Our Stories

A Letter from Elementary School Director Arielle Derby

March 8, 2016 by Arielle Derby (Faculty and Staff)

Incoming Elementary School Director Arielle Derby smiles for the camera with her infant son.I am thrilled and honored to join such a dynamic, warm, and creative group of learners, teachers, and families as the Elementary School Director this July.

Each time I have visited JPDS-NC, I observed children and faculty who are excited to be at the school and engaged in meaningful work in a host of disciplines. The displays I saw when I visited on the afternoon of the Art and Science Expo spoke volumes about the creative, differentiated, reflective, and in-depth learning on the part of the students, but equally telling was the eagerness of the teachers I was there to meet to bring me to their classrooms and proudly explain their students’ process and products. My visits clearly showed what you already know: that JPDS-NC is a place that nurtures the individual child while building strong community values; seamlessly weaves together concepts and ideas from general studies, Jewish studies, Hebrew language, and the arts to create a holistic and rich learning experience; and infuses both civic responsibility and Jewish values and traditions into every aspect of school life. I am a day school alumna and credit much of my love of learning and connection to Judaism to my elementary and middle school experiences; walking through JPDS-NC was wonderfully familiar, like coming home. I knew it was a community I wanted to be a part of, a place where I could contribute to and make a difference as well as collaborate, learn, and grow.

This Shabbat, we will read the very end of the book of Shmot (Exodus), parashat Pekudei. It happens to be my bat mitzvah parasha, and it wraps up the Torah’s extremely detailed account of the building of the Mishkan, the Holy Tabernacle. This is a time of great building at JPDS-NC as well, with as much care, precision, creativity, attention to form and functionality, and community investment as is recorded in Pekudei and the preceding parshiot. It is an incredibly exciting time to be joining the school, and I am eager to take my place among the craftspeople who will be ensuring the sound structure already in place as well as adding new and lovingly designed adornments. As we look towards physically transforming our school, I look forward also to building relationships with all of you as I support the meaningful work of growing, investigating, learning, and teaching that is happening in every classroom and corner at JPDS-NC.

I am eager to meet and get to know you in the coming months and to work together as our community continues to go from strength to strength.