Last year, RHA undertook a major project: a three- year strategic plan made up of big, bold and dynamic initiatives. This plan is a living, breathing document that not only sets out an ambitious agenda for our school but also embodies the values and spirit of our community.
The plan is governed by a single idea: to bring the notion of ‘academy’ to life. Because that’s what RHA is. A progressive Jewish academy dedicated to building the next generation of original minds and courageous leaders.
What does a Jewish academy look like? For one, it offers the most advanced curriculum where students master not just the basics, but are challenged every day to think for themselves -- critically and creatively. Second, it encourages students to develop their own unique Jewish identity, all the while opening their minds to the world around them. Finally, a Jewish academy provides the discipline that builds character. At RHA, we believe that who you are is as important as what you achieve.
The plan has been put into effect and it is already having a major impact. Our new nursery school sold out in its first year– and for next year as well. We instituted a Reggio Emilia-inspired curriculum for our Early Years Program – a model of early childhood education developed in Europe that has been extensively tested and recognized as the best of its kind throughout the world. It’s no wonder the enrollment in RHA has increased by a stunning 25 per cent in a single year.
Though RHA has always been renowned for its math program, we never rest on our laurels. So this year, we created a Math Chair. We are honoured to welcome Xinli Wang who works with our faculty to teach best practices in math instruction. Next year will bring another Chair in a different academic area.
We’ve also introduced academic specialities in robotics, coding and technology. We are deepening our emphasis on STEM which has been shown to enhance problem- solving, and of course, prepare our kids for a technology- driven world. We are offering programs in financial literacy, chess and a much-broadened arts curriculum. And, we are piloting two new Hebrew programs for our middle school: Conversational Hebrew for students who want more language study; and Bible study in English for families who want less Hebrew but still want their children steeped in Jewish learning.
And last but certainly not least, we are building a physical environment that is as conducive to innovative learning as is our academics. Phase I of the renovation of our Early Years Wing is already complete.
Phase II of our renovation plan will see our elementary classrooms and hallways redone, all aimed at fosteringcollaborative learning and critical thinking. Then it’s time for the middle school with new classrooms, a makers space, learning commons, science lab and arts space. All the latest to support the most advanced academics.
We are honoured that RHA is the first Jewish day school in Ontario to be CAIS-accredited, the gold standard in education. These credentials put us in an elite group of private schools throughout the world.
With our faculty, our staff, our board of directors and our parent community, we are relentless in providing our students with an educational experience that equips them with the skills and character they need to thrive in the years to come.
It is our privilege to do so.