Sunday, September 30, 2012

Stop Pretending and Get Back to Work

Right now the only YDS in BC open on Chol Hamoed Succot is BPY. They are planning activities for the children that don't involve writing. Word on the street is that Yavneh will be open next year as well. They should ALL be open.

Principals will claim that halacha forbids writing on Chol Hamoed unless it is truly necessary or it is done "kili'achar yad" (in a backhanded fashion). Some schools in the past have told children to write with their left hands (or right hands if they are lefties) or to write with crayons, or something else that they don't normally use.

Here's the reality though. Instead of writing a few hundred words in school kids will be texting a few thousand words from home, which is arguably just as bad. And the parents will mostly be working, whether it is truly necessary or not (except those who can't work because their kids are off or they work for Jewish institutions). I'm pretty sure the poll to the right will confirm that.

I can't help thinking the halachic argument is an excuse for teachers & admins to take a week off while the rest of us work to pay their salaries. If we truly need to take this week off then it should be made up for on other days so that we can have the same number of school days as the public schools, who themselves have too few when compared to other countries.

Chag Sameach everyone!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Noam Slashes Pre-School Tuition

Looks like they finally caught up with Yavneh, RYNJ & Moriah in making tuition pre-school competitive with the new players in the market:

Thursday, September 27, 2012 11 Tishrei 5773

Dear Yeshivat Noam Parents of Incoming Buds and Kindergarten Students for 2013-2014,

In order to accommodate all of our parent body, as well as be sensitive to financial pressures within the community, we are pleased to inform you that we will be lowering the tuition for our Buds and Kindergarten programs, for the 2013-2014 school year. We are so appreciative to all of you who have contributed generously this past year with time and financial resources, enabling us to lower ALL tuitions this current year. Through a continued focus on budgeting and cash management, coupled with a record annual campaign, we are able to pass along this savings to our parent body, while maintaining our commitment to low student-teacher ratios and academic excellence.

We are pleased to inform you that the Buds tuition will be lowered while continuing to deliver excellence and innovation with the same low student - teacher ratio. The new revised tuition rate for each Buds student for 2013-2014 will be $8,950 plus $850 registration, totaling $9,800. In addition, the extended Buds hours (8:30am-3:00pm) that began this year will continue as a permanent change to the program.

In past years, some Yeshivat Noam families have elected to enroll their children in one of the less expensive local Pre-K options that are available. For this current school year of 2012-2013, we were able to fill our stellar Buds program with our current pricing. With our new reduced tuition rates and extended hours, we expect an even greater demand for our program. Therefore, we want to stress to all of our existing Yeshivat Noam parents that we will be unable to guarantee your child's spot in Kindergarten unless you enroll your eligible child in Buds for the 2013-2014 academic year. Of course, all siblings of existing Yeshivat Noam families currently have a reserved spot in our Buds program. However, families who choose not to confirm that reservation by enrolling their children in Buds risk losing a seat for their child in Kindergarten and beyond, if that spot is filled by a new incoming family.

We are pleased to inform you that the Kindergarten tuition will be reduced by $1,050 per student, while continuing to deliver excellence and innovation with the same low student - teacher ratio. The new revised tuition rate for each Kindergarten student will be $12,950 plus the $850 registration fee.

Recognizing the needs of working parents for whom affordable pre-care and after-care programs are vital, Yeshivat Noam offers a non-academic and less expensive pre- and post-care option. Pre-care is available from 8:00 am and post-care is available until 4:30 pm.

We know that September 2013 may seem like a long time away, but if you plan to enroll your child in Buds next year, please click on the Buds sibling application, fill it out and return it to the office by October 17th. Similarly, if you have a sibling who you plan to enroll in Yeshivat Noam for Kindergarten or Grades 1-8, please click on the Kindergarten sibling application or the Grades 1-8 sibling application, fill it out and return it to the school office by October 17th. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our Executive Director, Enid Anziska at 201-261-1919, ext. 124.

