Principal’s Blog

Dear EHA Families,

I am so proud of the learning our school community has accomplished. Our students continue to grow and learn each day, as do our amazing faculty! It is my pleasure and privilege to share with you all the amazing learning opportunities that have benefited our faculty over the last couple of jam-packed weeks.

First, I’m pleased to announce that our Safe Touch program conducted on January 25th in conjunction with Jewish Family and Children’s Services was a great success! All students in grades Kindergarten through 5th grade learned response skills and knowledge related to body safety through non-threatening and age-appropriate lessons.

Research shows that social-emotional learning in schools is crucial to the notion of developing the “whole child” including increasing academic achievement, fostering positive social skills, and changing attitudes/behaviors (Taylor, Oberle, Durlak, and Weissberg, 2017). Programs like Safe Touch are important proactive programs to help our students avoid potentially unhealthy, dangerous, or abusive situations.

Our staff has been hard at work increasing our understanding of what it means to provide a creative, progressive and nurturing environment for all children.

During the staff professional development in-service on January 24th we were privileged to welcome Pam Dunn from the Peaceful Project to conduct training for our team. Mrs. Dunn presented an overview of social-emotional learning and discussed strategies our staff can use to support social-emotional growth.

On February 5th-7th the Peaceful Project team will be coming back to EHA in order to work directly with our 4th-6th graders. The team will spend two hours with students and teachers in each grade to discuss positive communication, peaceful resolution, and team-building.

On January 8th our staff was fortunate to participate in a session titled, “Sensory Challenges and Strategies for the Classroom” presented by Tziona Zeffren, an occupational therapist from TherapyWorks for Kids, LLC. During the session we learned about what sensory processing disorders are and some easy to implement strategies which can be used in classroom settings.

We are also blessed to be able to send two groups of teachers in the coming months to specialized professional development sessions facilitated by EducationPlus.

  • Specially Designed Instruction and Accommodations/Modifications– This workshop will provide information on:
    • How to determine what specially designed instruction to provide
    • How to determine the need for accommodations and modifications
    • How to document what’s being provided and the differences between all of these services
  • De-escalation Skills that Work in the Heat of the Moment- This workshop will provide information on:
    • How to respond to individuals with escalating behaviors in a calm, rational, and professional manner
    • How to effectively assess what is taking place in the heat of the moment
    • Experience the impact of nonverbal and verbal communication
    • Learn how to avoid power struggles
    • Learn the importance of self-monitoring during escalating situations

At Epstein Hebrew Academy our approach to education is always with a creative, progressive and nurturing lens. Providing targeted professional development opportunities for our staff is a vital component of ensuring our students always have the best academic and social-emotional education possible. I am thrilled when walking down the halls of EHA to see the strategies we have been learning in professional development being implemented in our classrooms, in the cafeteria and at recess time. I look forward to seeing the amazing growth our students and staff will continue to make in the second semester!

Shabbat Shalom,

Mr. Graham

Academic Principal