One of the core values in CJDS’s Mission and Vision is lifelong learning. In our Vision statement, it states:
“Our school operates as a community of learners with students, teachers and families all partaking in the educational process…Because we believe that students are inspired by adults who appreciate learning and who pursue their own emotional, intellectual and religious growth, the school encourages and provides ongoing educational opportunities for teachers, parents and all community members.”
Many of the school’s programs and events reflect this vision.
Faculty and Staff Professional Development
CJDS continues to educate our administrators, faculty and staff with the latest programming and teaching techniques in the 21st century. Each year, we focus on a professional development theme for our faculty that begins at orientation and continues at faculty meetings and professional development days throughout the school year. Outside of CJDS, our administrators, faculty and staff have attended the following conferences to enhance their education:
- Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Columbia University Teachers College, Reading and Writing Workshops
- Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Center for Nonprofit Management
- MIT's Constructing Modern Knowledge Conference
- Responsive Classroom Conferences
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM): Algebra Readiness for Every Student for Grades Six-Eight
- RAVSAK Jewish Day School Conference, including Jewish Court of All Time (JCAT)
- Facing History and Ourselves: Holocaust and Human Behavior
- ISACS Conferences
- Boulder Journey School Conference (a school for innovative teacher education--focusing on our early childhood Reggio Emilia inspired approach to learning)
- Tal-Am Conferences in Israel
- Jewish Education and Technology Institute
- American Alliance for Theater and Education Conference
- Smokey Daniels Conference: Content-Area Literacy: Comprehension, Collaboration, and Inquiry
- Center for Conflict Resolution's Meditation Skills Training
- Day School Educators Institute at the Hadar Institute in New York City
- Wilson Language Training-Fundations Workshop
- International Music Education Summit and Vandecook MECA music programs
- Theatrical Teaching Institute at Roundabout Theater in New York City
- Honeywell Educators at Space Academy (HESA)
- Inquiry Circles Seminar
- And many more!
In addition, we always encourage our faculty and staff to collaborate with other local schools and observe their grade level/subject matter. Last fall during a professional development day, our CJDS faculty met with several other Jewish day schools all over the Chicagoland area and focused on “growth mindset” at an edJewcon Chicago Experience (see right).
Kabbalat Shabbat Guests
Every Friday at our Kabbalat Shabbat services, we invite rabbis, cantors, Jewish educators and Jewish communal professionals to model and teach different aspects of celebrating Shabbat and Judaism. Our students are inspired and interact with a diverse cadre of Jewish leaders and role models on a regular basis throughout the year through this program. In addition to their individual personalities and the sub-Jewish communities that they represent in terms of affiliation and practice, it also introduces our students to a variety of Jewish organizations to which they might otherwise not know about.
Rabbinic Advisory Group—Rabbis’ Round Table
Our multi-denominational Rabbinic Advisory Group presents a yearly multi-denominational Jewish program which we call Rabbis’ Round Table. This program provides the community with an opportunity to present and learn about denominational approaches to Jewish texts, politics, and current events, each through their own unique lens. Our Rabbinic Advisory Group consists of: Rabbi Michael Siegel, Senior Rabbi of Anshe Emet Synagogue, Rabbi Shoshanah Conover, Associate Rabbi of Temple Sholom of Chicago, and Rabbi David Wolkenfeld, Senior Rabbi of Anshe Sholom B’nai Israel Congregation.
Our parents participate in many educational programs, both secular and Judaic Studies, throughout the school year. From an informational evening watching the educational film, Race to Nowhere, about examining the stress put on today’s young students to attending Torah Talks about the weekly Torah portion, CJDS provides a wide range of educational programs for our parents so they feel even more connected to Chicago Jewish Day School. At our 10th Anniversary Benefit and Celebration, we had a Jewish scholarly debate opened to our entire CJDS community. We invited two inspirational renowned Jewish leaders, Rabbi Bradley Shavit Artson and Dr. Deborah Lipstadt, to lead a discussion facilitated by one of our inspirational founders and 2014 Covenant Award recipient, Dr. Rebecca Schorsch. As the school has grown over the years, we have continued to actively pursue a variety of educational opportunities for our community.