July 12, 2024
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SSDS Wins National Jewish Education Innovation Grant for International Baccalaureate

Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County is one of two Jewish day schools to win a national $50,000 grant from the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC) in recognition of an innovative, student-centered educational approach.

Funded by the Mayberg Family Foundation, JEIC is designed to “disrupt complacency and encourage innovation in Jewish day school education through implementation of revolutionary, practical educational models that are sustainable, accountable, and scalable.”

Inspired by the gold standard International Baccalaureate (IB) program, Schechter is the first Jewish day school in the nation to apply the IB framework to create a uniquely Jewish experience for students to connect their Jewish learning to the world around them and to turn their learning into action.

This grant will infuse the Middle School International Baccalaureate initiative Schechter began to implement in 2015 with new educational resources, teacher training, and technology that will help prepare the next generation of Jewish global leaders. “Raising Global Citizens in a Jewish Day School framework” will help motivate students to become Ohr LaGoyim – a light among the nations – and transform them into the next generation of globally-minded Jewish leaders who are rodfei shalom – pursuers of peace.

This new model focuses on challenging students to internalize their Jewish values, empowering teachers to create an atmosphere of global learning, and to make the study of ancient Jewish texts more relevant to 21st century students.

IB puts students at the center – how they learn as individuals with 10 different attributes – and emphasizes student growth through personal reflection. Because Schechter is a Jewish day school, an 11th attribute – rodef shalom, pursuer of peace – has been added.

This award acknowledges Schechter’s innovative approach to teaching both General and Judaic studies as a scalable, replicable model for other Jewish day schools around the world.

Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County is the second Jewish day school in the United States to apply and be accepted for candidacy for the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme. It was recognized as an IB candidate school in September 2015 and is currently pursuing authorization as an IB World School. These are schools that share a common philosophy—a commitment to high quality, challenging, international education that Solomon Schechter Day School of Bergen County believes is important for its students.

*Only schools authorized by the IB Organization can offer any of its four academic programmes: the Primary Years Programme (PYP), the Middle Years Programme (MYP), or the Diploma Programme and the IB CP.

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