TASA Hires Head of School

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Rabbi Dov Nimchinsky Joins TASA

After a process spanning nearly 7 months, dozens of resumes, and more than a dozen phone, video, and in-person interviews, the Shmuel Bass Torah Academy of San Antonio is proud to announce the hiring Rabbi Dov Nimchinsky as our next leader.

Rabbi Nimchinsky joins TASA from Pittsburgh, PA where he has served as Assistant Principal for grades K-8 at Hillel Academy of Pittsburgh since 2010. Prior to that, Rabbi Nimchinsky was the Director of Curriculum & Instruction at the Robert M. Beren Academy in Houston, where he also taught middle and high school Judaic Studies.

He has been awarded the Irving L. Samuels Outstanding Teacher Award for Judaic Studies, the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for Excellence in Jewish Education, as well as a grant from the AviChai Foundation to develop technological tools to assist in the teaching of Judaic Studies. Rabbi Nimchinsky has developed a strong national reputation among Jewish Day School educators as an excellent school leader.

Rabbi Nim (as he is affectionately called) holds a Masters Degree in education and has been teaching adults, children, and teens for over 28 years.

He and his wife Rivkey (a technical writer, publications specialist, and educator) have been blessed with 9 wonderful children ranging in age from seven to twenty-six, to go along with two grandchildren. They and their children are very excited to join the TASA family.

Rabbi Nim has already hit the ground running, working on everything from the details of the daily schedules, to implementing online collaborative tools, to strategic enhancements of our curriculum and pedagogical philosophies. We are excited to share with you his vision in the coming weeks and months and trust you will likewise share in our excitement for the future of TASA.

Please join us in welcoming him and his family into our community.

The future of TASA shines bright!

Sincerely,

TASA Board of Directors

Why I send my kids to Jewish Day School

Sarfati GirlsMy wife, Danielle, and I made the commitment to send our kids to Jewish Day School for one reason, and one reason only. But before I detail that reason, I’ll tell you other reasons that actually have no bearing at all on our decision.

  1. Judaic Studies. We didn’t make the decision to send our kids to day school because they would learn Judaics. Sure, it’s a nice benefit that during the school day they are taught the foundational scriptures of our religion. And of course it’s great that they learn in-depth the weekly Torah portion, they learn the customs of our holidays, and they learn not only how to pray, but the value of prayer. Those are all great things. But ultimately, if that’s what we wanted, we could get that through before-school, after-school, or Sunday-school programs.
  2. Hebrew Studies. We didn’t select our school because our kids would learn Hebrew as a foreign language. We could very well have exposed them to Hebrew at home, online, or with a tutor. We could have given them a Rosetta Stone Hebrew education, but that’s not what we wanted. Our goal is not to have them speak Hebrew as native Israelis…simply because they are not native Israelis; that standard is too high for anyone living outside of Israel. Our goal is for them to have a foundational understanding of Hebrew that they can choose to build upon throughout their lives.
  3. General / Secular Studies. Despite the Shmuel Bass Torah Academy recently receiving unprecedented high scores in their accreditation, we also didn’t select a Jewish Day School for its strong secular studies program. If all we wanted for our girls was for them to receive a strong general studies education, we would have elected to send them to any number of top public, charter, or private schools across the city where they would have been exposed to much more esoteric concepts than are currently offered at TASA. Yes, the level of general studies at TASA is exceedingly high (proven by both the test scores and the accreditation results) and yes, more and more programs will be added in the coming years. But despite the individualized instruction and care given by the teachers of TASA to each student to uniquely prepare them, general studies were not the reason we selected our school.

No. The reason we have worked tirelessly for the last four years to ensure the existence and sustainability of San Antonio’s Jewish Day School that our girls love is because it is the only place in San Antonio where our girls are exposed to a balanced fusion of General Studies, Hebrew, and Judaics that will prepare them to enter the real world rooted in who they are while equipped with the 21st century skills they will need to succeed. Studies routinely prove Jewish Day Schools to be the most effective, long-term solution for ensuring the continuity of the Jewish people while excelling in the real-world – that’s exactly what we want for our girls.

