June 24, 2024
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BCHA Launches Student-Produced Marketing Podcast

 

Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy (BCHA) in Stamford, Connecticut, has an exciting initiative planned for the 2021-22 school year. The school will be starting a student-driven and student-managed marketing project: The Podcast Project.

Rabbi Shimmy Trencher, BCHA principal, commented: “Most of the time, we get our ideas for special projects, clubs and initiatives from the students themselves. However, every once in a while, an idea comes from the faculty. The Podcast Project is one of those, and what’s most exciting about it is that it’s going to connect students throughout all of our divisions. The project is the brainchild of Adrianne Robinson, a BCHA Lower School teacher who is also our director of communications.”

Rabbi Trencher continued: “Since we’re now a pre-K through grade 12 school on one campus, there is a tremendous opportunity to facilitate high school students contributing to the greater school community. Adrianne realized that creating a podcast project would be an ideal way to accomplish this goal while also engaging students of all ages. Students will be creating mini-segments that feature a range of topics and involve interviewing teachers and students from preschool through grade 12. Topics will likely include perspectives regarding Jewish holidays, current events, news from Israel and school happenings across divisions.

“Additionally, the Upper School students are very connected to their older peers, alumni who are studying in Israel or serving in the IDF. We plan on featuring the experiences of these former students as well. All in all, this is a way to enrich the entire school community.”

Rabbi Trencher said that once the academic year begins, student leadership will be selected and, guided by faculty support, the plan is to delegate the Podcast Project to a dedicated group of students. Some will co-host the podcasts, others will mix the audio, still others will manage the marketing, and others will take responsibility for a complementary social media component.

BCHA was established as the result of a merger three years ago between Bi-Cultural Day School, which had been Stamford’s Jewish day school since the ’50s, and the Jewish High School of Connecticut, a small eight-year-old area Jewish high school. Now called Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy (BCHA), the school is a pre-K through 12th grade Modern Orthodox school. The Upper School has students not only from greater Stamford, but also from throughout Westchester and Fairfield counties and beyond.

“I’m really pleased that since the merger, families outside of Stamford are starting to discover and take advantage of our school and the unique, student-centered approach that we provide,” Rabbi Trencher said. “Originally, the school was called Bi-Cultural Day School. [It was] founded in 1956 by Walter Schuchatowitz, affectionately known as ‘Mr. S.,’ who served as principal for 49 years. … The goal, which is still being realized to this day, was to create a school under Modern Orthodox auspices that could be a welcoming home to Jewish children and families from across the denominational spectrum. Here we are, 65 years later, and the school is now a pre-K through grade 12 school that strongly reflects Mr. S’s original vision.

“The mission of our school includes two unique aspects: Firstly, we place a strong emphasis on good character as a necessary outcome of a Jewish education. And secondly, while the school is Modern Orthodox in terms of its Hashkafa, we pride ourselves on being a school that is open to Jewish students of all backgrounds and denominations and at which all students and families feel welcome.

“Specifically in terms of the Upper School, as the high school years are the transition between childhood and adulthood, we have an additional credo that guides in helping our students grow to their full potential: Our goal, achieved through teaching content, skills and habits of mind and heart, is to develop all of our students into ethical, passionate and responsible young people capable of and committed to contributing to their communities and to the world through Jewish practices and values.”

Rabbi Trencher added: “At BCHA, we customize a plan that enables [every student] to grow academically, socially, emotionally and religiously. No one slips through the cracks. Of course, that benefits students who might struggle in school. But it also benefits our students who are academically strong, to whom we provide UConn college courses, ACT/SAT tutoring on-site and concierge college guidance. Simultaneously, we are a warm community of teachers and learners, and the instructors go out of their way to build relationships with students and support them in their growth. … I think that’s why, when we did a recent parent survey, we found that 100% of our current parents said they would recommend our school to others.”

Rabbi Trencher summarized the new initiative and how it aligns with the school’s mission: “At some schools, leadership is for the top 10%. At our school, it’s for the top 100%, which highlights the importance of creating a range of opportunities for students to take charge and discover the ability to contribute.”

For additional information about the Bi-Cultural Hebrew Academy, visit their website, https://www.bcha-ct.org/.

By Ellie Wolf

 

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