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Exciting Announcement: Mednick IDEA Lab!
Abbe Roth

Dear CJDS Community,

Sometimes there are so many exciting things going on at CJDS, we don’t know what to write about first. This seems to be one of those weeks. I’ll begin with our Grade Eight students in Israel.

Grade Eight on Ta’am Yisrael!

It is so exciting to hear about their amazing trip. Traveling to Israel with 200 other Grade 8 students from all over the Chicagoland area is made possible by our Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF), through the Ta’am Yisrael program. From seeing a replica of the Israeli space installation displayed at Abimah Square in Tel Aviv to climbing Masada and eating Israeli kabobs, our students are not only having a great time but taking leadership opportunities as well. On Thursday morning, all of the Torah readers were CJDS students. Students are taking the lead in speaking Hebrew and showing off their acquired knowledge about places they are visiting. Morah Tamar Cytryn left on Wednesday evening to prepare to meet Nina Harris(who is on the Ta’am trip, along with Morah Debbie Barack) and our Grade Eight students. Tamar and Nina will take our students on the CJDS Israel Extension, where they will continue to give our students an experience that deepens their understanding of the complexities of Israel, connect them more deeply to learning from CJDS, and bond them as a class. The extension experience is provided to our students by a generous grant from Betsy Gidwitz, long-time supporter and friend of CJDS. We are eternally grateful to Betsy for investing in the future of the Jewish community and, by extension, the world!

Exciting Announcement: Mednick IDEA Lab!

As most of our parents know, in our former facilities we developed a sense for using space creatively and for never letting the lack of facility adversely affect our standards of excellence. As it turns out, those skills continue to inform us even in our current beautiful home. Phase II of our New Campus Project will hold many of our arts and enrichment classes as well as our middle school. While we await the start of the Phase II construction, we have found temporary space solutions for art, music, and athletics in the Mozart building. We also anticipate opening a new makerspace on the third floor. We didn’t want to wait for the building construction to introduce a program element that we thought was important, so we put our creative thinking caps on and found a solution to our challenges. Today, we are thrilled to make the following announcement:

We are thrilled to announce that thanks to the generosity of longtime friends and supporters of CJDS, Susan (Susie) and Robert (Bob) Mednick, we will create and name The Mednick IDEA (Invention, Design, Engineering, Art) Lab, which will serve as the school’s first-ever makerspace. The IDEA Lab itself will be built as a part of Phase II of our New Campus Project. While we await the construction of this new Lab, and thanks to a generous grant from the Crown Goodman Family, CJDS will launch a series of mobile IDEA Labs in the Fall of 2019.

Makerspaces encourage hands-on learning, creativity, and innovation. Using both hi-tech and low-tech tools, students explore art, science, engineering, and technology. Our mobile IDEA Labs will include robotics, sewing materials, Legos, woodworking tools, recording equipment, and so much more. The mobile aspect of the IDEA Lab will allow the creative, “maker mentality” to infuse every classroom. We cannot wait for our faculty to implement our mobile IDEA Labs and for our students to utilize them in their everyday learning.

Stay tuned for wonderful updates about the enhancement this project will bring into our classrooms, beginning next Fall. We deeply thank and are so grateful to Susie and Bob Mednick and the Crown Goodman Family for their investment and support. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Ms. J (Judy)