2021 | Schools

Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School names new high school principal

Plus: Charter school decisions postponed; School board to discuss reopening, reading intervention

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Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School names new high school principal

Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School announced this week it has hired Lisa Vardi as its next high school principal.

She was previously the director of teaching and learning at Bullis School in Potomac.

Vardi recently received a doctorate in educational leadership and policy from Vanderbilt University. She also has two master’s degrees — one in secondary education and one in international affairs — from The George Washington University.

She has taught in Israel and has a “deep love of” the country and Judaism, according to a press release from the school.

“Dr. Vardi embraces our mission of engaging students in an outstanding and inspiring general and Jewish studies education grounded in a commitment to Jewish values, the Jewish people and love of Israel,” Head of School Rabbi Mitchel Malkus said in the press release. “Her knowledge of our community and her exceptional educational background will serve as an asset in her work with students, faculty and families.”

Charles E. Smith is a private school that serves students in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Charter school decisions postponed

The Montgomery County Board of Education has postponed decisions about two charter school applications from July 15 to July 27.

Board members had said during their last meeting they would issue decisions about the applications on July 15, but the item was not on the board’s agenda for next week when it was posted Thursday afternoon. Two officials in the school board office confirmed that the decisions have been postponed until July 27.

MCPS officials have recommended conditional approval for one proposal for a business-focused school. But MCPS opposes a separate application for single-gender programs.

The school board also seemed to support the college preparatory and vocational school for students interested in business.

The proposal was for the Mentoring by Example College & Career Academy Business Learning Institute, which would be in the Takoma Park/Silver Spring area.

The idea would be to begin with about 100 students in both sixth and seventh grades, then expand annually with one new grade until the school served students through 12th grade.

MCPS officials have recommended conditional approval, giving school leaders three months to prove it can identify reliable funding and that there is community interest in the idea.

The second proposed charter school calls for single-gender programs for elementary school students.

In its application, the Washington-McLaughlin School for Boys and Washington-McLaughlin School for Girls wrote that dividing students by gender allows them to be more “comfortable” and accommodates the different ways their brains develop.

MCPS raised a lengthy list of concerns about the proposal, alleging it didn’t provide “clear” funding plans, location plans or proof of community interest, all of which founder Paulina Washington disputed.

If the applications are approved, the schools would open in September 2022.

School board to discuss reopening, reading intervention Thursday

The Montgomery County Board of Education will meet Thursday afternoon to discuss COVID-19 reopening efforts, reading interventions and a building project at Northwood High School and to honor retirees.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 12:30 p.m.

Board members will discuss what MCPS is calling “Prosper 100: Framing the Fall Return to School,” which will outline the district’s priorities for the fall semester as it aims to rebound from the pandemic.

The board will also discuss an initiative regarding “schoolwide reading intervention” and discuss a building project at Northwood High School in Silver Spring.

More information about items listed on the agenda was not posted as of Friday morning.

The meeting is scheduled to adjourn at about 5 p.m.