Wishing you and your family a Chag Sameach,

Rabbi Chaim Hagler Dov Adler
Principal President

Thursday, September 27, 2012

New Roc Torah Academy Seeks Principal

New Roc Torah Academy is an upcoming Modern Orthodox yeshiva day school in Westchester County that aims to re-envision the classroom to incorporate 21st century educational approaches. We are committed to excellence in Judaic and secular studies, and strive to foster in our students a love of Torah and Mitzvot, a deep commitment to Klal Yisrael, and Medinat Yisrael, and an understanding of the importance of Derech Eretz and Chessed. We recognize that each child learns differently; we plan to utilize a blend of face-to-face learning with computer-based learning, project based learning, and peer-led learning to provide high quality, differentiated education (collectively referred to as “Blended Learning”). Our goal is to educate our students to become active learners, analytical thinkers, independent thinkers, and problem solvers. We hope to model the school largely similar to the way Yeshivat He’atid (Teaneck) is planning on doing (opens Sep 2012), with education that is innovative, while financially sustainable, and can be replicated in other schools and communities. We are looking to fill our principal role with a student-centric educator who embraces technology. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for an educator to reinvent the future of Jewish education. We plan to open in September 2013 with a minimum of K-1st grade, and grow a grade per year. Responsibilities include: • working closely with the Executive Board to ensure successful implementation of school vision and goals • setting the tone of the school, including "hashkafa" • leading the implementation of a hybrid (technology / face-to-face / project-based) learning model (“Blended Learning”) • development of Judaic/secular curriculum • interviewing and hiring teachers/staff • supervise, mentor and evaluate all staff • staying current with the latest education research and practices • working with the Executive Board to promote the school and recruit students • representing the school at community events

For more information, please contact:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Community Talmud Torah Doesn't Open

Back in January we had a guest post about an after-school Talmud Torah program that was planned to open this fall somewhere in Bergen County.  It was to serve the needs of students who attended public schools but wanted to get a Jewish studies education.  Unfortunately it did not open this year & no decision has yet been made about the future.

I still think that if a Hebrew charter school can ever get off the ground then a combined program with the Talmud Torah could be a good, relatively inexpensive alternative to the Day School system for some parents.

Gnar Chatima Tova to all!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

So Far So Good...

He'atid had Back-to-School night last night & it seemed as though everything was running smoothly.  The teachers & parents both had mostly positive attitudes.  The classrooms were clean & decked out with brand new furniture built as a labor of love by parent volunteers.  It's a shame that the brand new computers are still sitting there practically untouched but I'm sure that will change after the chagim.  Privately I heard that the school is on the projected budget, even though they are operating at a deficit the first year as expected.  Anyone there last night have any thoughts?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Is Rabbi Knapp Reading This Blog?

Check out the email below from Yavneh.  Looks like they may actually start BEFORE Labor Day next year.  I'm sure some teachers will whine but consider that in Israel they started school on August 27th.  If we are going to have so many days off for the Tishrei chagim, is it so crazy that we need to start before the public schools that, at most, have only 3 days off for Jewish holidays?

Yavneh Academy - ישיבת יבנה
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Now that school is in full swing, I want to draw our attention to the start of school for September 2013. Precisely one year from today, the Thursday after Labor Day, we will be celebrating the first day of Rosh Hashana. Essentially that leaves but one day of school next year between Labor Day and Rosh Hashana. Past practice has been that Yavneh has started school prior to Labor Day when the calendar presents similar scenarios. While we have not yet convened to formally construct next year’s academic calendar, I want to publicize the strong likelihood that school will start before Labor Day next year.  The goal of sharing this email with you now is to avoid any potential end of summer conflicts.
Let us turn our attention to all the school days remaining for a wonderful 2012-2103/5773 school year!
Rabbi Jonathan Knapp

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

104 Days of Summer Vacation

Ok, more like 80 by my count.  [Anyone know how Phineas and Ferb got 104?]  I understand that kids need a break from learning but 2 weeks should be more than enough to rest their fragile little brains.  If we had school through the summer maybe we could shave a couple of years off the education part of our lives & spend a bigger portion being productive.  As it is now many people are in some form of school until age 25 & then retire at 62 & live till 80.  So that's less than half of our lives being productive.  And we are competing with countries like China that have school through mid-July with much of the rest of summer vacation taking summer classes or studying for entrance exams.

Anyhoo, I'm glad at least the "School of the Future" is taking a small step in the right direction by starting classes today rather than tomorrow as the other YDS's are. Yasher Koach to the teachers and staff for working hard last week to get everything ready so we don't need to waste more days with the kids at home watching cartoons or staring at their ipods.  Especially now that all camps and mini-camps are over.

By tonight we should find out if we have in BC the Greatest Educational Model ever created or the biggest train wreck since the Shalom Academy Charter School.  Or just a normal modern orthodox Pre-K to 1st grade. I'm thinking that 3rd option is most likely.  Teachers have said that the computer-based learning will be phased in after the chagim.  And this recent article in the Jewish Standard quotes the Principal, Rabbi Gralla as saying that "he expects first graders to spend 20 minutes a day on the computers for English or math. (Younger students will use them less.)"  So it's a pretty small component of the day & doesn't seem to be a major cost-saver.  Perhaps in the older grades, which are more costly to run, there will be more Blended Learning which will result in cost savings, though I still haven't gotten a good explanation of how.

Good luck and G-d bless to He'atid and BPY today!

To the parents and staff of the other schools, enjoy isru chag Labor Day!  Thank you for those who are working hard setting up the classrooms. Good luck and G-d bless tomorrow!