FEATURENovember 2016

Engaging STEM education at Soille



Soille San Diego Hebrew Day School is introducing a groundbreaking new middle school program this year as well as a $50,000 fully-equipped, STEM lab provided by the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education to engage and ignite student’s interests in STEM education and careers.

The new CIJE STEM lab is fully equipped and features a flexible design so that the room can be arranged for small group or large experiments. Soille teacher Matt Bessler, who was named “Science Teacher of the Year” by the Greater San Diego Science and Engineering Fair will oversee the lab and the CIJE program.

The CIJE-Tech Middle School Program is part of an integrated STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) curriculum for K-12 Jewish day schools across the denominational spectrum in more than 180 schools nationwide. The CIJE-Tech Middle School Program was launched in 2015 to enhance interest and skills in STEM, and to provide an initial exposure to engineering. It introduces students to the fundamentals of engineering and the design process needed to gain STEM skills, coupled with experiential learning in teamwork, innovative thinking, and problem solving.

The program includes activities that improve student and teacher content knowledge, and teacher pedagogical skills. Innovative strategies are employed, including small group collaborative work and the use of hands-on activities and experiments to promote inquiry and project-based thinking, and curiosity. Learning is connected to the real world through an emphasis on the application of STEM subjects to everyday life, employment, and the surrounding environment.

“Soille Hebrew Day prepares its students for every aspect of successful 21st Century living,” says Head of School Rabbi Simcha Weiser. “America needs scientists and engineers, just as it needs young men and women inspired by Jewish values and ideals. Our new CIJE STEM lab and CIJE-Tech Middle School Program attracts new students to Hebrew day school, connecting them and their families to our San Diego Jewish community.”

“We’re preparing students for jobs that don’t yet exist using technologies that haven’t been invented in order to solve problems we don’t even comprehend yet,” says Jason Cury,” CIJE president. “CIJE programs greatly exceed what students are getting in typical public middle and high schools and it shows in the caliber of top-tier universities our graduates are attending.”


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