Compassion, Kindness and Community

This week a team of us; Rabbi Rapoport, Benjamina Menashe, Julia Guard, Sara Weiss, Liora Minkin and I were joined by Rabbi Rob Toren, Director Samis Foundation and Samis Trustee David Ellenhorn as we all, guided by Alex Pomson, our consultant from the Rosov Consulting Group, Skyped in from Israel as we worked on our educational outcome project, “Measuring Middot.” This effort is geared at developing a way to ascertain whether we are realizing our goals around our Social Emotional Learning curriculum here at SHA. No small endeavor.

Towards that end we worked on defining what observable behaviors that demonstrate; feeling Compassion, acting with Kindness and building Community – our three Project SHAlom values introduced this year.

I would love to draw you into this conversation.

What do you think? What do these values look like in your home? Is cleaning one’s room, Kindness?  Is taking out the garbage Compassion? Is inviting all the children in your class to a birthday party, Community? When you see these values demonstrated by your children do you acknowledge them as such? Do you draw your children’s attention to these values when you are acting upon them? Reflect and by all means share your thoughts through email or even in person!

Speaking of which, please join me and Liora this Wednesday morning, 8:30 – 9:00 for some coffee and some talk. We hope to repeat this through the year so that we can have opportunities to share ideas and thoughts.

Heading Into Winter Break

With the milestone of Winter Break approaching us, here are three questions:

  • What has been the highlight of the school year thus far?
  • What new friendships have you and your child made?
  • Who would you like to introduce to the “SHA Experience”?

As we head into the re-enrollment season we are turning up our recruitment efforts. We invite you to partner with us in broadening the SHA reach. Please consider which families that you know that might be a good match for SHA. Consider touring SHA with them, helping us to be in touch with them or inviting them to an SHA upcoming event.

Let’s do this – it’s THE SHA WAY!

Chanukah Note

I love that the root of the Hebrew word Chanukah shares a root with the Hebrew word for education as well, Chinuch. The shared root casts light upon our understandings of each word. The celebration of Chanukah, so named on account of the re-dedication, L’chanech means to initiate. The Maccabees were able to miraculously re-dedicate the Temple, the Beit Ha’Mikdash in 165 BCE after it had been desecrated by the Greeks in 167 BCE.

There is much initiating in education, in chinuch!

There are always new things in the works at SHA. This year we are deeply engaged in our NWAIS Self-Study for re-accreditation, our new student assessment tool, Star 360, our Samis Partnership – “Measuring Middot” directed at our desire to understand the impact of our Social and Emotional Curriculum, Project SHAlom and our newly articulated “Portrait of an SHA Student” see below.

In addition, here are some other projects that are new this year at SHA:

In EC: Eagles Art, Chalav U’Dvash, Project Based Learning approach to the Playground in Robins.

In LS: Math Focus Problem Solving, piloting Interactive Social Studies “Storypath” units, Common Core Aligned Writers Workshop, Intensified Conversational Hebrew, Class Meetings and Community Service in 5th Grade.

In MS: Rocketry in Physics Class, expanded dissections in Biology, Engineering Elective, Community Service Elective, Algebra II, Tech Smart – plus Advisory, Student Council and Class Meetings.

Coming soon…the SHA Maker Space!

Next time someone asks you what’s new at SHA, you know what to say!

Note from December 3

Let’s start with a poem by Shmuel HaNagid (993 – 1056)

Soar, don’t settle for earth

               And sky – soar to Orion;

And be strong, but not like an ox or mule

               That’s driven – strong like a lion.

I love this poem. I connect it to everything we do at SHA. Our goal is to have all of our students soar! It was my pleasure this week to again have the experience of touring a number of people though our school. It is always a delight; the building, our students’ work on the walls but mostly our classes and the teacher and students in them. I am officially issuing an invitation to each of you to bring friends and family to visit our school.

Thanksgiving Note

I was surprised to see this definition on Dictionary.com;

thanksgiving: [thangks-giv-ing] the act of giving thanks; grateful acknowledgment of benefits or favors, especially to God.

It seems that the offering of thanks and the offering of thanksgiving are slightly nuanced, with thanksgiving connoting something of a religious overtone. I am in total agreement. I deeply believe that gratitude is a religious practice and that we offer gratitude as part of our Tefilah form the minute we awake and till the moment we go to sleep. I often add a personal prayer at the end of the day thanking the Almighty for my safe sheltered home and pillow. We have so much to be grateful for and this week SHA has so much to be grateful for, as well.

Here is a start:

  • Generosity of our community
  • A memorable evening celebrating THE SHA WAY
  • Elegant leadership and inspiring words from our Gala Chair, Sandi Kaplan
  • Moving and meaningful words from our honorees, Jacob and Benjamina
  • A most, most entertaining and clever MC, Simon Amiel! Never better.

As we approach the holiday of Thanksgiving I encourage you to share your Thanksgiving Gratitude List!