By Cindy Mindell
WOODBRIDGE – The Jewish High School of Connecticut (JHSC) in Woodbridge is the first school in the state to offer the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education’s CIJE-Tech Engineering Program.
An innovative approach to science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, the program is focused on scientific and biomedical engineering. The curriculum exposes students to a diverse range of science and technical knowledge areas while helping to develop multidisciplinary and abstract thinking, as well as leadership and teamwork skills. In addition to supplying science laboratory equipment and materials, CIJE-Tech provides ongoing teacher training and mentoring in addition to science laboratory equipment and materials.
Developed in Israel by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest educational network of schools and colleges in the country, the two-year curriculum was tailored by CIJE for American students in 2011 and is now used in 27 schools throughout the country.
Inspired by “A 21st Century Imperative: A Guide for Becoming a School of the Future” by the National Association of Independent Schools, JHSC adopted the program for the start of the current academic year after evaluating the course content over the summer. Six students in grades 10 through 12 are involved in the program, overseen by Dr. Paul Castle, JHSC dean of faculty and instructor in engineering and physics.
“CIJE-Tech will prepare our students to be 21st-century learners, while inspiring them to explore a career in STEM,” says JHSC head of school, Dr. Yonatan Yussman. “I love how the students have to problem-solve, think critically, apply information, explore, and fix their own mistakes, as well as manage complex group projects – all of which are skills needed to create a bright future.”
JHSC funds part of the program through a stipend, and is working to raise matching funds from local philanthropists and organizations, says CIJE president Jason Cury. “We know there are many who believe, as we do, in the urgent need to provide Jewish dayschool students with a 21st-century education that imparts them with the critical-thinking skills necessary for success in today’s global economy.”
CIJE engineering specialist Adam Jerozolim was recently at JHSC to observe students taking their newly designed robots out for a spin. “I could not be working with a better teacher and group of motivated students,” says Jerozolim, a mechanical engineer who worked for General Dynamics Electric Boat in Groton.
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