HAYIDION The Prizmah Journal

Summer Homework

Summer Homework

The articles in this issue begin with a recognition of the difference and legitimacy of summer experiences, their necessity for the personal, social and spiritual development of children. At the same time, day schools conceive of themselves as model worlds that students are meant to take with them throughout the year and throughout their lives. Authors explore creative ideas for layering the educational and spiritual goals of school with the activities and environments of summer camp and downtime. Other pieces describe ways for various day school stakeholders to use the quiet summer months to prepare for their work during the school year.

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In the Issue: Summer Homework

by Elliott Rabin, Editor May 30, 2017 Prizmah

Hello Muddah, hello Faddah

Here I am at Camp Granada

Camp is very entertaining

And they say we’ll have some fun if it stops raining.


From the CEO: The Growth of A Year

by Paul Bernstein May 30, 2017 Prizmah
RELATED TOPICS: Mission & VisionLeadership

Summer is a time for growth, both in nature and in ourselves. As the trees around us grow and change, Prizmah is blooming, too. This time last year, Prizmah did not exist. We were five separate organizations. The idea was merely a seed of inspiration. And now, we are together, operating as a unified pan-North American entity, preparing for summer and working toward an even stronger future for Jewish day school education.

From the Board: Watching the Flower Blossom

by Paul Bernstein, moderator; Michael Bohnen, Jodi Hessel, Nathan J. Lindenbaum, Joseph Steiner and Dara Yanowitz May 30, 2017 Prizmah

Five current Prizmah board members who served on the boards of the legacy organizations discuss their observations of Prizmah’s growth during this first year. Participants: Paul Bernstein, moderator; Michael Bohnen, Jodi Hessel, Nathan J. Lindenbaum, Joseph Steiner and Dara Yanowitz.

Paul: After nearly one year, what are people saying about Prizmah?

The Advice Booth: Cultivating Volunteers: The ABCs

by Ilisa Cappell May 30, 2017 Prizmah

We are a small school in a small community with limited staff. We rely heavily on our volunteers for support. It seems like the same people keep showing up, and I am afraid we are wearing out our volunteers and their goodwill. What should we do?

Commentary: Is There Value in Homework?

May 30, 2017
RELATED TOPICS: PedagogyTeachersStudents

What parents and teachers need is support from administrators who are willing to challenge the conventional wisdom. They need principals who question the slogans that pass for arguments: that homework creates a link between school and family (as if there weren’t more constructive ways to make that connection!), or that it “reinforces” what students were taught in class (a word that denotes the repetition of rote behaviors, not the development of understanding), or that it teaches children self-discipline and responsibility (a claim for which absolutely no evidence exists).

Spotlight on... Head Searches

May 30, 2017

Among the portfolio of services that Prizmah offers are placement services, tailored for each school by a team of highly experienced professionals. Prizmah works with schools to implement strategic recruitment practices in order to attract the best candidates, and designs and supports a thorough interview and smart selection process to identify the best candidate. These search processes are conducted in strictest confidence. Below is an interview with a search committee chair at a school that has just completed a successful hire in partnership with Prizmah.


Innovation Alley: Nature’s “Makerspace”: What’s the big idea?

by Dr. Jon Mitzmacher May 30, 2017 Prizmah

The genuine desire to “innovate” has led many schools to embrace new pedagogies and technologies. There is a growing recognition by schools of all types that in order to personalize, to better differentiate, to incorporate 21st century literacies, to increase choice and student ownership of learning, to add so-called “soft skills,” etc., it is necessary to provide students with cutting-edge experiences. Examples include STEM/STEAM, Robotics, Project-based Learning, Blended Online Learning and Makerspace, and we’ve dedicated our two prior columns to just these kinds of ideas.

On My Nightstand: Books Prizmah Staff Are Reading

by Helen London, Odelia Epstein, Yoni Yares, Robin Feldman May 30, 2017 Prizmah
RELATED TOPICS: ArtsJewish Studies

Stolen Beauty: A Novel

by Laurie Lico Albanese

Stolen Beauty is a book about the life of Adele-Block Bauer and her niece Maria Altmann. It takes place in the wealthy world of early 20th century Vienna and the rapidly darkening years of the 1930s. You may have heard or seen Woman in Gold, the movie starring Helen Mirren as Maria, who sues the Austrian government for the return of her aunt’s magnificent painting by Gustav Klimt, stolen by the Nazis. This book fleshes out the story with fictional accounts of Adele’s and Maria’s lives.

Forget the “Summer Slide”

by Jason Ablin May 30, 2017 Harkham Hillel Hebrew Academy, Beverly Hills
RELATED TOPICS: StudentsTeachersPedagogy

The school year typically ends with the sound of a thud. It is the sound of an envelope or folder (usually manila), occasionally wrapped with thick rubber bands, landing on a student’s desk. Like an exhausted dock worker, the student sticks this envelope under her arm or in his backpack. The child emerges from the last day of school and climbs into the backseat of his car to a parent asking the hopeful and joyful question, “How was the last day of school, honey?” The student takes that manila package or folder out, like a messenger serving legal papers to the newly indicted, and drops it on the front seat of the car in disgust.

Summer Reading: Moving Past Carrots, Sticks and Lollipops

by Rabbi Dr. Joshua Wise May 30, 2017 Magen David Yeshiva, Brooklyn
RELATED TOPICS: TeachersStudentsPedagogy

As the end of the school year comes closer, I can’t help but think back to my own childhood summers and the summer reading program at my local library. To be clear, I was what might be called a reluctant reader. But my mother brought my sister and me to the library on a regular basis, and eventually, I’d find a few books that didn’t look too terrible. My sister, on the other hand, was a voracious reader, no matter the topic.