Passover Generations

March 23, 2018 The sound of the Purim gregger is a wake up call that Passover is around the corner.  As soon as the last hamantaschen is eaten, anticipation of this next holiday begins. At Paul Penna DJDS, our students have been preparing for Passover by learning the prayers, blessings and songs from the Haggadah. […]

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Student Voice and Rocking the School Library

March 15, 2018 I have been thinking a lot lately about student voice.  When to listen? What to ask? How to hear it? Our students are our ‘raison d’etre’ yet they are often the last constituent group we listen to and dialogue with.  As part of the recent strategic plan, we held focus groups with […]

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Coding is a Gender-Neutral Language

March 6, 2018 An Interview With Dr. Amy Platt,  Written and compiled by Stefan Palios, guest writer.  Dr. Amy Platt began her career as an educator. After getting her PhD, she is now an administrator. As Principal of Paul Penna Downtown Jewish Day School, she’s working on how to bring technical skills and innovation thinking into […]

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Teacher Excellence

February 23, 2018 In a landmark study on student achievement, John Hattie, a very well respected educational authority from New Zealand, examined many of the influences on variance in student achievement.  He concluded that next to students themselves, the largest variant in how students do in school is their teacher.  Hattie goes on to examine […]

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Grit

February 1, 2018 Today’s message is a second reflection from my recent mission to Israel.  The context of my trip was a UJA sponsored Heads of School Mission with a focus on Israel Engagement Education.  The focus of the mission was seeing Israel as a diverse and multicultural nation. As part of the mission we […]

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Hand In Hand

January 24, 2018 This afternoon I visited an amazing school in Jerusalem: The Hand in Hand Centre for Jewish-Arab Education in Israel. The school itself looked special. It is constructed out of Jerusalem Stone and decorated with student artwork.  The faculty, children, families and learning experiences were spectacular. I witnessed the coexistence of Israeli Jews […]

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The Sacred Nature of Time and Calendar

January 19, 2018 Parshat Bo, this week’s Torah portion, contains part of the Passover story with which we have become so familiar because of the Haggadah.  The last of the ten plagues are sent upon the Jewish slaves in Egypt and the Jews flee in a hurry, without any time for their bread to rise. […]

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Where Everyone is Needed

January 15, 2018 We are a complicated puzzle of people. I went to the funeral today for a colleague from my previous school who was taken from this earth suddenly and too soon.  Barbi worked in the main office.  Her smile was bright and it was as if sunshine radiated from her eyes.  Her job […]

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Reading Resolutions for Ourselves and Our Students

January 3, 2018 2018 is upon us.  I have never been one for big New Year resolutions.  I am most reflective around the High Holidays in the fall and use that as a point to reset.  However, there is something about a new month and a new calendar year that calls for reflection and resolution. […]

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Library Roots

December 18, 2017 This past week, the last set of Chromebooks were delivered to classes.  There are now 85 Chromebooks and 24 tablets in the school.  The children have access to Google Classroom and as many resources as the internet has to offer.  It is an amazing accomplishment for our school and can be attributed […]

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