The mixture of real-world skills with Jewish values, ethics, and morals is impossible to get at any public, charter, non-Jewish private, or homeschool, even with supplemental Jewish programs. Why? The answer is simple: TASA’s environment reinforces that you can be Jewish AND live in the secular world at the same time whereas the other options create silos. In one environment, you are only focused on secular topics while not reinforcing your “Jewishness”, while in the other environment, you are only focused on the Jewish part while ignoring the secular world around you.

I am confident that my girls, as well as the other students at TASA, will not find that duality of existence – they are firmly proud of living as Jews while learning the real-world skills and applications to succeed in the path of their choosing. In a world with both increasing anti-Semitism and intermarriage, we want to give our girls the best chance to continue our Jewish lineage into the next generations – that is why we choose Jewish day school.

-Aaron Sarfati, President of the Shmuel Bass Torah Academy of San Antonio

AdvancED Accreditation Approved

From the onset, the Shmuel Bass Torah Academy has sought to develop a tremendous, cutting-edge academic program. Our staff has worked tirelessly the last three years to implement an advanced curriculum focused on providing our students with the skills they need to succeed in the 21st century world.

To validate this goal, we set accreditation as a top priority. We engaged one of the world’s largest accrediting agencies almost immediately and began the long and arduous process at the earliest moment possible. On Thursday, March 31, 2016, the AdvancED Accreditation Commission granted final approval to our External Review Report and we are happy to report that we are now an officially accredited educational institution.

However, more important than simply receiving the accreditation were the objective scores we received from our External Review committee. In their words, they were “blown away” by our school and our focus on educating Jewish leaders. The following charts given an indication of how well we actually performed relative to other accredited schools in the AdvancED Network.

For the full details of our accreditation, please visit the accreditation page on our website.

TASA has developed a great educational product for our community’s Jewish children. The board, administration, and staff remain committed to our core mission – the education of the Jewish future.

We encourage the entire community to explore what our school can offer your child(ren). We encourage you to become a part of the TASA family and experience first-class Jewish education. Your children will grow and thrive in a way that is incomparable anywhere else in our city. The full-time combination of a high-quality general studies program with a continuous, permeating emphasis on a foundational Jewish identity can only be found at the Shmuel Bass Torah Academy.

Contact our office today at office@torahacademysa.com or 210.607.7261 to schedule your tour. You will see what our Accreditation External Review team saw – active, engaged, and happy learners.

TASA Recommended for Accreditation!

For the past three years, our school has undergone many important improvements, the pinnacle of which came to fruition on March 10, 2016. TASA has been recommended for accreditation through the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Council on Accreditation and School Improvement (SACS CASI), an accreditation division of AdvancED™. Over the course of three days, March 8-10, TASA hosted the final, most rigorous step in this process with truly amazing results. 

Following the External Review, we are being recommended for full accreditation, an honor that is seldom bestowed upon any school seeking accreditation in its initial three year timeframe. This is the earliest that a school can qualify, and TASA earned some extremely impressive distinctions in the process. This most significant accomplishment sends a clear message about the top echelon nature of our school’s learner and family engagement,  curriculum quality and efficacy, student assessment performance results, our school’s great fidelity to our mission and purpose, and the outstanding curricular leadership that collaboratively produced this hallmark of success.

The positive impact of this event cannot be overstated in how vital this accomplishment has been in establishing the quality of our total program. Furthermore, we will now have a wider impact on the quality of education beyond our beautiful campus, that will now extend across the globe. AdvancED is the global leader in providing continuous improvement and accreditation services to over 32,000 institutions, serving 20 million students worldwide!

AdvancED™ insists on a relentless pursuit of excellence – for itself and for the institutions it accredits. The ethic of excellence ensures that institutions will find rich benefits from accreditation and that parents can confidently make informed decisions about their children’s education, knowing that their child’s accredited school has been identified as meeting rigorous standards and being committed to continuous improvement in education. While accreditation is a set of rigorous protocols and research based processes for evaluating an institution’s organizational effectiveness, it is far more than that. 

Today, accreditation examines the whole institution, the programs, the cultural context, and the community of stakeholders who determine how well integrated the system is for meeting the needs of students. Ultimately, the focus is always on providing the best learning environment for students in order to prepare them for the demands of the future. For more information about SACS accreditation and AdvancED™ visit www.advanc-ed.org online.