Heritage Florida Jewish News - Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

New beginnings for Jewish Academy


Head of School Alan Rusonik

There is a new excitement at the Jewish Academy of Orlando. The Head of School, Alan Rusonik, shares, "It's a new year. A new beginning. A new excitement!"

"The staff is gearing up for the new year," says Rusonik. The school is consolidating its operations back to its original space in the main building at the Maitland Jewish Community Campus. Rusonik adds, "all of our quality programming will remain the same, including TWO new programs we added last year. We have maintained an exceptional educational experience for our students for years." The school reports that none of the programming will be impacted by the move.

On average, the students rank two grade levels above their peers nationally. The students experience an intense academic curriculum, in addition to one and a half hours of Jewish education and Hebrew per day.

The school is continuing its participation in Mind UP, a research-based training program for educators and children. Developed by the Hawn Foundation, students learn to self-regulate behavior and mindfully engage in focused concentration required for academic success. Mind UP supports improved academic performance, while enhancing perspective-taking, empathy and kindness, as well as fostering complex problem solving skills. "When we look at educating the whole student, self-esteem and social development are very important," explains Shari Wladis, principal.

The school will also continue to offer the Innovation Lab-a place for students to create and dream. The Innovation Lab is a 21st century "Shop Class," which provides the students a place to "do it yourself." The Innovation Lab offers experiences in problem-solving, coding and electronics, graphic and fashion design, video and music editing and architecture. The Lab is part of the Jewish Academy's "STEAM" focused curriculum, an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math.

To further support Jewish education and your local Jewish day school, to get involved or for any questions, please contact Alan Rusonik, Head of School, at 407-647-0713.

See page 3 for more information about the changes being implemented for the Jewish Academy of Orlando.


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