Wednesday June 13, 2012

It is with extreme fondness that I look back on my years as a teacher at Sinai Academy of the Berkshires (2006-2010). "Small school, big hearts, big minds" was our school motto at that time and SAB truly embraced this sentiment.

Thanks to the generosity and overwhelming support of the parents, I was able to hone my own expeditionary teaching skills at Sinai, developing and executing a curriculum that aligned with the core values of the community. Students learned not only from books, but from the world around them.

Sinai's urban campus al lowed and encouraged us to venture beyond the parking lot at Doctor's Park on South Street. Our classes read poetry aloud from the summit of a blustery Mount Greylock. We invited a Harvard neurologist to dissect sheep's brains with us, mastered ceramics at IS-183, researched family histories and then traveled to Ellis Island to locate the ancestors' names on the memorial wall.

We explored the natural beauty of the Berkshires, composed and performed our own blues' music at the Berkshire Music School, visited a stop on the Underground Railroad, explored forensics with the Pittsfield Police Department, and performed Shakespearean scenes in the woods strung with fairy lights and tin foil stars. Inside the classroom, we incubated our ideas, but outside the classroom, we put them to the test.

All of these enriching experiences were possible because of unwavering support by parents and community organizations who donated their time and resources to our school.


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I want to the thank the heads of school under whom I worked, Chris Barash and Deb Cole-Duffy, for the vision that learning may take an unexpected form, as well as the parents and the community for bringing a vibrancy and integrity to this educational model.

JILLY LEDERMAN

Pittsfield