Jewish School Given $15 Million; Money to Fund Scholarships, Enhance Curricula

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), February 1, 2006 | Go to article overview

Jewish School Given $15 Million; Money to Fund Scholarships, Enhance Curricula


Byline: Keyonna Summers, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The country's largest independent Jewish community day school, which is based in Montgomery County, has received a $15 million gift from its founders.

Administrators of the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville think it is the largest monetary gift received by an independent school in the area. Charles E. Smith caters to more than 1,500 Jewish children.

"We're just thrilled for the possibility it builds for the students and the impact it can have on students in similar schools through the work we do," Head of School Jonathan Cannon said of the financial boost. "This is a huge continuing step."

The school will match dollar-for-dollar the first $5 million of the gift to fund student scholarships. The money will offset the $3 million in assistance given annually to students.

The remaining $10 million of the gift will be used for educational purposes, including an expansion of the musical and visual art programs, enhancement of the social studies and history curricula, and an upgrade of the technological facilities, Mr. Cannon said.

At Charles E. Smith, general studies are combined with Judaic and Hebrew language studies and daily prayer programs.

"One of the real messages we want to give to the kids is there's a lot of links between what you're learning," Mr. Cannon said. "We hope that these units will be a national model for other similar schools that face similar challenges or seek similar solutions. It's not just us alone; if we can be of assistance to other schools, we will."

The gift comes from the children and spouses of founder Charles E. Smith, who died in 1995.

Mr. Smith, who was a pillar of the local Jewish community, opened the school 40 years ago with a $17,000 budget. …

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Jewish School Given $15 Million; Money to Fund Scholarships, Enhance Curricula
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