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Leadership Blog 

Dear Adat Ari El Families,

Last Shabbat, a group of families gathered at Camp Ramah in Ojai California.  We spent the weekend learning both with and from each other, watching our children make new friends and strengthen their pre-existing relationships, and relaxing in the scenic backdrop of Camp Ramah.  In addition to the time spent getting to know each other, the weekend featured other opportunities, such as challah braiding, yoga, hiking, ropes course and a mini color war competition.

This was my first Shabbaton with the Day School at Adat Ari El and I was blown away with the sense of community and love that I felt from our families.  Last Shabbat, we read from the Parsha Chayei Sarah (The life of Sarah).  There was a discussion about the idea that since the Parsha begins with the death of Sarah, the focus is on Sarah’s legacy and how she pushed those around her to be better people.  

Watching our children this weekend really highlighted this message from Chayei Sarah.  They were supportive of each other at the ropes course, cheering each other to succeed.  They pushed each other to try new things and sat together at meals. They really embodied the message that we received from the Parsha.  These were not things that had to be asked of them, they are values and beliefs that are ingrained in them because of who they were raised by – they are a product of you, our community, and our school.  

The mission of our school reads, “Through Jewish vision and values, Adat Ari El Labowe Family Day School raises up students who KNOW themselves, SERVE others, and ACT to improve the world”.  The behavior that I witnessed this weekend, whether it was at the ropes course, in the dining hall or celebrating Havdalah together, showed me that our children have made this mission statement a part of their lives.

I am looking...

Leadership Blog 11.2.18 - Annual Fund: The Story Behind the Numbers

Dear Parents:

We’re at day 41 of our 100 days, 100% participation 2018-19 Annual Fund campaign. And, if the numbers were to tell a story, it would tell one of community, strength, “firsts”, and so much gratitude for all of you!

The numbers speak for themselves:

Faculty, Staff, and Administration - 100%
Governing Board - 100%
TK - 85.5%
Kindergarten - 73%
1st Grade - 77%
2nd Grade - 80%
3rd Grade - 86.7%
4th Grade - 71%
5th Grade - 91%
6th Grade - 47%

It’s important to me that I reiterate the WHY of the Annual Fund. There are so many benefits for our school if we can get to 100% participation:

  • Our accreditation from CAIS (California Association of Independent Schools) will be stronger if the visiting team sees 100% participation from our families
  • We will be able to approach outside donors - including foundations - more easily to ask for support
  • More funds will be available for programming, facilities, curriculum enhancements and professional development, to name a few.

Remember that “community” does not only refer to you, our parent community, but also to the Board, faculty, and administration. We are filled with appreciation that our Board members are so deeply committed to what an investment in ADAT means - not just of time, but of financial resources, that they have come together with 100% participation. Then, there is our administration and faculty. Whether they have been here for 30 ...

Leadership Blog: What is Language Arts Night?

Dear Parents:

You may have noticed an event on the calendar coming up very soon - Language Arts Night - Thursday, November 8, from 6:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m. What you may have also wondered is … what is this event and why should I be there? Well, I’m here to give you the inside scoop on this fun and informative evening for parents and students.

What is Language Arts Night?
Language Arts Night is a celebration of the ways our students use and engage with language. This can be the reading and writing they do in English and in Hebrew, it can be the ways that our students use language to communicate with each other and/or adults, it could even be the special vocabulary used in Math and Science.

At this event, each grade will exhibit work that showcases what they have done so far this year with language in a variety of educational, creative, and hands-on ways.

What is special about this year’s Language Arts Night?
This year, many of our grade levels will be displaying their work around their “Difference Makers” statements. These are the statements that each class wrote in answer to the question: “How are we difference makers?” I think you will be amazed and impressed by the depth of their thinking.

What else will be happening during this time?
Our book fair will be open, you will have a chance to purchase ADAT swag with our ADAT Shop, and you will have a chance to interact with fellow parents across all grades of our community.

If you have any further questions about Language Arts Night, please don’t hesitate to contact me at any time. We can’t wait to see you there!

Shabbat Shalom,

Lauren

Inside The Classroom...

Leadership Blog: Introducing a "Wonder"ful Curriculum

How can your senses help you learn?
What makes a pet special?
What happens when families work together?

