Jewish Journal


September 2, 2004

Education Briefs


Day Schools Earn Accreditation

Two area day schools, both founded in 1994, earned full accreditation this summer.

Beth Hillel Day School in Valley Village, the East Valley's only Reform Jewish day school, was accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and the Bureau of Jewish Education (BJE).

"The fact that our school earned a six-year accreditation, the maximum length of time awarded by these certifying boards, is recognition that Beth Hillel Day School is indeed meeting the high goals we've set to provide our students with the best education possible in general and Jewish studies," said Susan Isaacson, Beth Hillel Day School's education director.

Farther west along the 101, Abraham Joshua Heschel West Day School in Agoura Hills was accredited by the California Association of Independent Schools, the WASC and the BJE.

"Receiving recognition from these prestigious accrediting agencies puts Heschel West in the upper echelon of young dynamic educational institutions," Heschel West principal Jan Saltsman said. -- Sharon Schatz Rosenthal, Education Writer

High School Makes Temporary Move to Shomrei Torah

When New Community Jewish High School students (NCJHS) return to their studies on Sept. 7, they will no longer be meeting at the Bernard Milken Jewish Community Campus in West Hills, where the school was founded in 2002 with 40 students.

"We outgrew it," said Dr. Bruce Powell, head of NCJHS. "We were supposed to be there for three years, but we were only supposed to have 120 [students]. We're at 170 at this point. We were bursting at the seams there."

NCJHS moved to Shomrei Torah Synagogue in West Hills on Aug. 29. The school has use of 16 classrooms at the synagogue and will continue to use Milken's gym for its athletics program. NCJHS expects to be at Shomrei Torah for one to six years and will add modular classrooms as its enrollment grows.

However, Powell said the school has its eye on a property that can be developed as a permanent campus in Agoura Hills, and the city's planning commission has already issued a conditional use permit.

"Growth is both wonderful and challenging," Powell said. -- Adam Wills, Associate Editor

L.A. Educators Receive National Award

Two Los Angeles religious school teachers were honored in July when they received Grinspoon-Steinhardt Awards for Excellence in Jewish Education. Lea Ben-Eli, a music teacher at Temple Beth Am's Pressman Academy, and Eden Cooper Sage, a eighth- and ninth-grade teacher at Temple Israel of Hollywood, were thrilled to be among the 56 recipients in North America.

The awards, sponsored by the Harold Grinspoon Foundation and Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation, in partnership with Jewish Education Service of North America, are given to Jewish educators who made a career commitment to the field and contributed to his or her school or community in an outstanding way. As winners, Ben-Eli and Sage were awarded $1,000 cash prizes and $1,500 stipends for professional development.

Both women will be honored at the United Jewish Communities General Assembly in November where they will be recognized in a national gathering with an emphasis on Jewish education and communal leadership. -- SSR

Cal Lutheran Embraces Diversity

California Lutheran University (CLU) got a lesson in diversity when 22 students and three faculty members participated in the Anti-Defamation League's (ADL) A Campus of Difference, an anti-bias and diversity training program.

During the three-day session, which began on Aug. 23, two trainers, representing different cultural and racial backgrounds, prepared the student ambassadors to lead diversity and inclusion discussions on campus. Participants examined stereotyping, explored the idea of culture and discussed issues related to discrimination and bigotry on campus.

CLU is involved in several diversity programs following the receipt of a $400,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation in 2003. The grant, which will be dispersed over a three-year period, is being used to foster a campus climate that encourages inclusion, crosscultural interaction, respect for and appreciation of diversity and global awareness.

Over the past decade, more than 43,000 people have participated in the campus training programs -- which have been held at more than 250 colleges and universities nationwide. -- SSR

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