Vision to Reality: STEM

May 12, 2022

Dear Berman Community,

It has been invigorating for me to communicate our vision updates with you. These letters are meant to inform 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 focus for this update is on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).

Intended Impact

As we continue to graduate our students into an evolving 21st century world, one thing is clear: our world is less concerned with what our students know (especially in this information age), and is much more concerned with what our students can DO with what they know. Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to build a strong STEM program that goes beyond the content. The focus of our STEM program is to challenge our students to apply their learning through hands-on labs and activities, to build and test hypotheses, to learn how things work and design ideas and improvements to current ideas – all with the goal of using our skills and talents to make the world a better place.


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:


  • Creating units of study and experiences that intentionally encourage our students to engage with nature and to use their own curiosity to make sense of how things work.

Lower School

  • Berman Lower School will offer an exciting STEM Design and Innovation program for our students in our new Howard Reiter ז״ל Lower School Innovation Lab.
  • Mr. Munz, our STEM educator, will guide his students in our new, dedicated Innovation Lab as part of their regularly scheduled classes in addition to enabling classroom teachers to use the space and engage students as a way of embedding STEM into the general curriculum.
  • Designing a project-based STEM curriculum that grows in complexity as students progress through the Lower School; students begin by tackling projects to teach foundational principles of science and progress to more complex units, including computer programming, woodworking, and fundamentals of engineering.
  • Training for all teachers on effective technology integration to aid in the teaching and learning process

Middle School

  • Engineering elective that focuses on: Simple Machines, Coding, Circuitry, 3D modeling and Design.
  • Several STEM clubs including The Right To Repair Club which allows students to take apart broken electronics and learn how to repair them independently.
  • Lego Building club which gives students building challenges which they need to meet within certain parameters.
  • Robotics club where students build and compete in the Lego Robotics Middle School Competitions.
  • Mr. Aaron Branda, Rabbi Nate Fein, Rabbi Tzvi Hametz, and Ms. Kristen Olson from our Humanities, Math, and Judaic departments were accepted to the Legacy Heritage Teacher Tech Institute at MIT this summer. They will work as a cohort to learn how to integrate STEM into their classes.
  • Women in STEM panel for our 6th graders where the students learn how local women use math in their everyday careers.
  • New Middle School Innovation Lab (if you are interested in sponsoring this lab, please email Shmarya Gasner at gasners@mjbha.org).

Upper School

  • The Upper School will utilize the new Dr. Aaron Chasan ז״ל Innovation Lab to bring STEM instruction to all of our areas of learning.
  • Two new engineering related course offerings for the 2022-23 school year include:
    • Computer Integrated Manufacturing: Manufacturing transforms ideas into products. This course provides an opportunity for students to develop a better understanding of this innovative and exciting industry. Students learn about manufacturing processes, product design, robotics, and automation. Students develop their knowledge and skills of Computer-Aided Design and Manufacturing to produce products using a Computer Numerical Controlled (CNC) mill. Students apply the knowledge and skills gained in this course as they collaborate to design, build, and program factory system models. Manufacturing provides products we use daily. How can a student become part of it?
    • Biomedical Engineering: In this course, students will be introduced to the breadth of the field of biomedical engineering. This field is at the junction between engineering and biology, with a focus on healthcare innovation. Through hands-on projects and problem solving, students will learn about several of the many specialties of biomedical engineering, such as biomaterials, biomechanics, pharmaceutical engineering, tissue engineering, and medical devices. This course is ideal for students interested in engineering, biology, or medicine.

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