North American Jewish Day School Conference was a proud moment for our school. As part of Monday morning's program run by the Yeshiva University School Partnership challenging Orthodox Day Schools to boldly re-imagine themselves as places of 21st century learning, I had the pleasure of presenting some of the work our faculty has done over the last three years as part of our Curriculum21 Initiative.
My presentation, all of which you can see online, was called Teaching Ancient Texts to 21st Century Kids. I began by sharing the standards we recently adopted for 21st century learning across all disciplines and grades in our school, which include a section on "Religion and Modernity." That was followed by sample units, ranging from 3rd grade through 12th grade, of innovative approaches to Judaic studies that our teachers have developed and recently implemented in their classrooms. While some of the units represent relatively small steps toward integrating 21st century learning and others represent wholesale paradigm shifts in Jewish education, all of the units represent steps we are taking as a school toward equipping our children with the skills we feel they will need to be religiously and spiritually successful in the world they are headed to.
The feedback was overwhelming. I heard it, Mrs. Gersten heard it, and Josh Kahane heard it. It was heartwarming and reaffirming. It told me that we're not only on track to dramatically improve the quality of education for our children here in Memphis, but that our efforts may well help advance the field of Jewish education as a whole.