Solomon Schechter Day School is a recipient of a generous grant from the Morton E. Ruderman Inclusion Scholarship Fund. A partnership between CJP, the Ruderman Family Foundation and Gateways: Access to Jewish Education, this Fund will help to defray the cost of both school-based and ancillary services for students with disabilities and special needs, particularly those who require financial aid. The goal of the Fund is to attract new families who are prevented from sending their children with disabilities and special needs to Boston-area Jewish day schools due to affordability challenges, as well as to support existing families by sustaining and enhancing current financial aid awards. The Fund honors the legacy of Morton E Ruderman, and all that he did to inspire and support our community in creating more inclusive schools for all Jewish children.
We are grateful!
Schechter welcomed students from the Reali School in Haifa last week for our annual eighth-grade exchange program. Reali and Schechter students, guided by their teachers, enhanced their team-building skills at Project Adventure in Beverly, MA. Activities, including ice breakers, helped students form new friendships between the two schools as well as within each school. Students relied on each other to climb trees, walk a tightrope, and problem-solve together. In the spring, Schechter eighth graders will have the opportunity to visit the Reali students while on their Israel Study Tour. This partnership is one of many ways Schechter students connect with their Israeli peers.
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, fourth grader Mika Eloul asked the Upper School community to “think pink” in October and show support by wearing pink every Friday, but in particular on October 21, also known as “Wear It Pink Day!” On that day, students were invited to wear a hat to school in lieu of a kippah for a donation of $1. They sold pink strawberry lemonade smoothies at lunch time for $3. And students created an Honor Wall in the front forum of the Shoolman Campus where individuals could post a message honoring or remembering a family member or friend for a donation of $1. All proceeds as well as a picture of our Honor Wall will be sent to the American Cancer Society.
Lower school Art teacher Susan Fusco-Fasio is integrating students’ summer reading into a life lesson. In the second grade summer reading book, Donovan’s Word Jar, a boy visits his grandmother at a senior residence where he mistakenly leaves his word jar in the lobby. The residents dip into the jar and the word collection inspires memories, combating their boredom and bringing them joy.
Susan shares, “In art, we are making paintings to serve same purpose. The paintings are created to help trigger memories and bring happiness to older adults in a future art display at a senior residence/nursing home. Artists make thoughtful and sensitive decisions in their watercolor paintings. Students engaged in memory exercises with my random object collection and wrote down what memories the object triggered. Following class, we looked at a few paintings to see if memories could be evoked. Students commented that not all memories are happy ones, and how that is fine too. We decided to think of our own good memories to help come up with ideas for painting subjects. Some of the ideas that came up included the students own memories of vacations to other countries, ball games at Fenway and birthdays. Other students suggested weddings and baby births – memories that an older person might recall.Students took selfies with an iPhone to attach to their artist bios where they wrote about themselves and why they chose the subject in their painting.”
Lower school Art teacher Susan Fusco-Fasio is integrating our summer reading into a life lesson. In the second grade summer reading book, Donovan’s Word Jar, a boy visits his grandmother at a senior residence where he mistakenly leaves his word jar in the lobby. The residents dip into the jar and the word collection inspires memories, combating their boredom and bringing them joy.
Susan shares that students created paintings “to help trigger memories and bring happiness to older adults in a future art display at a senior residence/nursing home. Artists make thoughtful and sensitive decisions in their watercolor paintings. Students engaged in memory exercises with my random object collection and wrote down what memories the object triggered. Following class, we looked at a few paintings to see if memories could be evoked. Students commented that not all memories are happy ones, and how that is fine too. We decided to think of our own good memories to help come up with ideas for painting subjects. Some of the ideas that came up included the students own memories of vacations to other countries, ball games at Fenway and birthdays. Other students suggested weddings and baby births – memories that an older person might recall.Students took selfies with an iPhone to attach to their artist bios where they wrote about themselves and why they chose the subject in their painting.”
Look for these paintings at the Shaller Campus in the next few weeks, while Susan looks for a senior residence at which to showcase the exhibit.
by Robert Jaye, Intermediate Division Science Teacher
Last spring, fourth-grade Science students began making popcorn in class. The children were very excited about the idea and wanted to know if there was butter, salt and drinks to go along with the snack. Each student was handed a few kernels (seeds) along with soil, a cup and water. The making of the popcorn began with a lesson: planting seeds, observing germination and discovering how to grow plants indoors. In just a few weeks, the young plants began to outgrow their soil cups. During the warm sunny spring days, students were outdoors during Science class, prepping the garden and then planting the young corn into the organic raised garden beds in the front of the Shoolman Campus. We set up an Israeli technology drip irrigation system used on Kibbutz En Gev to use minimal amounts of water to keep the plants healthy and growing over the summer.
