Vision to Reality: Humanities

March 10, 2022

Dear Berman Community,

Welcome to the second edition of the new “VR Report” (Vision to Reality). This is my second email as part of my commitment to share periodic updates with you about the steps we are taking, and plan to take, over the next couple of years that will move us towards our vision of becoming the flagship Modern Orthodox school in the United States. The first email update can be found here. The focus for this update is on Literacy and Humanities.

Intended Impact
Two things remain true as we evolve as a 21st century school: a) our students must continue to study history – learn about the past in order to best impact and shape the future and b) Our students, irrespective of future career choice, must learn to find their voice and be able to write and communicate. 

As we continue to graduate our students into an evolving 21st century world, it is imperative that we continue to build a strong Literacy and Humanities program with a focus on the following objectives: 

  1. Develop students with an awareness of how history shapes our present, and how present-day events and decisions inform the future of our world around us.
  2. Develop students with strong skills in reading, synthesizing, and evaluating different forms of media.
  3. Develop students that can integrate content to view the way they view the world.
  4. Help students articulate their own perspectives, and find their own voice.

With these objectives in mind, and to reach the intended impact, we have already begun to work on specific initiatives, and plan on working on others in the coming 12-24 months. Here are a few enhancements that you have either heard about already, or can expect to start hearing about: 


  • Preschool literacy initiative – a structured curriculum to provide early literacy foundations and to prepare our Pre-K students with pre-reading skills in preparation for Kindergarten

Lower School

  • Kindergarten-2nd grade – Structured literacy training – a structured, science-based approach to teaching literacy, including decoding, encoding/spelling, vocabulary, and reading comprehension
  • 3rd-5th grade – Writing workshop program that builds students’ understanding of writing, revising, and editing skills in multiple writing genres (personal narrative, opinion, fiction, and research writing)
  • 4th Grade – New Social Studies curriculum focusing on the regions of the United States

Middle/Upper School

  • Reading – Working with students on “close reading”, looking at individual pieces of texts and making textual connections, as well as adding choice novels that fall into general genres and categories that allow student choice
  • Writing rubrics – Standardizing rubrics across grade levels to strengthen students’ writing skills
  • Integrated units – Integrating units between History and English classes
  • Current events – Adapting our class literature and texts to respond to current events
  • Advocacy – Teaching students to write an op-ed that relate to their class reading, current events, and that connect to issues that are important to the student

We are excited about the work that’s already underway. As we roll out each of these programs, we will make sure to highlight them for you and your children and update you on the impact we are seeing with our students. 

As always, please feel free to reach out to me with any questions. In the meantime, please join me in celebrating these enhancements to our program. 

Until the next “VR” update…


Rabbi Dr. Yossi Kastan
Head of School