Hillel High initially struggled to find a blended model that fit the school's specific vision for an affordable, blended Jewish day school, so stakeholders worked to develop their own such model. Initially, students enrolled full-time in the high-performing virtual school eAchieve Academy and received face-to-face support from teacher-facilitators. As students began to encounter challenges, the school hired facilitators to work with students face-to-face in particular subjects: math, science, and the humanities. Most recently, the school has transitioned to using the digital platform Summit Learning as both a curricular and learner-management tool. The transition to Summit has allowed the school to focus on student-teacher relationships and goal achievement and, consequently, to realize its vision for blended learning.
A big challenge in our first several years, when we were using eAchieve, was our sense that there was no model for us to mimic or emulate. We worked through trial and error—a lot of trial and error. It was critical that we had an open mind. As they say in Finland, “Education is experimentation.” We had to figure out what was working and change what was not working.
A second big challenge was prospective families’ perception of blended learning. In many cases, families thought that children would be on screens all the time or that they would receive a lesser-quality education. We created marketing campaigns to get out the word that technology can be a tool to enhance a teacher’s work and that strong relationships remain at the core of blended learning. That was always our vision, and when we adopted Summit Learning, it became our reality in an even greater sense.
Have a clear vision that includes flexibility. It is also very important to think about the way you are communicating that vision. Students and parents should feel confident that they know what your school stands for and how it will run. Have one-on-one and group conversations with stakeholders surrounding marketing and perception and include students, staff members, and parents.
From the founding of Hillel High, our team has fostered a strong culture of “making it work.” We have focused on public perception from day one: being open to feedback, internalizing it, making changes, and ensuring that we cultivate the public perception that we feel is truthful. When we made major changes, it required a huge effort to receive approval from our community. Teachers were instrumental in making this happen, which has to do with the start-up nature of the school. There is a tremendous can-do attitude here.
Bader Hillel High School offers an innovative and unique approach to education. We utilize the best of both traditional and new-age education models, weaved together to create a learning environment that is both flexible to each student’s needs, yet pushes them to their full potential. This style of blended learning capitalizes on the benefits of an online learning program with support from a team of on-site teachers and mentors.
By partnering with one of the top public high schools in America, and leader in online education, eAchieve Academy, Bader Hillel High is able to offer its students a first class general studies education. Students have over 70 courses available in areas including math, science, English, health, art, music, business, languages, AP courses and so much more. This allows students to tailor a curriculum that meets their personal interests and objectives, is challenging and rewarding, and keeps them on course for college admissions.
BHH complements this partnership by adding a multi-faceted, student-lead learning environment. Staff work one on one with students to create a personalized learning plan that is best suited to their individual needs. Courses, namely in the sciences, are supplemented with classroom learning, adding concreate, hands on activities and experiments, allowing students to become self-aware, active participants in the learning process.
This blended learning environment increases the value of what we offer and is an ideal counterpart to our multi-leveled Judaic curriculum. Our Judaic studies, which aim to be relevant and meaningful to 21st century students, include Tanach, Mishna, Talmud, Jewish Law, and Ethics. We take great pride in volunteering, giving back to our community, and fostering an environment of learning and Yiddishkeit.
Since its inception in 2013, Bader Hillel High has been leading the way in creating a sustainable, reproducible Jewish High School model that is both affordable and meets the needs of today’s youth. By integrating eAchieve with in-person classroom support and our Jewish studies program, we have created a trifecta for kids to excel and become successful, young people who are grounded in ethics and values, and are ready to venture confidently into the modern world.
Bader Hillel High School
2315 Good Hope Rd
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