When the the former grade 4 students returned last month as fifth graders, we began Science class outdoors, measuring the plants, counting the ears and learning the different parts and function of the plants from their roots to the tassel. The students were now learning about plants which they germinated from tiny seeds that were taller than them!
Last week on a beautiful sunny autumn afternoon, we harvested the ears of corn and pulled the plants out of the top soil. When the students experienced difficulty pulling the stalks out from the soil, it emphasized and proved how the roots provide support (and water) for the plants. The ears of corn are currently drying out for a few weeks until they have the right moisture content to make them ready to pop and eat.
Check back for photos of the yummy finale. This is a slow, but delicious way to make popcorn!
Corn Fun Facts
- Did you know the tassel on the top of the plant releases the pollen?
- Each strand of silk at the end of the ear is (wired) connected to an individual kernel (seed). The silk (at a microscopic level) carries the pollen to fertilize the individual kernel.
Last Thursday our fourth and fifth graders participated in a program run by Project Adventure, a group that provides outdoor adventure education programs for students of all ages. They spent almost the entire day outside on the field and in the woods nearby, involved in variety of fun, yet challenging activities designed to build and strengthen teamwork, leadership and communication skills, and other positive social skills. “Gradually throughout the day, the children learned that by listening to each other and working together they were more successful at accomplishing their goals,” says David Wolf, Intermediate Division Supervisor. “Hopefully, they will carry over the lessons learned from this experience and apply these useful skills both in and out of school.”
As part of the Parent Association’s Creative Arts and Sciences Program, honey beekeeper Birgit DeWeerd, visited with first graders to share her experience as a beekeeper and her vast knowledge of all things bee. “First graders enjoyed visiting with the beekeeper this week as they explored a day in the life of a beekeeper. The children learned how honey is harvested and about all different kinds of bees,” First Grade Teacher, Marla Quinn, shares, “In class, first graders reflected on all of the new information they learned. A favorite fact was that queen bees lay about 2000 eggs per day! It’s good to “bee” a first grader!”
Schechter has named Yosef Abramowitz ’78 and Heidi Birnbaum Aaronson ’96 as recipients of the school’s Arnold Zar-Kessler Outstanding Alumni Award. Created in 2014, the alumni award is given in honor of former head of school, Arnold Zar-Kessler, and his 21 years of dedication to and leadership of Solomon Schechter Day School.
Yosef Abramowitz ’78 was selected for being an influential, entrepreneurial, and innovative leader in the field of solar energy. Yossi is President of Gigawatt Global and its Israeli affiliate Energiya Global. He is a 2015 Nobel Prize nominee for Gigawatt Global’s work with the Rwandan solar field project, which now provides 6% of the country’s power. He co-founded the first Israeli solar company, Arava Power, in 2006. CNN named Abramowitz one the top six Green Pioneers Worldwide.
Heidi Birnbaum Aaronson ’96 was selected for her significant contributions to her dental profession, as well as her community. Heidi organized an annual public health event with the Red Sox – Tooth Day at Fenway – that brings awareness to the dangers of chewing tobacco and the risk of oral cancer. Heidi gives back to her community by providing dental exams and treatments to soldiers who are preparing for active duty and to the Jewish community by participating in a program that provides free dental treatments to Holocaust survivors. Her contributions to the field of dentistry have earned her one of the Massachusetts Dental Society’s top awards, the “Ten Under Ten Award.” Heidi’s brother Daniel Birnbaum ’94 writes, “And while I am certain that she is proud of all of her accomplishments, Heidi’s proudest moment was when she walked her 5-year-old daughter, Abby, to her first day of kindergarten at Schechter, to the very same classroom in which she was a student 28 years ago. As evident from all she has done in her career thus far, Heidi clearly embodies Schechter’s vision and mission.”
The awards were presented at the school’s eighth grade graduation on June 14 at Temple Beth Avodah in Newton, MA. The Arnold Zar-Kessler Outstanding Alumni Award is presented annually to an alumna/us whose life embodies Schechter’s vision and mission. Nominations to the Director of Alumni Relations are due each year by March 15. Click here to read Heidi’s remarks.
Eighth graders took a field trip to Nahant for a hands on marine biology experience. Grades 7 and 8 Science Teacher, Rebecca Edelman shares, “The 8th graders traveled to Northeastern’s Marine Science Center in Nahant. They completed a variety of activities in the field of marine science, including quadrat studies, which involves examining a standard size area and collecting a variety of data for that area. They counted and identified marine life, estimated how much of their quadrat was covered in seaweed, and tested temperature, pH and salinity. This data is used to determine how healthy the area is and how well it is supporting the living organisms in the area. They also performed a mussel dissection. The trip touched upon content covered in their middle school science classes over the years and served as a wrap-up to their time at Schechter.”