Hello EHA Families,
I cannot believe that we have been in school for almost a month! The saying, “time flies when you are having fun” is an understatement. It has been an absolute blast diving right in and getting to know your children and the amazing staff, which make up Epstein Hebrew Academy. I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome as I transitioned into a new building and new role.
I wanted to provide you with an academic update, including details regarding the professional development in-service our staff participated in this Wednesday. In such a short time, our staff has made excellent progress and I look forward to continued success as we:
• Further strengthen academics school-wide;
• Augment our inclusive, “menschlach” culture; and
• Streamline operations;
fulfilling our mission of being a progressive, creative and nurturing environment.
Let’s first talk about what ‘educational progressivism’ is (it is not a political movement). Our in-service began with a presentation from Rabbi Green, regarding progressive educational strategies that greatly enhance classroom learning. Progressive education is not just a word in our mission statement. It is a pedagogical movement designed to enhance 21st Century skills needed not only today’s workforce, but also for the future. Over the course of the school year, our team will continue to talk and implement progressive education strategies and hone our own pedagogical craft.
After our whole-team workshop, our faculty continued their learning in several distinct focus groups:
Our early childhood team worked on preparations for DIAL-4 testing, which will occur during the week of October 16th. The DIAL-4 assessment tests students for motor skills (e.g. skipping, jumping, cutting, writing), conceptual skills (knowledge of colors, counting) and language skills (e.g. knowledge of letters and words, ability to solve problems). In addition, the Parent and Teacher Questionnaires measure a child’s self-help skills (e.g. dressing, feeding, bathing) and social-emotional skills (e.g. getting along with others, staying on task). The DIAL-4 screening test can help parents and teachers decide if a child’s skills are appropriate for his/her age or if further testing or interventions are needed.
The team also worked diligently on our Reggio Emilia-inspired early childhood education program with a specific focus on documentation. Within Reggio Emilia, documentation is a vital and key component. Transcriptions of children’s remarks and discussions, photographs of their activity, and representations of their thinking and learning are carefully studied. Once these documents are organized and displayed, they help to make parents aware of their children’s experiences. Additionally, this process makes it possible for teachers to understand the children on a greater level and allows the teachers to better evaluate their own work with the students – making it a great learning environment for the whole child. The documentation process also results in a highly valued educational “archive” for each child.
Our general studies team devoted its time examining the science curriculum to determine how our current curriculum aligns to state and national learning standards. The work builds upon the tremendous amount of work that our general studies team completed over the past few years, working to first catalogue and then augment the science curriculum. As a former science teacher, I know the importance of a progressive, fun, engaging, rigorous, and hands-on curriculum. Developing students’ capacity to interpret information, and then to make, critique and revise claims based on evidence must be a primary goal of education.
Our general studies teachers are engaging in work to take the science curriculum to the next level. Developing more multi-disciplinary, cross-curricular approaches, providing a multitude of hands-on, research-based experiences and engaging with resources in the community such as St. Louis Science Center, Monsanto, Pfizer and the new National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, are all topics of conversations that will help drive our work.
The Judaics faculty worked together to master and catalogue a comprehensive scope and sequence of Chaggim/Holidays curriculum. As a team, they charted the specific content (Halachot/Jewish practices and laws for the holidays, cultural and historic underpinning and significance), the values best articulated within each holiday, and those relevant skills best taught and suited to each topic. They planned what experience and learning goals should be set for each grade level to ensure that the Chaggim units are thoughtfully aligned to curricular goals. It was very inspiring to watch, listen and participate in meaningful conversations!
Hebrew Language, PE, Art & Library
Our faculty from these disciplines met to advance the scope and sequence of their curricula. Our Hebrew language teachers met to chart the ideal progression of learning appropriate for each grade level.
In Art instruction, we researched and compared art curricula, as well a variety of resources and collegial advice, regarding the medium of ceramics! I know that our students are eager to make use of our new EHA kiln!
