Hebrew-language public school to open in San Diego

By Sandi Masori

SAN DIEGO– When the fall term of the new San Diego Unified School District term begins,  the first Hebrew Language public school in town will take its place among other charter schools.  Kavod Elementary (http://www.kavodelementary.org) in fact will will be the first public Hebrew Language school on the west coast.  A similar charter school already successfully operates on the east coast.

Los Angeles just got their charter approved, so they may be opening up the year after next, though the date is still to be determined.  In September schools will also open in Washington DC and Harlem.   Kavod, the name of which means “respect” or “honor” in Hebrew,  was supposed to open in San Diego last year, but some logistical problems kept it from opening.  But much has happened since then.  Kavod received a proposal from the San Diego Unified School District for co-location (sharing a school site with an existing school).  The Board of Education will be voting on it in the next few weeks.

This is not a Jewish school- it’s a public dual language school with a focus on Hebrew as a second language.  The school uses a language proficiency method, for natural language development.  The student to teacher ratio will be an amazing 15:1.

Sky Masori samples pizza he learned to make at Kavod Elementary School playdate

Sky Masori samples pizza he learned to make during Kavod Elementary School playdate

Anyway, parents and approximately 25-40 incoming Kavod students have been gathering at monthly playdates so that the children will get a chance to know each other for an easier transition.  Previous playdates have included visiting a firehouse and a jumpy-jump place.  This last playdate was really incredible though.  We went to California Pizza Kitchen in La Jolla Village Square where the assistant general manager, Martin Newcott,  greeted us with open arms.  Not only did he lead the kids through a pizza-making activity, and give them a tour of the kitchen, he also supplied pizzas for the adults to taste as well.  And, even more incredible, all of this was free as part of CPK’s community programs.  For schools and non-profits they will do these type of activities for no charge.  They also offer birthday parties with this same format (for a fee).

The children had a great time making their own pizza and learning all about the history of pizza making.  Did you know that cheese is the #1 most requested pizza topping?  The second most popular wouldn’t do as well in our Jewish circles, as it’s pepperoni, but it was still interesting to know.  We also learned that pizza as we know it was invented in New York, and not in Italy.

All in all, it was a fantastic event, and much thanks are due to Ronit Ron- Yerushalmi (the Hebrew director for the school) and California Pizza Kitchen for putting this together.

We haven’t scheduled the April playdate yet, but it will probably be something that also gives parents, both current and prospective, the chance to meet the new school director.  If you would like to learn more about this exciting new school, check out the website, and fill out the form to attend one of the parent information sessions.

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Masori, a restaurant reviewer for San Diego Jewish World, serves on the parent committee of the Kavod Elementary School.  She may be contacted via [email protected]

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