June 22, 2006
New Yeshiva Flying SCY High
The school, the only Orthodox boys high school in the San Diego area, attracted 17 boys in ninth and 10th grades last year, its first year of existence, and next year between 25 and 30 are expected to be enrolled in the ninth through 11th grades. One Los Angeles boy boarded with relatives, and next year several families are opening up their homes to students who want to board.
As a school starting from scratch, teachers were able to take novel approaches to study.
The ninth graders, for example, read Goethe's "Faust," then rewrote it as short film. They created sets -- some using "South Park"-style puppets, some using stop-action dolls and action figures -- set it to music, and filmed short movies. The 10th graders read Christopher Marlowe's "Doctor Faustus," then rewrote a modernized version then studied and debated the moral implications of making Faustus Jewish.
"What you do in project-based learning is you take the ability the students have in one subject and you bring that enthusiasm into another subject," Cloud said.
The students also get traditional instruction, but even there things tend to blend.
In Rabbi Moshe Adatto's Gemara class, students had to present talmudic arguments in a PowerPoint flowchart. Each student is given a Dell laptop when they enter, and the school is wired for high-speed wireless Internet access.
To Adatto, who previously was a teacher at the Valley Kollel, it's all part of making kids love school and love Judaism.
"We're trying to create lifelong learners, and to me that has two components: They have to know how to learn, and they have to want to learn," said Adatto, who organized Shabbatons and other events to build school spirit.
All but one student has reenrolled for next year, and an anonymous survey that all of the parents filled out brought back astonishing results for a Jewish school: No one -- not one family -- reported being anything less than satisfied.
For more information on SCY High School, contact (858) 658-0857 or visit www.scyhigh.org.
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