Bi-Cultural’s Michal Smart named to “Dream Team” shaping the future of day school education

STAMFORD – Michal Smart, associate principal for Judaic Studies at Bi-Cultural Day School (BCDS) in Stamford, has been selected to join a handful of Jewish educators from across the country and the world who will participate in a new initiative launched by the Jewish Education Innovation Challenge (JEIC), based in Bar Harbour, Florida.

The “HaKaveret: JEIC Team Challenge” will bring together a small group of education experts who, over an eight-month period, will work together to develop and implement new educational models. She will participate in the new initiative concurrent with her role at Bi-Cultural.

Smart, who was nominated for this role by her colleagues in the field, “has demonstrated a passionate commitment to day school education,” according to a statement by JECI.

As a member of the inaugural team, Smart is one of 10 ‘designers’ from a variety of backgrounds related to education, Judaism or psychology.

“The diversity of experience in this collaborative effort will help foster creative thinking and influence change,” according to the organization’s statement.

“Bi-Cultural is thrilled and proud that Mrs. Smart has been named a ‘designer’ on this important project, a ‘dream team’ of current Jewish educators bringing all their creativity, vision and experience to the challenge,” said Jacqueline Herman, BCDS head of school. “Clearly, the new ideas and creative approaches Mrs. Smart has brought so successfully to students in Bi-Cultural’s Jewish Studies Program were noticed by important leaders in Jewish education and we are excited that she will be a key player in this dynamic process to enhance the Jewish day school experience in schools nationwide.”

The HaKaveret ‘designers’ will meet from October 2016 to June 2017 at “cornerstone retreats” in Silver Spring, Maryland, Chicago, Illinois, and Bar Harbour, Florida, to create new innovative methods that can be applied to Jewish education, ultimately forming three to six new models that Jewish day schools can implement. The team will identify schools that can serve as testing sites for these new models. They will work closely with the schools to test the models, adapting them as necessary for each location.

HaKaveret: JEIC Team Challenge is operated by Joshua Venture Group and funded jointly by the Mayberg Foundation, Lippman Kanfer Foundation for Living Torah, and Arnee R. and Walter A. Winshall.

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