This fall the Nashville Jewish community will embark on an inspiring and critical undertaking; a new Jewish high school will open its doors to its first cohort of ninth graders. Building on the success and high standards of Nashville’s current Jewish education system, This school will provide much-needed continuity in Jewish education during students’ formative high school years.
Drawing on the knowledge and experience of national Jewish educators and some of Nashville’s most renowned pedagogues, the school will deliver an educational experience not yet available to the greater Nashville community. Based on Jewish values and best practices in the field, the school’s mission will be to provide an exceptional academic experience, with a focus on Judaic Studies, critical thinking, community, and perseverance.
Dr. Bob Berk is a past Head of School at Akiva School and an educational consultant. Berk, part of the high school’s development team, emphasized that the school’s small class sizes and project-based approach to learning will effect a “high expectation of understanding. Students will learn how to look at a piece of text or subject, ask questions, and figure out the path to answering those questions.” Berk says this approach will be implemented across curricula, from Talmud to biology, and will prepare students to pursue whatever paths of education they seek. Students will become the innovators, developers, and leaders of tomorrow.
Ron Heady, a retired educator with over 40 years experience as a high school and middle school teacher, is part of the curriculum design team for the school. According to Heady, this is an “opportunity to create a high school experience altogether focused on what students need.” Heady explains that the high school will give students the space and opportunity to engage in their studies in distinctively effective ways. By the time students matriculate, they will possess a diverse representation of their skills and expertise.
At the core of this school’s mission is a philosophy of productive citizenship. By virtue of its small size and teacher to student ratio, it can make its learners central to their educational plan and empower them to become diverse thinkers and changemakers. Heady believes that by realizing these ideals, this high school will become a standard for what Jewish education in the 21st century should look like.
Read about Kehilla High School in the Nashville Jewish Observer
When Carson Pounds starts high school next Fall, he will grab his backpack and head off to a brand-new Jewish Community High School on the grounds of The Temple. The still unnamed school is the result of a collaboration between Rabbi Mark Schiftan of The Temple, and Rabbi Saul Strosberg of Sherith Israel. At first glance, it may seem an unusual partnership between the Reform and Orthodox ideologies. But both Rabbis say the shared vision is a natural outcome as each is passionate about providing local students with high quality education, tailored to the needs of the individual...