— An increasing number of Jewish day schools are pursuing their commitment to innovative instructional practices through participation in the Virtual High School’s Online Judaic Studies Consortium (OJSC). The schools have not only expanded their offering of Judaic studies courses, but educators at these institutions have opted to expand their teaching skills by becoming online instructors.
In addition to offering OJSC courses to its students, deToledo High School, a private Jewish high school in West Hills, Calif., graduated two of their teachers from The Virtual High School’s graduate-level Online Teaching Methodologies (OTM) teacher professional development course. These teachers are currently developing online Judaic studies courses that will be delivered to day school students across North America. The courses will incorporate best practices for online instruction and learning.
Similarly, teachers at Rabbi Alexander S. Gross Hebrew Academy and Milken Community High School are collaborating through a partnership with the Jewish Day School (JDS) Collaborative to develop a new course called: Preparing for Life on Campus: The Complexities of Jewish Identity and Israel. The course will launch in February with students from seven different day schools.
Rabbi Hyiam Reiffman, a teacher at the Denver Academy of Torah, a K-12 Modern Orthodox Jewish day school in Denver, Colorado, has developed an online course in teaching Tefillah and is currently teaching the course Mussar: Practical Ethics for Living a Meaningful Life. Developed by Rabbi David Jaffe, this course focuses on Mussar, the Jewish wisdom tradition that teaches individuals how to make the choices most aligned with their best selves.
Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School, a pluralistic Junior Kindergarten-Grade 12 community school in Rockville, Maryland, is expanding their use of OJSC courses from one to five for the 2017-18 school year. Also, Krieger Schechter Day School (KSDS), a coeducational, kindergarten through eighth grade Jewish day school located in Maryland, is offering the OJSC course Digital Citizenship and Jewish Values to their sixth grade students. The course is taught by Dr. Robyn Blum, the Middle School Head at KSDS.
Other schools that have recently joined the Online Judaic Studies Consortium (OJSC) include:
· Denver Jewish Day School
· Frankel Jewish Academy
· King David High School
· Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy
· Solomon Schechter School of Westchester
“All these schools are working with new technologies and teaching practices to ensure that their students receive the best, most well-rounded education they can possibly provide,” said Lisa Micley, Program Director of the OJSC. “Stepping out of the traditional and doing something new is always challenging, even though it's become increasingly necessary in these modern times, so kudos to these schools and educators for combining traditional teachings and new teaching methodologies.”
About The Virtual High School
The Virtual High School (VHS Inc.) is an online learning pioneer. Since 1996, the nonprofit organization has set the standard for quality online education. VHS provides courses taught in global online classrooms for secondary school students and online professional development for educators. The organization also meets the unique educational needs of schools through custom course development and individualized course offerings. VHS design and delivery standards are the model used by the National Education Association in their recommended standards for online learning. The organization has won numerous awards, including the Stockholm Challenge Award for Global Excellence in Information Technology, and is a three-time winner of the United States Distance Learning Association’s (USDLA) award for Excellence in Programming and Excellence in Best Practices. For more information, visit www.vhslearning.org or call (978) 897-1900.
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