Recently, the U.S. Department of Education announced the top 342 schools for 2017, receiving the National Blue Ribbon Honor. One of our Day School Educators’ Challenge grant recipients, Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford, Connecticut received this honor - the only Jewish school in the country and the only private school in all of Connecticut to achieve this.
Our involvement with our grant recipients runs deep. With every grant recipient, I have had the privilege of helping them plan and execute their projects, act as an advisor to the teachers and administrators involved with the projects, and assist them with determining if projects need adjustments for maximum success.
Since our number one priority is to make Jewish Education more effective, we are able to fund innovative ideas that can be implemented in existing middle and high schools. Through JEIC, we are able to help provide the tools to create and enhance a better place of learning, encourage a lifelong commitment and love of Judaism, and inspire our future leaders.
The Bi-Cultural Day School granted program, “Big Ideas,” uses a variety of teaching methods that focus on different ways to see the world and make decisions from a Jewish perspective. This process of redefining curriculum and aligning teaching methods was part of the application process for the National Blue Ribbon Honor. It further demonstrates how this unique teaching style, specialized to its holy mission does not detract from the school’s general studies effectiveness.
In Bava Batra 21A, the Talmud shares the story of the High Priest, Yehoshua Ben Gamla who initiated the required education for students from the age of six or seven across Judea, paid for by parents or the local charity plate The Talmud quotes Rabbis 150 years later in Babylonia proclaiming, “If not for him, the Torah would have been forgotten from the Jewish people.” The critical component of teaching our heritage and inheritance of Torah in a way this is prioritized and particular to Jewish students is to make our people unified and sustained to the next generation.
We are beyond proud of the success and accomplishments of Bi-Cultural Day School. Imagine what it would mean if more Jewish Day Schools were nominated as a Blue Ribbon school and recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. What would the impact be? What would our Jewish future look like?