The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Subject to change

Administration adjusts Upper School curriculum
Adin Halbfinger

Several high school courses and programs are getting significant updates this school year. The freshman biology course will now be organized around storylines, the junior Hebrew curriculum will be centered around the theme of positive psychology and a Talmud II ECP class will now be offered to the sophomore class.

The updated biology “storylines” lesson plan is based on a curriculum designed by Next Generation Science Standards, a national effort to create new education standards. Melissa Andrew, ninth grade dean and high school biology teacher, is introducing this approach to connect biology to real-world scenarios. Each storyline will start with an anchoring phenomenon, a video or other forms of media, that will prompt discussion about new concepts.

“It’s almost like you get to practice being a scientist, and that you’re making an observation [about the anchoring phenomenon],” Andrew said. “You’re following the scientific method by making an observation and then starting to ask all of the questions that would be generated from that observation.”

The Hebrew department is also implementing changes to their curriculum that are meant to appeal to students’ welfare and build confidence in their Hebrew skills. According to Upper School Hebrew Language Chair Shelli Putterman-Kennett, the new junior year curriculum will focus on positive psychology and identity.

“Through the use of authentic materials, various activities, projects and interactive lessons, students will use the theme of happiness and positive psychology to learn more deeply about themselves, about their well-being and how they can help themselves think in a positive way,” Putterman-Kennett said.

The goal is to focus on developing important skills like research, public presentation and comprehension of current events, in addition to building Hebrew language proficiency.

Along with these curriculum changes, a new policy regarding SSL hours is being introduced to the ninth grade. Students will still need to complete 80 hours of service to graduate, but the direct service requirement has been removed. Instead, a new community service program called “Taking on Tikkun Olam” is being rolled out, with a focus on transitioning students to view community service as a learning experience.

“I don’t want community service to feel like it’s a requirement or a chore, but something that students can meaningfully engage and connect with,” High School Principal and Campus Head Dr. Lisa Vardi said.

In order to support this experience, freshmen will learn in their advisories about various local volunteering organizations, listen to guest speakers and visit local non-profits.

Senior Alec Silberg, who accumulated 68 service hours with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), agrees with the importance of building a connection with specific organizations.

“Going deep into one organization made my work more meaningful and let me get a good understanding of LLS and their work, what I like and even don’t like about it,” Silberg said.

Each of these new curriculums and programs are being implemented with the goal of enhancing the student experience and cultivating a meaningful learning environment.

“It’s about making sure that our students have outstanding programming, [and] excellent opportunities,” Vardi said.

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About the Contributors
Kaylah Goldrich, Editor-in-Chief
Kaylah Goldrich is so excited to continue her work on Lion’s Tale as Editor-in-Chief after previously serving as the Sports Editor. She enjoys writing and editing articles and loves designing spreads for the monthly print edition. Outside of the newspaper, Kaylah is a proud co-captain of the debate team and a player on the varsity soccer and softball teams. She spends her free time being a diehard Yankees fan and can always be found watching a sports game. Kaylah is very excited to take on this new role and cannot wait to work with the new editors and reporters.
Ella Waldman, In-Depth Editor, Director of Social Media
Ella Waldman is incredibly excited to continue her work on Lion’s Tale as In-Depth Editor and Director of Social Media after having previously worked as Features Editor and then News Editor. She loves working on articles and design and is excited to work with fellow editors to enhance the publication. Outside of Lion’s Tale Ella works as Editor-in-Chief of the Bohr Franklin Science Journal, co-captain of the debate team, president of Tikkun Olam Club, serves as a STEM Fellow and plays on the varsity girls soccer team. Ella is looking forward to an incredible year working on Lion’s Tale.
Adin Halbfinger, News Editor
Adin Halbfinger is enraptured by the opportunity to continue his work as News Editor this year. He loves updating his peers about all news occurring both in and out of our community, and hates the Oxford comma. In addition to Lion's Tale, Adin is involved in JSA, Mock Trial, Track and Field, Grade Government and Vocab Club, which he founded with fellow Lion's Tale editor Aaron Waldman.

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