THE JCC ASSOCIATION HONORS THE ROBERT E. LOUP JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER (JCC DENVER / THE J) AS A LAB SCHOOL FOR ITS NEW SHEVA CENTER, AND BESTOWS TWO BIENNIAL EXCELLENCE AWARDS

DENVER, CO (March 15, 2016) – In 2016, The Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center Early Childhood Center (ECC) celebrates 80 years with national distinction for providing a premier early childhood experience for young children in Denver. In honor of this accomplishment, The JCC Association, the umbrella organization for Jewish Community Centers throughout North America, recently selected ECC as one of four communities as a Lab School for its new Sheva Center. In addition, ECC was also awarded two Biennial Excellence Awards by The JCC Association: Zahav, for Reimagining Open School Night: A Teacher Partnership, and Kol Ha Kavod, for Warm Welcome Visits and Playdates.

With a 10-year history participating in the national Jewish Early Childhood Education Initiative (JECEI), the ECC earned this distinction as a result of the school’s achievement in three defining elements of a lab school. The JCC Association Vice President and Director of the Sheva Center for Innovation in Early Childhood Jewish Education and Family Engagement, Mark Horowitz, determined that the school’s recent reorganization of it’s administrative team, including the creation of a Director of Education position, support from the J’s CEO, Board of Directors and senior leadership; and the school administrative team’s desire to stay at the fore-front of best practices in early childhood education were the defining factors in selecting ECC as a Lab School.

Meaningfully engaging families with young children is a critical component of the early childhood vision of JCC Association. As such, the school was poised for earning this distinction as a result of their collaborative work with other JCC Denver Departments to build Family Engagement initiatives. For over a decade, the ECC has proven successful with intentionally designed programs that help connect families to each other and the community, both in and out of the school. From innovative “family happy hour” events to Sunday Bagel Brunches and classroom Shabbat dinners, ECC is committed to nurturing relationships with the entire family.

As a Lab School, ECC will now serve as a model to other Jewish Community Center early childhood schools, as directors and teachers visit and engage with ECC’s professional team, learning about best practices and new programming. In addition, the ECC works tirelessly in its commitment to providing paid professional development time for teachers and administrators, alongside competitive salaries and benefits.

“Our educators and administrators are the foundation of our school,” says JCC Chief Program Officer Caron Blanke. “Investing in them is not just the right thing to do but is essential to ensure its success.”

Rachel Hagar, the school’s director, was also selected as one of 20 directors in North America to participate in a Sheva Director’s Institute, an organization intent on developing the next generation of early childhood leadership.

“We take great pride in the accomplishments of the school, and are so grateful to our ECC families for helping making it what it is today,” Hagar states. “Winning the Zahav Award this year further illustrates our commitment to excellence.”
 
Although the J’s ECC is enrolled at full capacity for the 2016-2017 school year, openings are available for summer 2016 and new parents are encouraged to visit the school. Call 303.316.6377 or email preschool@jccdenver.org for more information.

ABOUT THE ROBERT E. LOUP JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER
For more than 90 years, the Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center (the J / JCC Denver) has been a vibrant and inclusive family and social gathering place serving the Metro Denver community. Guided by timeless Jewish values, the J offers exceptional educational, cultural and recreational programs to serve and strengthen the community, recognized as a true asset serving all ages and demographics.

ABOUT EARLY CHILDHOOD CENTER AT JCC DENVER
Founded 80 years ago, the Early Childhood Center (ECC) is nationally recognized for its excellence, a foundational piece of The Robert E. Loup Jewish Community Center’s identity. Providing an exceptional Jewish early childhood education, each year the ECC serves 168 children from 12 weeks to five years old. For more information visit http://www.jccdenver.org/ecc/about/.

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