Home > Holocaust Education Comes to Homewood and the Hill District Through New Partnership Between Higher Achievement Pittsburgh and Community Day School

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Holocaust Education Comes to Homewood and the Hill District Through New Partnership Between Higher Achievement Pittsburgh and Community Day School

 
Diverse students facing history and what it means for their lives today
 
Through a new partnership with Community Day School, middle school students in the Higher Achievement Pittsburgh after-school program in Homewood and the Hill District are studying the Holocaust in Nazi Germany and how its lessons of the ever-present threats of racial and ethnic prejudice relate to their own lives.

Higher Achievement provides rigorous after-school and summer learning opportunities to young people from at-risk communities. Community Day School (CDS) is a Pre-K through grade eight independent Jewish day school located in Squirrel Hill. The new partnership between these two organizations is being made possible through a $20,000 AMO Holocaust Connections Endowment recently established at CDS by the Alfred M. Oppenheimer Memorial Fund of The Pittsburgh Foundation. The fund supports educational programs that create innovative ways to connect lives and experiences of diverse populations of students.
 
“Our most important obligation as educators is to help raise informed citizens of the world who are active, responsible decision-makers,” said CDS Head of School Avi Baran Munro, Ed.M. “Thanks to the generous grant from the Oppenheimer Memorial Fund, we have the opportunity to work with students at Higher Achievement Pittsburgh and the program’s staff, who share our goal of creating a better, more just society.”

“Higher Achievement employs a social justice curriculum that focuses on students learning about the importance of solidarity, voice, freedom and justice. This partnership with Community Day School provides real-life, cross-cultural experiences to make our social justice curriculum come to life,” said Wendy Etheridge Smith, Ph.D., Executive Director of Higher Achievement.

Specifically, CDS Hebrew and Jewish studies teacher Jackie Goldblum has launched a two-year initiative to teach scholars in the after-school program at Higher Achievement’s Homewood Achievement Center on Monday evenings about the Holocaust, as well as issues of identity, race, membership and prejudice.

Goldblum’s innovative educational program is based on the Facing History and Ourselves curriculum developed in Brookline, Mass. and taught in schools worldwide, integrated with resources she developed in conjunction with The International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Israel.

In addition, Higher Achievement scholars will visit the Gary and Nancy Tuckfelt Keeping Tabs Holocaust Sculpture (pictured) on the grounds of the Community Day School campus, where they will join CDS students in a collaborative learning experience. The landmark sculpture is made from hundreds of glass blocks stacked in a Star of David and filled with six million pop tabs collected by CDS history students, representing the six million Jews murdered by Nazi Germany and its accomplices. The Higher Achievement students also will join their peers from CDS at an annual Survivor Dinner together with local Holocaust survivors, which is both an intimate and hauntingly powerful experience.

“The transformative Facing History curriculum helps young people understand that history is not inevitable, and that collectively, the individual choices of ordinary citizens shape our lives in vitally important ways,” Goldblum says. “I hope these lessons and experiences will empower the students at Higher Achievement Pittsburgh to better understand their own choices and confront the injustices they face in their own lives, while building connections with our students at CDS so they can learn from each other.”

 

   

About Community Day School

Community Day School offers Pittsburgh families of all Jewish backgrounds an inclusive community where children in grades Pre-K through 8 enjoy a deep, meaningful cultural and religious experience interwoven with an academically advanced private school education. For more information, visit comday.org.

 

About Higher Achievement Pittsburgh

Higher Achievement’s rigorous after-school and summer academic program closes the opportunity gap for middle school youth in at-risk communities. It provides middle school students with a year-round learning environment, caring role models and a culture of high expectations, resulting in college-bound scholars with the character, confidence and skills to succeed. Higher Achievement Pittsburgh operates two Achievement Centers: in Homewood and the Hill District. For more information, visit higherachievement.org.

 

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