By Cindy Mindell
STAMFORD – It’s official: the Jewish High School of Connecticut (JHSC) has been approved for a special permit by the Stamford Planning Board and a variance by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals to operate at the Stamford Technology Center on West Main Street.
The authorization process was the final hurdle in the JHSC board’s decision to relocate the school from the JCC of Greater New Haven in Woodbridge, where it has operated since 2012.
Founded in 2010, the pluralistic, regional high school spent its first two years at Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport. Earlier this year, after Rabbi Yonatan Yussman announced that he would be leaving his position as head of school, a group of Jewish families in Stamford lobbied successfully for the relocation.
With two large Jewish day schools in the area – Bi-Cultural Day School in Stamford and Carmel Academy in Greenwich – acting head of school and founding board president Susan Birke Fiedler says that the new site was chosen in part for its proximity to the Stamford MetroNorth train station and to the Greenwich border.
In addition, the Stamford Technology Center will provide the means to enhance the Jewish High School’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) curriculum. The school is a participant in the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education’s (CIJE) CIJE-Tech programs, and is the first in the state that will offer the CIJE-Tech High School Engineering Program.
The CIJE-Tech High School Engineering Program is a discovery-focused, interactive curriculum with a year each of scientific and biomedical engineering. CIJE-Tech exposes students to a diverse range of science and technical knowledge areas while helping develop multidisciplinary and abstract thinking as well as leadership and teamwork skills. CIJE also provides intensive teacher training, on-going teacher mentoring as well as all science laboratory equipment and materials. The curriculum was developed in collaboration with the Israel Sci-Tech network of schools.
“JHSC prides itself on its STEM program,” says Fiedler. “Though we are a relatively small school, half of our students have a courseload that would enable them to pursue careers in math and science. Our goal is to strategically grow our STEM program to become the foremost Jewish high school with an emphasis on STEAM – we would like to include the arts as well.”
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