It has been an exciting couple of weeks for the Cheder Chabad community in Baltimore. As the summer started winding down, children and parents were looking forward to the new school year in anticipation of another year of educational excellence. During the summer months the Cheder made many changes, updates and additions; in the building and infrastructure.
On Monday, August 29 the Cheder held a “State of the School” meeting for all parents. At the event, the Cheder administration shared many exciting vignettes with parents who were very pleased with the updates and the direction the school is taking. Most notably, the sense of transparency in the manner in which the Cheder functions.
Mr. Tuvia Givre, President of the Board of Directors opened the evening. In addition to sharing with the parents details of the financial state of the school, to the pleasure of all attending, Mr. Givre announced that one of the Cheder founders, Rabbi Elchonon Lisbon of Chabad of Park Heights has been appointed Dean Emeritus of the Cheder. He will take an active role as the mashpia of the Cheder and be there to guide and assist the faculty and students.
The Cheder Administrator, Mrs. Miriam Gittel Rosenblat shared with parents some details of structural enhancements in Cheder.
In addition to the regular summer school clean up and repainting of many rooms, the entire Boys’ building has been renovated, including new floors and repainting of walls. Rabbi Shmuel Kaplan, senior shliach of the Maryland region helped facilitated the renovations with a generous grant from R’ Dovid and Sharon Kober.
Additionally, Cheder received a grant to update all light fixtures in the entire Cheder campus. We estimate that the new fixtures will save the school approximately 30% on our utility bills.
Utilizing a FEMA Security grant, the Cheder enhanced the school security by installing a six foot fence around the entire perimeter of the Cheder. An additional benefit of the fencing is that we now have additional secure areas for the children to safely play outside during recess.
The Gan-Preschool Director, Mrs. Feldman shared with the parents some updates concerning the Preschool. This year we have updated and upgraded our classrooms, we welcomed new staff and many new families. We look forward to our expanded playground and are shifting it to an outdoor classroom. We have also grown our inclusion program as we welcome children from Jewels, a special needs preschool to learn and grow alongside our students.
The new Girls Elementary School Principal, Mrs. Chaya Matusof shared with parents some details of the new curriculum being implemented and the expansion of the Extracurricular Programs The girls school is expanding and adding a Fourth Grade Class.
The Boys elementary school principal, Rabbi Ahron Matusof walked parents through a visual presentation of the Data Driven Curriculum that the school has been working on, including the work being done with the Menachem Educational Foundation Zekelman Standards integrated with the Lehovin Ulehaskil Chumash Curriculum.
Due to the quick growth of Cheder, it became very apparent that expansion in the infrastructure of the Cheder Administration would assure stable growth, and therefore the Board decided to create a position of Executive Director who is responsible for overseeing the financial growth and stability of Cheder, working with the Educational Department Heads to strategically coordinate further growth, and assuring higher levels of excellence. Veteran mechanech and educational leader Rabbi Avrohom Wolowik of Monsey joined Cheder this summer to fill the role of Executive Director. Rabbi Wolowik spoke with the parents about his philosophy of running a school and plans he has to further enhance the Cheder.
In addition to some of Cheder faculty and administration participating in summer training and educational workshops offered by other national organizations, all departments of the Cheder faculty spent over a week of intense training, workshops and peer collaboration in preparation for the new school year.
When the children finally arrived at Cheder this past Monday for orientation, they were greeted with music, excitement and a newly renovated facility. The Preschool had a breakfast and interactive activities for parents to do with their children.
The children were extremely excited to be back in school, to see their friends once again and were visibly pleased with all the work done over the summer. The positive energy was palpable. The parents were equally amazed and encouraged that their children will be receiving a well rounded chinuch where their social and emotional needs will be taken care of appropriately.