These are some of the essential questions our K-2nd grades will explore through our new reading program, Wonders, by McGraw Hill. The K-2nd team came to me last year to share that they were looking for a reading program that not only incorporated all of the components of a literacy program, but also one that more closely aligned with our current pedagogy, our mission, and our values. The Wonders curriculum encourages our students to think deeply about the world around them while learning and honing foundational reading and comprehension skills.

As an educator, what I love most about Wonders is that it challenges our students wherever they are along their reading journeys. There are endless resources for students reading above grade level, as well as for those students who are approaching grade level in reading. These resources all address the same essential questions, and thus, all students – no matter their reading level – read, discuss, and research together. Moreover, the levels are flexible and allow our students to accelerate or slow down depending on where they are at any time.

What I love most about using Wonders at ADAT is the way our teachers plan to use the curriculum as a source of inspiration for design thinking challenges, social studies, and science. Our teachers will use the cross-disciplinary application of this curriculum to challenge our students to think critically and globally. They also use Wonders as a tool to help our students learn about their identity – to know themselves (as our mission states). See the images below of our K students embodying the alphabet as one example of this and look for an example of the ...

Leadership Blog: The 2018-19 Admission season Kick-off

Dear Parents:

As our new admission season is rapidly approaching, I wanted to take this time to tell everyone in our community how blessed I am for the families we have added this year, as well as  ALL of our families at Adat Ari El Day School. We have 28 new students, 22 new families, and 118 total students in the school!

You may have noticed our banners all over the valley – driving down Magnolia, Whitsett, Chandler or Riverside and seeing our smiley students proudly representing this incredible Day School. We are all proud to represent ADAT and hope you will continue to be our built-in ambassadors in all your interactions with friends and family. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, the #1 way that we attract and welcome new families is from each and every one of you – our current parents. Help us spread the word about our incredible school and invite your friends and family to come to our Open House on Thursday, November 15 at 9:30 a.m. While our Open House offers a once-of-a-kind opportunity to hear from our administration, engage in a full program dedicated to prospective parents, while also seeing our school in action, we also offer one-on-one tours. For anyone who cannot attend the Open House, one of my favorite parts of my job is to give tours. Please refer anyone to the the office, my e-mail sschultz@aaeds.org, or our website aaeds.org.

Oscar Wilde once said, “The best way to make children good is to make them happy.”  As I walk around our campus everyday and see the incredible activities, projects, and friendships that our children are creating and the pride that each and every one of them has for our school, it makes my job of bringing more kids into this environment that much easier. I’m so looking forward to reporting on this year’s admission season successes and to meeting and...

Leadership Blog: Start with the Heart - The Annual Fund Launch

Dear Parents:

Today, we mailed out materials inviting you to participate in the 2018-19 Day School Annual Fund. This is a big milestone for our community, as it is the first formal Annual Fund campaign that the Day School has had in many years. This signifies so much for our School and where it stands today. While you might be inclined to think that this fundraising initiative is a sign that we are in financial trouble, an Annual Fund – at any school – actually represents the exact opposite. Here are some key points about what our Annual Fund means for us and why you should participate:

  1. Because we are growing and building on an already stable foundation, we have more confidence in asking for gifts of this kind.

  2. Participation matters – at whatever level is meaningful to you. No gift amount is too small (or too big), but the amount of families who give means EVERYTHING.

  3. Our Day School Governing Board and Faculty have already made gifts, and their participation in just a short time is remarkable and much appreciated.

  4. Annual Fund dollars raised help bridge the gap between the cost of tuition and the many programs, facility upgrades, and “extras” from which your children benefit.

  5. Giving helps us fulfill our mission by upholding one of our key tenets – gemilut hasadim – acts of loving kindness.

Our goal is 100% participation in 100 days. Day 1 starts on Monday and will continue through the end of the calendar year, among other reasons, so that we can all benefit from the tax write-offs associated with gifts of this nature. We are counting on your support, your show of strength, your gifts that...

Leadership Blog - Learn Something New

Dear Parents:

I recently read that a cure for feeling stressed or overwhelmed is to go learn something new. Learning something new requires full engagement. You can only really learn when your full attention and effort is given.  Sadness and stress have no room in a fully involved self.

