We are excited to announce our new grant-funded Social Justice curriculum! We are working in an alliance with three other schools across the country (with the very original name of “The Alliance”). The schools are N.E. Miles Jewish Day School in Birmingham, AL., Hillel Day School in Rochester, NY and B’nai Shalom in Greensboro, NC. Dr. Melanie Waynik met with the other heads of schools and envisioned this program, a three-year curriculum focusing on social justice. In sixth grade, the students meet and work together on the same history and novel, The Lions of Little Rock. We all end in Alabama for a week, May 6- May 11. In seventh grade, the students will continue working on social justice but add the aspect of advocacy into the program. They will meet for a week-long program in Washington, DC. For the culminating year in eighth grade, the students will work on social justice and innovation in Israel. The students are enthusiastic and engaged in our distance learning and collaborative techniques with students around the country.
For the distance learning piece Melanie Waynik won a grant from the Jim Joseph Foundation which included money for a technology mentor. Rabbi Amanda has been working with Gregg Alpert from the Jewish Education Project and has learned a tremendous amount about distance learning. We put this into action as soon as she learned how to do it! (It’s also a great tool for snow-day learning)!
As many of you know, this year we are focusing on the history of civil rights and African American history. Morah Marcy’s units have focused on the historical time period of America’s civil rights movement, non-violence, facing resistance, and victories. Rabbi Amanda is teaching the novel, giving its historical context and connecting it to Jewish texts about social justice. Morah Marcy and Rabbi Amanda are loving the opportunity to create new curricular pieces and work together to enrich our students. We consider learning about these subjects as a moral imperative so that our students will become knowledgable, active American citizens.
We will be blogging and vlogging our experiences. We hope that you will follow along with our “trail to freedom.”
Rabbi Amanda and Marcy Thomaswick