Our Stories

JPDS-NC Faculty Teams Awarded Two of Six Kohelet Prizes for Excellence in Jewish Education

February 22, 2017 by Naomi Reem (Faculty and Staff)

JPDS-NC’s faculty teams were awarded two of the six 2017 Kohelet Prizes for Excellence in Jewish Education. The Kindergarten General Studies team – comprised of Lisa Davis, Xani Pollakoff, and Vas Pournaras – won the “Award for Development of Critical and/or Creative Thinking” category for the Community Library Project from the 2015-2016 school year. A cross-grade, multi-disciplinary team – comprised of Hanina Goldstein, Mindy Hirsch, Kelly McAllester, Vinny Prell, Melissa Rickabaugh, and Devorah Yeganeh – received the award for the “Real-World Learning” category for Kids’ Voices Count: JPDS-NC Voter’s Guide from this fall, a project that involved all teachers, students, and many parents in our school.

The Kohelet Prize, in its first year, attracted scores of entries from dozens of Jewish day schools across North America. The Community Library Project received first prize among 56 entries, while the Voter’s Guide competed with 104 entries for the award. Read the article in eJewish Philanthropy.

We are honored by this national recognition and proud of our faculty – they are extraordinary in their creativity, commitment, intentionality, and thoughtfulness. We are even prouder of our students for inspiring us to always find better ways to enhance their learning, and for always rising to the occasion and taking full advantage of what the faculty has to offer them. We are also grateful to parents and other members of the community who contributed enormously to the success of the projects and for supporting the work we do every day. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Along with announcing the prize winners, the Kohelet Foundation launched the Kohelet Prize Database in which all Kohelet Prize entries are available for review. We are delighted that the Kohelet Foundation is sharing this groundbreaking and enriching work through their database. JPDS-NC is proud to serve as a resource to other Jewish day schools across the country and to elevate the field of Jewish education.

Congratulations to the faculty and may JPDS-NC (soon to be named Milton Gottesman Jewish Day School of the Nation’s Capital) continue to go from chayil l’chayil, from strength to strength.

From left to right: Vinny Prell, Mindy Hirsch, Hanina Goldstein, Devora Yeganeh, Kelly McAllester, and Melissa Rickabaugh celebrate their collective Kohelet Prize win.

Kindergarten teachers Xani Pollakoff, Vas Pournaras, and Lisa Davis reveal the good news to their former students, now first graders, who participated in the winning project last year.

Students celebrate their teachers’ winning project, the 2016 Voter’s Guide, after hearing the good news.