Education

Teachers from Miami Jewish schools visit Italy to learn more about innovative program

Lee Friedman, a lead teacher at Temple Beth Sholom Innovative School, participates in a hands-on activity during the week-long learning experience in Reggio, Italy.
Lee Friedman, a lead teacher at Temple Beth Sholom Innovative School, participates in a hands-on activity during the week-long learning experience in Reggio, Italy. Temple Beth Sholom

Teachers and administrators from Temple Beth Sholom Innovative School in Miami Beach, Temple Judea in Coral Gables, the Michael-Ann Russell JCC in North Miami Beach and the Center for the Advancement of Jewish Education recently visited Reggio, Italy.

There, they met with Jewish professionals from the United States, Europe and Israel for a weeklong learning experience featuring hands-on lessons to better understand the Reggio Emilia educational philosophy that’s used in their classrooms.

The Reggio Emilia approach, which is used in preschool and primary curriculum, emphasizes hands-on discovery with a focus on social collaboration and family participation. It encourages students to use their language skills and senses to learn.

“Our Reggio colleagues believe that schools are places where theory and practice are connected and where body and mind are connected to nourish the learning processes,” said Margie Zeskind, head of school at Temple Beth Sholom.

Scholarships from Coconut Grove Arts Festival

The Coconut Grove Arts and Historical Association, creator and host of the annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival, recently awarded 20 students from local public and magnet schools with a $1,000 scholarship for their freshman year of college.

The winning students were selected based on nominations from their art teachers. In addition to the scholarship, their award-winning artwork will be displayed all month at the Gallery at CGAF, 3390 Mary St., Ste. 128, Coconut Grove, during an exhibition called First Impressions.

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The Coconut Grove Arts and Historical Association recently awarded $1,000 scholarships to 20 local students from Miami-Dade public schools. The students’ artwork will be on display all month at the Gallery at CGAF, 3390 Mary St., Ste. 128, Coconut Grove. Coconut Grove Arts and Historical Association


The winning students include Alex Gonzalez, Caitlyn Vastine, Cassandra Bozman, Enmanuel Castaneda, Enya Fontanills, Luciano Hernandez Yaya, Mayee Stebbins, Nicola Salino, and Tamara Piloto from New World School of the Arts; Amanda Blanca, Dolores Vaccaro Biernat, Farah Ritter Vazquez, Giuliana Valcarce, Jam My DiaDem Yu, Samantha Portillo, and Sofya Mashukova from Design and Architecture High School; Ashley Castañeda from Robert Morgan Educational Center; Brianna Marshall from Coral Reef High School; Kayla Baer from Arthur & Polly Mays Conservatory of the Arts; and Stephanie Zins from Miami Charter School.

Richmond Heights Middle gets a new yearbook

Members of the Be Strong Club at Richmond Heights Middle School produced their own yearbook with the help of the Motivate Miami Team from Leadership Miami, a program of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce.

Be Strong’s Youth Enrichment Director Celida Hernandez helped jump-start production of the yearbook. Larhonda Donaldson, the school’s principal, had told her that the school hasn’t had a yearbook in years.

“Ms. Donaldson told us that the kids had done a survey and that many of the students were interested in taking photography lessons,” said Hernandez. “She also told us that the school had not had a yearbook in the past seven years.”

With the help of The Children’s Trust, which funds the Be Strong International Program, students had access to a professional photographer, cameras and computers.

Beginning last August, students learned about photography, editing, and production deadlines as they worked together to create their yearbook. Students presented the yearbook to their peers during a ceremony with Miami-Dade County Public Schools’ District 7 Board Member Lawrence Feldman, and Bevone Ritchie from The Children’s Trust.

Beach High student earns arts award

Rachel Saruski of Miami Beach High School recently won the 2019 Carole Taran Award for Excellence in Performing Arts after being nominated as the most outstanding student in the performing arts.

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Rachel Saruski of Miami Beach High School recently won the 2019 Carole Taran Award for Excellence in Performing Arts. She is pictured, center, during a theatrical performance with her peers.

The award is sponsored by 1308 Productions, a music education advocacy nonprofit founded by former students Jason and Allison Novack.

They created the award to honor the late Carole Taran Lee. Lee was a singer, entertainer and producer who graduated from Miami Beach High. She died in 2013.

Rachel served as president of Beach High’s Drama Club and Thespian Honors Society. She has performed with the City of Miami Beach Theatre Troupe in plays for the elderly, disadvantaged and homeless. She’s also creating a local theater for individuals with special needs.

She was nominated by her teacher, Nina Duval, for the award and received a $500 scholarship and a plaque, with her named inscribed, that will be on display at her school.

“Rachel is a very special person,” said Duval. “She has performed in every school theatrical production since the end of her freshman year. She is popular, talented and widely respected.”

Rachel will attend Sarah Lawrence College in New York to major in theater.

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