Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School (CESJDS) in Rockville, Maryland, was recognized as number six in study.com’s list of the top 50 blended learning high schools in the country. According to Daniel Brown at study.com, “Blended learning acknowledges the importance of digital literacy and 21st century skills while still maintaining the most important elements of in-person interaction offered by the traditional classroom approach.”
Rabbi Mitchel Malkus, head of school at CESJDS, clarified that while the school embraces technology in its teaching philosophy, they do not opt to participate in any kind of ranking construct. Ranking vastly different schools against each other can be misleading, he said.
“Our accrediting organizations, AISGW [The Association of Independent Schools of Greater Washington] and NAIS [National Association of Independent Schools], are also opposed to rankings and ask that schools not participate,” he said. “Those organizations believe ranking of schools encourages a problematic competitiveness, leading institutions away from offering rich alternatives and toward a stultifying sameness.”
That being said, Rabbi Malkus reiterated that CESJDS “[has] worked to use technology as a tool for meeting student needs, differentiating instruction, and pushing innovation across the curriculum.”
Blended learning has gained traction in recent years due to rapidly advancing technology. Study.com notes that some students benefit by learning partly in a digital environment (via mobile and online platforms) and partly with face-to-face learning. The site explains: “The benefits of blended learning include the fact that many students can learn best independently, on their own time frame, and via interface with digital technology. At the same time, learning done in this virtual way is often best consolidated by in-person interactions. In many ways, blended learning combines the best of both worlds.”
By Kami Troy
Kami Troy is the senior editor of Kol HaBirah.