Next month there are two opportunities to be immersed in new knowledge:

One is an adult art class taught by ADAT art teacher, Mimi Klabon. The other is learning internet safety from Lori Getz, a nationally known expert on the subject.  

Create paintings inspired by Georgia O’Keeffe through a step-by-step process guided by expert artist Ms. Mimi.  There are two different sessions, each made up of four classes.  Sign up for one session or two.  The cost, which includes supplies and refreshments, is $65 per session.  With a limit of 8 students, you are advised to sign-up right away.  To do so, send me an email.

Back by the popular demand of ADAT parents, Lori Getz will give us the latest information we must know to raise children in the age of ever-changing age of the internet.  The infinite opportunities to interact online are both positive and nefarious.  Lori Getz helps us stay current and gives us the tools to parent children on the streets of the world-wide-web. Join us on October 23 at 8:30 am. 

Immerse yourself in new learning and leave some stress behind by attending some adult education events. Let’s test the cure and see if it works.

Sincerely,

Sari

In case you Missed it

In case you missed it, read Shara's blog from last week about the Nature Deficit Disorder, complete with an invitation for the community at the end. Click here

Inside The...

Leadership Blog

I spend so much time surrounded by lights, concrete, and noises here in Los Angeles that one of the greatest gifts I can give myself is going into nature. My family and I often leave on a Friday afternoon from school, drive up into the Angeles National Forest, and go camping for Shabbat evening. The kids love hiking, falling down and getting back up again, and discovering all different kinds of pine cones, squirrels, and lizards. My husband loves building a campfire, sitting around it and talking until the kids fall asleep on our laps. My favorite part is getting to breathe clean air, NOT having cell service, and being able to be truly present with those I love.

We unplug, spend time together, and make Shabbat as the sun sets over the mountains. Then, Saturday morning, we wake up, make breakfast, and, right around the time that everyone needs a good shower, we head back home.

It’s amazing how restorative that small break from LA can be. I come back feeling whole in a way that usually surprises me, though it happens every time. In his book Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv talks about “nature-deficit disorder”, a phenomenon in which our human-made environments have evolved so far from the environments in which we are intended to live that we actually feel a lack of nature in our lives on a biological level. For any parent looking for a book worth reading, I highly recommend it.

As we prepare for the holiday of Sukkot, we think about what it means to connect with nature, and to live outside. The sukkot that we build are supposed to be affected by the elements; our tradition encourages us to connect with nature, to feel it and to smell it, and experience what our daily homes shield us from.

As Ori Zadok (Adat Ari El ECC Director) and I were discussing nature-deficit disorder and how...

Leadership Blog

Embracing Our Kehillah Kedosha - Holy Community

Dear Adat Ari El Families,

Tonight we will gather together as one community to celebrate Shabbat Under the Stars.  There will be music, food, prayer, and dancing, but most importantly, there will be a Kehillah Kedosha, a holy community.  It’s not the prayer that makes us a holy community, but the people in it.  When we introduce ourselves to someone new and invite them to sit down with us or we share some of the delicious food that we brought, that is what makes this kehillah holy.

In addition to this evening, we will have a number of opportunities in the coming months to embrace this beautiful community of ours in meaningful, fun, and spiritual ways:

Kol Nidrei & Yom Kippur

This Tuesday evening, the Jewish community will join together in praying Kol Nidrei (all vows).  Kol Nidrei serves as an introduction to Yom Kippur (day of atonement).  Kol Nidrei has a fascinating history as a legal ritual.  The Jewish people were often persecuted for being Jewish and forced to adopt a new religion.  The Kol Nidrei prayer serves as a legal ritual to annul the Jewish people of any vows that they have made.  Only after the Kol Nidrei prayer was recited were those Jewish people who had converted to other religions allowed to rejoin the Jewish faith.

While the need to annul ourselves of forced conversion is no longer as prevalent a threat, there are other aspects of our life from which we need to be separated. Whether it be behaving badly, fighting with friends or loved ones, or loosening our moral virtues, Kol Nidrei is a good warm up for us to enter Yom Kippur ready to say “we will be better”.

Shabbaton

In just SEVEN short weeks, we...

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