Monday, November 19, 2007

Steak Dinner

The following letter was taped to the doors of the Boys' High School Beis Medrash this morning, in response to the absolutely incredible job our boys did last night in their 14th Annual Steak Dinner. From peeling the potatoes and grilling the steaks, to setting up, serving, cleaning, and doing the dishes - not to mention the filming and editing of the surprise video tribute - there was no part of this magical evening that didn't come directly from our boys. This letter is but a glimpse into the many things that make our school, our kids, our faculty, and our community so special:

November 19, 2007


Needless to say, we were totally surprised, overwhelmed, and humbled by your tribute last night. I never suspected anything! What does that say for my perceptiveness and for your ability to withhold information? The very moving video combined the two most meaningful and precious things in our lives: you, our students, and our children, who as you heard, grew up with their parents always immersing their lives in the various schools of which we have been a part. Believe me guys, as bad as it might get for you, just imagine that your mother is your teacher and your father is your principal! And by the way, my sons were not “goody goodies.”

Thank you again for the very wonderful tribute. It makes us doubly proud to be the honorees for a school with boys of your caliber, your level of hakares ha tov, and your commitment to Rabbi Gersten and your teachers. You probably don’t realize what a rare commodity you are. Administrators in other schools can only dream about having a student body like yours.

May you all merit to mature into adulthood, carrying with you the fondest thoughts and the best lessons that you learned in the halls of MHA/FYOS.


The Kutliroffs

My Space, Facebook, etc.

I wanted to thank Allan Katz for sending me the link to this important article about keeping kids safe on My Space. While some of our kids (like kids in every other yeshiva high school in this country) definitely do have My Space pages, Facebook is generally the social networking site of choice amongst yeshiva day school kids. While perhaps a tad safer than My Space, just about everything mentioned in this article applies to Facebook as well. It is also worth noting that My Space and Facebook no longer have the market cornered either. This wikipedia entry lists another 60 or so similar sites, and it is only a matter of time before kids from our community and communities like ours begin building virtual communities on those sites as well. It is critical, therefore, that we create relationships with our children in which we can talk to them openly and honestly about their virtual lives and that we take the same steps to protect them in the "virtual" world as we do in the "real" world.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Pampered Kids

Today's Commercial Appeal features a story about Dr. Madeline Levine, author of an important book called The Price of Privilege. The book discusses a surprising array of issues facing high achieving teens from middle and upper class homes. The book is worth reading, as is the article, which features the expertise of our own school psychologist, Dr. Kip Parish.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Kids Being Kids

The primary objective of education is to prepare children for what lies ahead, and to facilitate their advancement into the next stage of their lives. Indeed, the world we live in is fixated on the notion of advancement and of ever moving higher, faster, and better. That's not bad. At times, though, we lose sight of the importance of allowing kids to be kids; of savoring the innocence, the exhilaration, and the playfulness that childhood brings. While walking from our Boys High School to our Girls High School the other day, I saw precisely that and I decided to capture it with my camera. These pictures speak for themselves.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Tal Am

The wonders of our Tal Am Ivrit curriculum were once again on display this morning as our 2nd grade celebrated their Chagigat Otiyot, marking the completion of their unit on the script alphabet. The celebration provided a microcosm of the Tal Am program itself by incorporating multiple sensory experiences - songs, props, stickers, books, and, of course, food - into the learning process. As Tal Am continues to expand and improve its product, we plan to expand and improve our implementation of it throughout our elementary grades. There are few more precious moments than when a grandmother joins with her grandson in an educational activity designed using the most recent educational research to teach fluency in our language and in our heritage. There are few better ways to bring our proud past together with our bright future.