A Letter from Founding Middle School Director Lisa Schopf
February 23, 2016 by
Having been part of the JPDS-NC community for the past ten years, I have had the privilege of joining with a dedicated team of educators committed to nurturing our children’s growth. From Pre-K through Sixth Grade, our students begin to develop their unique identities, define their own goals, cultivate their interests and passions, hone academic skills, broaden their understanding of their past and their present, strengthen their connection with the land and people of Israel, become proficient Hebrew speakers, delve deep into secular and religious texts, and learn to effectively and respectfully express their independent and informed thinking and beliefs. Through the early childhood and elementary school years, our students begin to write their own stories, which will become part of longer narratives as they distinguish themselves as individuals; while at the same time, find meaning and connection within broader cultural and spiritual communities, both local and global.
With the coming middle school, our students will have the opportunity to continue their stories – to write their next chapters – in a setting that remembers and honors the children’s past, celebrates their current impact, and empowers them for future achievements. Our middle school students will join with their peers and with their teachers in meaningful and purposeful learning, engaging in authentic ways to understand more about themselves and their world as empowered citizens. Within a pluralistic Jewish school dedicated to exploring and honoring multiple approaches to faith and religious expression, our children will extend the long history and tradition of scholarship that has become associated with Jewish thinking and study through the ages, a tradition that encourages debate, welcomes questioning, demands thoughtful analysis, and rejoices in the rewards of learning. As we nurture our middle schoolers’ growing independence, their quest for fairness and significance, and their burgeoning awareness of the possibilities and challenges in their own lives and in their world, we will work together to create a supportive learning community dedicated to personal and communal excellence. It is with excitement and a clear sense of mission that I invite you to join with me in refining and articulating our vision for our middle school and in taking the steps to make that vision a reality for our children and for the future of the DC Jewish community.