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Ronit Amihude

Lori Binder

Gray Academy Hires Ronit Amihude as Director of Learning and Innovation, Enrollment Consistent with Last year, Makes Covid 19 Preparations

by Rhonda Spivak , Sept 1, 2021

The Winnipeg Jewish Review has had an opportunity to interview Lori Binder, Head of School and CEO of Gray academy of Jewish Education as the school gears up for the coming school year.

When asked about the enrollment at the school, Binder replied, "Our numbers for 2021-2022 are quite consistent with last year, slightly lower overall number, mainly because several families have moved out of the city. We have more than 20 new students coming into High School, which is a substantial uptick for us."

Ronit Amihude has joined the Gray Academy Leadership Team, and when asked to describe Amihude's new role, Binder responded that "Ronit Amihude, an experienced and passionate Jewish day school leader and graduate of our founding school Joseph Wolinsky Collegiate (’93), has joined the Gray Academy Leadership Team as Director of Learning and Innovation, starting in the 2021-2022 school year.

"Director of Learning and Innovation is a new full-time leadership role focused on evolving Gray Academy’s approach to Jewish day school education and advancing the goal of Educational Innovation, as outlined in the WBJE Strategic Plan,” Binder explained. “For us, innovation is about much more than how we use technology. It is about fresh approaches to our curriculum, our teaching strategies and the ways in which we engage children and optimize their success.”

In a career spanning more than two decades, Ronit has established herself as a champion of student learning and Jewish day school education. Her passion and creativity, together with her rich background and extensive experience, make her the ideal individual for this impactful new role at Gray Academy.

Ronit will lead Gray Academy’s efforts in key areas, including:

  • Overall educational programming, including Manitoba Education requirements, CAIS standards and Gray Academy’s school-wide goals and priorities.
  • Engaging with Jewish day schools across North America to shape and enhance our students’ Jewish, cultural and Hebrew language learning experiences from Early Years through to graduation.
  • Exploring opportunities for integration of learning outcomes in General and Judaic Studies.
  • Leveraging the latest research in education and child brain development to shape our approach to innovation in teaching and learning across all subjects.  
  • Supporting faculty in instructional and assessment strategies that engage, challenge and meet the needs of all learners.
  • Ensuring Gray Academy’s curriculum and methods are dynamic and innovative to prepare students to succeed in a rapidly changing, globalized world.

When asked about the preparations Gray Academy is making regarding Covid 19 this year, Binder noted that "In keeping with our Jewish values of respecting life, health and well-being, we are beginning our school year with extra vigilance. Gray Academy is retaining many of the health and safety requirements that have proven so effective in keeping our students, staff and families safe and healthy, including daily health screening, cohorting, mandatory mask use, distancing and more.  We are currently finalizing the details of our Framework for Health and Safety for 2021-22, in consultation with the Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education and our Pandemic Response Team."

Binder also stated that " We will once again be leveraging our outdoor spaces, including our outdoor classroom, new seating and new picnic tables to give students places to spend time when weather permits. We will also have our Gray Academy Tough Duck Ice Rink up and running again to provide plenty of outdoor fun in wintertime.

Binder also outlined Gray Academy's policies pertaining to Covid 19, which are as follows:

Vaccine policy for staff, workers and visitors

All Gray Academy faculty and staff are required to be fully vaccinated. All third-party providers (suppliers, workers, etc.), volunteers and visitors will be required to show proof of vaccination before entering our building.

Vaccine policy for students

The Winnipeg Board of Jewish Education (WBJE) has implemented a mandatory COVID-19 Vaccine Policy for Students. This policy requires that all students turning 12 by December 31, 2021, must be fully vaccinated to attend Gray Academy for the 2021-2022 school year.

The policy is not applicable to students aged 11 and younger, as a vaccine has not yet been approved in Canada for this age group. Once vaccine eligibility for this age group is approved, the WBJE will re-evaluate the specific requirements of its COVID-19 Vaccine Policy for Students. Families will be given time at the start of the school year to arrange for first and second vaccinations for any eligible children who are not yet vaccinated.

Additional protocols for all grades

Face masks will be mandatory for all students in Kindergarten through Grade 12. To facilitate distancing and minimize contact among groups of students, we will continue to have all students in cohorts. The rigorous cleaning and sanitization protocols put in place last year in partnership with the Asper Jewish Community Campus (AJCC) will remain in place.

Early Years and Elementary

Students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 6 will be kept in two-grade cohorts and will be spaced two metres apart in all classes. Students in Junior Kindergarten will not be required to wear masks in school but are asked to wear a mask when entering and exiting the school building. Masks will be mandatory for students in Grades 1 through 6 during recess.

High School

Students will be kept in two-grade cohorts and will be spaced 1.5 metres apart during instruction time, to the greatest extent possible, with the ability to shift to two metres throughout the day for mask breaks. Face masks will be mandatory for all students in Grades 7 through 12, in and out of the classroom, any time students are not two metres apart.

 Binder also pointed out that "We’re also welcoming several new staff members this year."

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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.