Monday, November 24, 2008

Steak Dinner 08

I wonder how many schools in the world (other than our Girls School) have something quite like our Boys High School Steak Dinner. How many other schools have an event in which every single student voluntarily devotes hours upon hours to inviting community members, purchasing supplies, cooking, setting up, serving, and cleaning up? Even if there was another, what are the chances that the food they cooked would actually be worth paying for? How many other boys high schools have an event in which students spend months filming and editing a video which was hysterically funny yet completely clean and tasteful? Better yet, how many boys high schools would use such an event and such a video each and every year to express heartfelt gratitude to one of their teachers? And how many schools of 35 boys could get 300 people out to support them? I have a feeling there aren't too many.

Thank you Rabbi Gersten, and a job very well done guys. You should all be proud.

Friday Tisching

The smell of chulent, the sounds of the guitar, flute, and 35 boys singing at the top of their lungs, topped off by inspiring divrei chizuk, could only mean one thing... another CYHSB Friday morning tisch.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

MHA Art Gets a Virtual Home

I am thrilled to tell you that Mrs. Chany Fleischhacker has become the third MHA faculty member to join the blogosphere this year. Her blog, called The Art Beat of MHA, is intended to keep the universe informed of all of the wonderful things our children are learning and creating in our Lower School Art program. With a simple click of the mouse you'll see that Mrs. Fleischhacker has already posted all sorts of great content related to the Art program to her site. It took me almost a year to post a video to my blog and she has one there on the very first day!

I'm going to add a feed from her blog to my blog list (in the lower right hand corner of this site) so that we can all keep tabs on her site as it continues to grow.

Thank you Mrs. Fleischhacker and welcome to the wonderful world of blogging!

Take Your Children Here

As I noted in this week's newsletter message, the vast number of enriching opportunities which the internet provides us all is matched only by the growing number of avenues for potential harm it presents. For a staggering number of recent statistics related to internet safety for children visit the statistics page of the site called Enough is Enough. For the article from the journal Pediatrics referenced in the newsletter message click here. For an important article recently published in Principal Leadership on cyberbullying, click here.

While nothing is foolproof, I want to encourage parents of children in grades 1-5 to take their children to the NetSmartzKids website and to spend some time exploring it together. You might want to start with this introduction the Webville Outlaws and then let your children play the games and other activities that will reinforce what they have learned.

The more we talk to our children about safe and appropriate internet practice and the earlier we do so, the greater the chances that they will become responsible members of the cyber generation rather than its predators or prey.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Dean's Writing Awards

The winning submissions for October's Dean's Writing Award are absolute must reads. 11th grader Ariav Schlesinger's sonnet on faith will blow you away in its profundity and depth, not to mention his careful adherence to authentic sonnet form. When your serious moment is over, though, be sure to read 5th grader Nachi Fleischhaker's "Room of Doom." It will have you rolling on the floor in laughter.

To see the list of all of this month's nominees and to read the work of our finalists and winners, click here for our Dean's Writing Award wikispace.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

High School Open House

The high schools put their best foot forward last night with an informative and enjoyable Open House. Student speakers Avi Katz and Jordana Wender demonstrated in both form and substance what remarkable young men and women our schools produces. Dr. Ellen Stecker, mother of three current high school students, offered a parent's perspective on the unique blend of variety in curricular and extra-curricular offerings coupled with individualized attention and small class sizes, that our schools offer. I then gave a more macrocosmic view of our school's mission and offered a portrait of graduate which you can find in the Message from the Dean in this week's newsletter, which was then followed by a student made video.

Following the video our parents and students split up. Our parents were treated to mini-presentations from representative members of our faculty who gave them a taste for what class is like both at the CYSHB and the GMSG. The kids went off to hear about our extra-curriculars, athletics, electives, and leadership opportunities. After the presentations were finished the parents and students switched places so as to hear the other set of presentations. The night ended with a presentation from Rabbi Spodek to the parents interested in the Boys School and one from Mrs. Kampf to the parents interested in the Girls School about the unique characteristics of their respective programs.

From the feedback we received it was clear that parents and students alike had learned quite a bit about our program and that the excitement to be part of our high school programs is continuing to grow.

Fall Festival

Our first annual Fall Festival was exactly what we had hoped it would be. The beautifully decorated Fall themed hallways led visitors to classrooms where teachers were waiting to engage children in activities ranging from story-telling to art projects done in Hebrew. The lunchroom was alive with Jewish books and games for sale, labels for children clothing and ladies' hats. The gym was all decked out with bales of hay, balloons, and fall colored tables, where children and parents alike made Fall crowns, decorated Fall shaped cookies, lined up for their favorite creation from the one and only Balloon Guy, or headed to the Food corner for lunch or a snack. Right outside the doors of the gym, the Kollel Torah MiTzion was showing off their wide array of programing and their incredible musical talent. Just beyond the Kollel was Farmer Steve in his overalls and straw hat, taking children on hay rides around the ponies, moon bounce, and inflatable slide which filled our field.

At the designated times, parents who were interested in learning more about the innovative curricula and new initiatives now underway in the Academy had two options for doing so. They could head to our Kindergarten classroom to hear from our new Early Childhood Director, Mrs. Charna Schubert, about our up and coming Pre-K through Kindergarten program, or to our First Grade classroom to hear both from Mrs. Brittney Friedman, our new First Grade General Studies teacher, and Morah Chavi Katz, our much beloved First Grade Judaic Studies teacher, about all of the exciting things happening in First Grade. And, much to our delight, parents - both long time Academy parents and many who were visiting for their very first time - took the opportunity to do so.

Everywhere you went there were parent volunteers greeting you with a smile and a helping hand. Everywhere you went there were children laughing, parents talking, and a good time being had by all.

Time to start planning the 2nd annual MHA Fall Festival...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Catching Up...

As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I’ve been woefully delinquent in keeping all of our blog readers current on all of the remarkable things that have been going on here over the past few weeks. With Yom Tov and our Fall Festival now behind us, I hope to begin keeping pace again.

In the meantime let me at least note that our Early Childhood trip to the Botanic Gardens,

the intellectually and rhetorically sophisticated political debate put on by out 8th graders (click on the videos below to watch clips!), as well as the one put on by our Girls High School,

the registration and voting in our elementary school mock election,

the guest speakers who debated Republican and Democratic party policy in our Boys High School,

the physics experiments in Mr. Vaughn’s class,

and the launching of the Names, Not Numbers program only scratches the surface of recent school events.

As those who participated can attest, our Fall Festival was a wonderful success. I’m still collecting pictures from the event and will post them shortly. Please keep in mind that this Wednesday evening at 7:30pm is our High School Open House. If you have an 8th grader, please be sure to be there – and to bring all of your child’s non-Academy friends along with you!