in the lives of our young students. From celebrating favorite characters, to chatting with authors, to simply listening to an adult share a book out loud — the day brings a feeling of joy about books!
Denver Jewish Day School began offering a Words to Live By (Divrei Chaim) Speaker Series at the beginning of this school year. I have attended all three of the events to date. Each time, I learn something valuable, not only as it applies to my kids’ education, but also for myself.
Like teachers of any subject, I hope to convince my students that the subject matter of our course lives not only in the classroom, but “everywhere.” Practically speaking then, my goal was for my students to create an experience that others would enjoy, using history as the raw material. The challenge of producing an “experience” for a real audience tends to bring out the best in students, in part because it draws on skills that go beyond what is normally required to complete an academic assignment.
By participating in the National Geographic Society's Geo Challenge, our sixth graders learned the value of cooperative learning, how to put creative thinking and problem solving into action, and the value of grit and determination.
If we can get kids of different ages to take risks, get out of their comfort zone and to learn to work together as a team in the vein of theater, then why can’t these same kids go out in the world and behave the same?
Kids are way more fun to talk with than grown-ups. Granted, their vocabulary and cultural context may not extend quite as far as most adults’, but they are wonderfully opinionated and thoughtful about the things that matter to them. So why is it so arduous to elicit more than a grunt or “fine” (if you’re lucky) as a response to the age-old question at pick up: “How was school today?”
As parents, it’s important to be able to navigate this complicated topic in age-appropriate ways. With help from organizations like The Blue Bench, we can do our part to recognize risky situations and teach children about boundaries and consent.
As I got ready to watch the Human Fountains on Thursday night at Denver Jewish Day School's Annual Dinner, I couldn't help but think of what so many people had asked me earlier in the night. "Can you believe what this group has turned into?" Most guests naturally couldn't fathom that a one-time Color War act could end up being shared millions of times online and eventually land on national television.
Parshat Pekudei mostly consists of the details relating to the mishkan’s structure. Essentially, the tabernacle, or mishkan, was a portable temple that the Jews used while they were wandering for 40 years. It is one of the most holy places in all of Jewish history. Because God’s presence was there, it makes perfect sense why the Torah would delve into such detail about the contents that lay within it.
What I’m seeing is teamwork and excitement and the building of community. It’s not that kids are rooting against each other, they’re rooting for one another. Each kid is being allowed to shine in his or her own way whether it’s winning points for his or her team through a board game, academic competition, a skit, a dance or some other performance or activity.
I built a PC because I want to be a computer engineer when I am older. I learned what all the different pieces do, like the power supply and the memory cards and the graphics card and mother board. The mother board basically supports everything and creates the computer from the other components.
At Denver Jewish Day School, we encourage our Upper Division students to join one of our sports teams. We have a no-cut policy, meaning that every child who wants to participate can. I recall numerous times watching a child start a season as an unsure participant — with little experience — and then blossom in just the space of a couple of months into a confident leader and, more importantly, a good teammate.
February is known as Heart Health Awareness Month. In our Lower Division physical education classes, we have been discussing what does it mean to be heart healthy? How can we lead physically active and healthy lives? Our students have discussed the concepts of heart rate, pulse, and how our blood and oxygen travel from our lungs to the heart and out to the rest of our bodies.
The more I understand what our children are doing, and the philosophy behind the school’s choices and priorities, the more connected I feel, and the more invested I feel in my choice to send my children to this great school.
There are many trips to Israel but HIP is uniquely powerful and educational. There is really nothing else like it and our school community is uniquely blessed to be able to offer such an impactful experience to our students.
In October, we invited all parents to participate in a survey to give feedback about our Judaic studies program, including the goals and the subject areas of focus. We received over 90 responses, spread between both divisions, and we are pleased to share some of the findings here.
Toward the end of October, we welcomed members of the Hebrew at the Center team. During their visit, they had the opportunity to meet with some parents and board members about our Hebrew program. We wanted to share some of the questions and answers that came out of those meetings related to the work we're doing to improve Hebrew for all of our students
Experiential Learning is about many things. It is certainly about community — having fun and bonding as a class. But it is also about curiosity — pushing one’s intellectual boundaries in a way that is just not possible in a traditional classroom.
Children are born curious; it’s our job as teachers and parents to channel their curiosity and provide a framework for exploration. We do this by giving students voice, fostering investigation of their interests, and providing spaces for authentic learning. Our creation spaces provide a place for students’ curiosity to flourish.