Educators say high school to embrace all of Judaism

Open house is Sunday for prospective students

January 10, 2003|By Linda Linley | Linda Linley,SUN STAFF

The new Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Community High School - the first Jewish day school in the Baltimore area not affiliated with a synagogue - will hold an open house Sunday to give families of prospective students a chance to meet faculty and ask questions about the curriculum.

The open house is scheduled for 1 p.m. in a conference room at Temple Oheb Shalom, 7310 Park Heights Ave. The school will use the temple's educational building as temporary quarters until a permanent site is found.

Named for the chairwoman of the school's board of trustees, the coeducational school will embrace all branches of Judaism, including Reform, Conservative, Orthodox and Reconstructionist. Cardin, a local philanthropist and advocate of Jewish education, says the school will allow students from the different Jewish traditions to intermingle and learn to respect the diversity in their religion.

FOR THE RECORD - A description in yesterday's editions of The Sun of the Shoshana S. Cardin Jewish Community High School's opening in September was incorrect. It will be one of several Jewish schools in the Baltimore area not affiliated with a synagogue. The Sun regrets the error.

The high school will open in September with only ninth-graders, said Lillian Howard, the head of the new school. The next school year a 10th-grade class will be added; the 11th and 12th grades will be added in subsequent years. She hopes to have about 300 students when all four grades have been added.

Howard anticipates accepting between 30 and 40 ninth-graders for the first year, although she said more than 100 families have expressed interest in the school.

"It is the only Jewish day school that is independent of any synagogue," Howard said. "We will educate them to respect all forms of Judaism. Right now, we are setting up an identity."

Classes will be conducted at the temple's educational building while the board searches for a site to build a high school. The board is concentrating on a location in or around Owings Mills, which has the fastest-growing Jewish population in the area.

Howard has hired a director of admissions and academic support, a chairman for the math and humanities departments, a librarian, a Hebrew teacher and a director of Judaic studies.

Howard said the school, which will be a college preparatory institution, is in the process of being accredited by the state Department of Education. In addition to the traditional courses such as history, English, math, science and foreign languages, the school will require students to take a class in Hebrew and Judaic studies, as well as a course in study skills.

She also is planning to offer courses in the arts and to start a sports program so that the students will have a team sport each season.

"It's a blank slate right now, so anything is possible," she said.

Aside from dealing with the accreditation and fine-tuning the curriculum, Howard says she is dealing with such projects as refurbishing the building and supplying the school with everything from textbooks to lockers. She is also establishing school policies, meeting with families and interviewing prospective faculty members.

Howard came to Baltimore last summer from Phoenix, Ariz., where she was director of curriculum at the Jess Schwartz Jewish Community High School. She was one of the founding administrators there.

"It's a chance to be a pioneer," she said of starting the high school. "It's an opportunity that we are not faced with often in our lives."

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