In Physical Education, we worked with a new and exciting ‘Project Adventure’ curriculum. Together with traditional sports and instruction, this dynamic and fun curriculum encourages collaboration, communication, problem solving and conflict resolution – critical life skills.
Throughout the school year, you will receive updates, much like this one, to keep you aware of the progress we are making as a school. If you have any questions about academic content or school culture, my door is always open. Mrs. Melissa Langston, the EHA office manager, can help to schedule meetings should the need arise.
Thank you again for a wonderful start to the school year, and I look forward to our great growth and success.
Mr. Anthony Graham
Rabbi Green shares with us all about the exciting first week of school, and the exciting week before school for our teachers! We learned and grew together to get ready for our amazing school year!
Congratulations, EHA’s Class of 2017/5777!
In the final Green Vlog of the 2016-17/5776-77 school year, Rabbi Green praises the Class of 2017 and wishes them well on all of their future endeavors. Mazel tov, graduates!
EHA Celebrates Yom Yerushalayim
Our wonderful Bnot Sherut organized a fun and informative program for the students in honor of the 50th anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification. Students enjoyed a musical Hallel, dancing, and a carnival which included a petting zoo, bounce houses, face painting, pita making and an archaeological dig!
Maccabiah games 5777
EHA’s 5777 Maccabiah games are underway! Maccabiah is a crown jewel of informal education for a reason: it creates huge opportunities for students to shine and display leadership and abilities in less conventional arenas. Students that don’t always find that they shine in one academic area are suddenly celebrated and succeeding in whole new arenas! All types of learners and leaders find expression and it is why we love it as a staple of good education.
Happy mother’s Day!
Rabbi Green and students of EHA share their sincere appreciation of their Moms in this week’s Green Vlog. Thank you to all of the EHA Moms for sharing your beautiful children with us!
Welcome back, 8th grade!
Our 8th graders guest star in this week’s Green Vlog to share their favorite parts of their trip to Israel!
Saturday, April 29, 2017 | Yom Shabbat Kodesh
Shabbat. Shabbos. What do these words mean to you? This Shabbat started with a trip to the Kotel. At the holy Kotel we danced and davened, and it was super legit. We came back to the youth hostile where we were served a beautiful dinner complete with a chupa schnitzel (editor’s note: that’s Sarah’s special phrase, an inside joke — RYG). We ended our night with an oneg where we played games and smiled and cried and stuff.
On Saturday we all woke up to the beautiful sound. It was a sound of “we woke up 30 minutes late so you have 5 minutes to get ready”. It wasn’t stressful because whether we have 5 minutes or an hour to get ready I and someone else from our room will still take 20 minutes to sit up, and that’s ok. We walked and talked and after a long tiring 15 minutes of walking we made it, we made it to a Shul where Jews congregate to pray. We ate a yummy kiddish, and were welcomed by the rabbi. Then we came home ate lunch, went on a walk to a train thingy, slept on suitcases, and then we ate some food we all bought for each other in the Shuk, had a picnic whilst watching the sun set from a view that was spectacular (the Tayalet/Haas Promenade with a view of the entire old city and surrounding mountains- RYG). Then we said havdallah, packed and were on our way to the airport. It’s been a blast!
— Sarah Kline
Friday, April 28, 2017 | Yom Shishi Erev Shabbat Kodesh
Today we went to a shul for davening and after went down to south to S’derot on the border with Gaza and saw what it was like to live there because they had rockets being thrown at them like 5 or more times a day and a lot of kids were traumatized because they would get woken up and had 15 seconds to get sheltered. We got to play and volunteer at a preschool there and chase the kids and sing with them! After that we went to the shuk Machane Yehudah and a lot of family and friends came to see us. We got to go shopping for Shabbat with everyone else, and bought all sorts of things for lunch. Now it’s time to get ready for shabbes and then we are going to the kotel to daven and eat food, so everyone have a good shabbes! Also I would like everyone to wish the Blues luck in the second round and they are playing tonight, thank you! See you all soon!
— Avital Bracha Rubin