At this stage in my life, I view just about everything through the lens of both an educator and a parent. Each decision means considering aspects through both of those lenses, and it is through both of those lenses that I write today.
As an educator, I have 14 years of experience in the field of Jewish education, working with populations from youth through teens and up to adults. I have earned a Masters degree in Jewish education, a Doctorate in education, and certificates in Advanced Jewish Studies, Day School Education, and Jewish Educational Leadership…and I am the new Dean of the Lower Division.
As a parent, I am the mother to four incredibly energetic and wonderful children. My oldest is currently a first grader at DJDS, and I spend a lot of time making cookies, preparing boo boo ice, and reading bedtime stories.
As both an educator and a parent, I am so excited to be part of the Denver Jewish Day School family because at this school, both of my lenses converge, and I can honestly say that this is a really amazing place.
When looking at schools (from both the parent and educator lens), I have three main questions: What are the school’s priorities, and in which direction are they moving? How committed are the teachers and staff to the success and well-being of the students, and what are they doing to ensure that? Is this the best place for my child? (Okay, I guess that one is a little specific to my parent lens).
Well, our priority at DJDS is to make this the best possible learning environment for all of our students, so that they will thrive not only in the classroom, but also in the world of the future. We stay up to date on all of the latest research in the field of education and integrate it right into our practice while also staying attuned to the students’ social-emotional well-being, helping them to navigate the world that they’re in right now.
A mentor of mine once told me that today we are preparing our students for jobs that don’t even exist yet. How on earth to plan an educational program with that in mind? We do so by focusing on communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity. We don’t just infuse these skills into our curriculum, but we use these skills as the basis of our curriculum, by encouraging the students to engage with each other and the world around them in new and innovative ways.
We also focus on the middot, the Jewish values, and other parts of our tradition as a means of ensuring our students use the skills for the betterment of the world. Sometimes people complain that life doesn’t come with an instruction book. But we DO have an instruction book: It’s called the Torah. It is our framework for living, and it pervades throughout the hallways.
We as a staff have set this year as a year of growth. Our priorities for our professional development reflect that emphasis as we focus on growing in the areas of project-based learning and integration of educational technology. We are also pushing our teachers to think about their curriculum in new and different ways, to embrace 21st century learning.
DJDS teachers are incredibly committed and passionate. I am awed by my colleagues, inspired by them to raise myself to the next level, and supported by them in my own growth.
On a personal level, I want for my children to succeed not only today’s world, but in tomorrow’s world, as well. I want them to have the opportunity to do whatever they want with their lives, to set out equipped with the skills they need to thrive. I want for them to understand their place, their role, and their obligation as Jews, applying that understanding as a filter for their everyday actions.
So, for me, this is the best place for my child. I say that not only through my educator lens as the Dean of this school, but also as a proud parent of a student at this school. I am so excited for him to be a student here. I am so fortunate to be able to call myself a parent of DJDS student, and I am so thrilled to be a part of this family.