After a year as interim principal of Ottawa Modern Jewish School (OMJS), Shelley Rivier says she is stepping down knowing the school has a renewed vision and a stable plan for the future.
This newfound vigour comes in the form of an updated curriculum and a new principal, Justin Shulman.
Shulman, a former assistant director of Camp B’nai Brith of Ottawa and a teacher with more than 12 years of classroom experience, sees his new role as OMJS principal as a way to give back to the community.
“Becoming the principal of OMJS is an honour,” said Shulman.
“What makes me most excited is making connections with [families] who may not be involved in the community yet, opening our doors, and welcoming [them] … and having their kids experience an engaged curriculum.”
Shelley Rivier, herself an OMJS graduate, feels Shulman is a perfect fit for the school, which currently has 44 students enrolled.
Those feelings were echoed by her sister, Brenna Rivier, president of the OMJS board.
“He really sees the importance of OMJS. He has a variety of skills and he just fits our school so well,” said Brenna Rivier.
To update the OMJS curriculum, with the support of a Jewish Federation of Ottawa grant, Shelley Rivier worked with Toronto-based curriculum designer Seymour Epstein, a specialist in creating curriculums for Jewish supplementary schools.
She said Epstein “helped reimagine what was best for our school. He understood that OMJS serves an important niche in the community and helped design the best curriculum to suit our needs.”
As OMJS has combined classes – for example, Grades 2 and 3, Grades 4 and 5 – the new curriculum had to be designed in a way that it taught new material for two straight years so that those who were in Grade 4 one year wouldn’t be learning the same things in Grade 5.
Shelley Rivier hopes these enhancements will encourage increased enrolment at OMJS.
“I’d like to see us grow every year [as we] continue to meet the needs of our families,” she said.
OMJS classes take place on Sunday mornings at the Soloway Jewish Community Centre. For more information, visit www.omjs.ca or call 613-798-9818, ext. 234.