News

56
04/07/2017 09:53 AM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
Meredith Diskin, Class of 2001, is featured in the latest issue of HaYidion, the PRIZMAH magazine.

Dear Friends of Shlenker,

It is with much pride that I share this article with you.  Meredith Diskin, Anne Diskin’s daughter, was a student at Shlenker through fifth grade, graduating in 2001.  It is a story that could be told over and over at The Shlenker School, a story of frustration, concern, support, hard work, and success of a child.  It is a story of one teacher of many in Meredith’s educational career who helped her become who she is today, a doctoral student in Marine Biology! 

This article was published in the first Prizmah magazine, HaYidion.  Prizmah is the new organization representing all Jewish Day Schools, and Shlenker was asked to provide an article for this first issue!  It is a momentous occasion for us to be represented here.  Congratulations to Meredith, her mom Anne, Judy Zainfeld, and the many teachers coming after Judy who gave Meredith the opportunity to go for her dream!

Best regards,

Ricki

A printable version of the article is at this link. The complete issue of the magazine is found here.

 

If you are a Shlenker graduate or know of a Shlenker graduate making news, we'd love to hear from you!

 

Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

55
03/09/2017 01:26 PM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
Saturday April 1, 2017 7:00 PM Congregation Beth Israel

The Shlenker School 30th Anniversary Soiree

Honoring Rabbi Samuel E. Karff with the 2017 Spark Award

Saturday April 1, 2017

7:00 PM

Congregation Beth Israel

Honorary Chairs:
Sherrie and Alan Eisenman
Roslyn and Ricky Haikin
Sabria and Kevin Lewis
Beth and Craig Lieberman
Rosalyn and Barry Margolis

Event Chairs:
Jeryl Golub
Jen Halpern

Rock with The Spazmatics

Attire: Rock your 80's or cocktail attire

For more information or to reserve your table, please email or call Judy Danziger: jdanziger@shlenker.org 713-270-6127 x619

 

 

Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

54
02/10/2017 10:44 AM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
We are pleased to welcome David Cohen to Shlenker beginning July 1, 2017.

I am delighted to announce that David Cohen will be joining our Shlenker Administrative Team as the Director of Jewish Learning for the 2017-2018 school year.  David will be on the Shlenker staff beginning July 1, 2017!   Mr. Cohen is currently the Director of Congregational Learning at Temple Sinai Congregation in Toronto, Ontario.  He is a native Bostonian and is looking forward to coming to our warm climate and great city, synagogue, and school.   David has been involved in directing all aspects of Pre-K -12 programming as well as adult education programming in his current position at Temple Sinai.  He is currently supervising a full time pre-school director, full time education office manager, part-time program coordinator, part-time Hebrew coordinator, an assistant pre-school director and over twenty part-time teachers.  David currently manages a half-million dollar budget that includes securing grants and direct gifts.  Additionally, Mr. Cohen collaborates with the local federation, the local Reform Educators Council, and partners with numerous agencies and synagogues to create community programming and strategic initiatives.  He also engages with non- Jewish organizations on inter-faith, inter-cultural, and social justice related issues.   Additional work experiences for David include work with the Jewish Federation of Philadelphia where he directed Israel Advocacy initiatives.  David also served as a public school teacher for eight years, was an Associate Director for the Anti-Defamation League of Boston MA, and has served as a non-profit consultant, helping to guide many boards and agency leaders in strategic planning, communications, and community outreach.  We look forward to having Mr. Cohen interfacing with the Beth Israel clergy for services, learning opportunities, and collaboration across the campus We are fortunate to have David Cohen join the Shlenker staff for next year and look forward to some new, exciting opportunities in our Hebrew and Jewish Learning classes and offerings! 

Warmest regards,

Ricki

Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

53
02/10/2017 10:36 AM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
A draft of the 2017-2018 Academic Calendar has been posted. Click HERE to access the calendar.
Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

51
04/21/2016 09:01 AM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
Area flooding April 17-19, 2016.

Dear Parents and Friends, 

Once again we find ourselves in the wake of an all too familiar crisis.  Many of you have just found your way out of the difficult situation of renovating your home from last year’s Memorial Day flood, purchasing new cars, and stabilizing your families. 

Please know that The Shlenker School is here for you.  In partnership with Congregation Beth Israel, the Houston Jewish Federation, and private individuals, we are here and ready to help you start again.  The teachers, staff, Board of Trustees, SPA, and even Student Senate are ready to help as well. 

At this time we have identified many families who will need assistance, but if you have experienced damage to your home, need assistance with tuition, or help with anything flood-related, please contact Nancy Pryzant Picus or Karen Miller at the school.  We will make sure your name is added to the lists currently being created by Shlenker and the agencies who are available to help. 

We wish you a safe and happy Passover.  

Warmest regards,

Ricki Komiss
Head of School

Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

47
01/13/2015 03:12 PM Posted by: Laura Loebl Poster Avatar
Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

44
09/17/2014 11:44 AM Posted by: Gail Rovinsky Poster Avatar
Thursday October 23, 2014 More information is HERE. Contact Gail Rovinsky, Director of Admissions by email or 713-270-6127.
Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

43
08/22/2014 08:31 AM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
Dear Shlenker Families and Friends,

Everyone learns at Shlenker! I hope you began the “school rituals” that we sent you last week early so every student is ready for a productive school year. Our Young Toddlers will learn how to separate from family and our PreK-4 students will learn how to recognize their names and move those names on the Promethean Board when they arrive in the classroom. Elementary students will continue learning their regular school subjects, but many of the assignments will involve technology. Which subject is most important? Which subject is hardest? Which subjects will your child like best or least? Each question is particular to each student.

As parents and teachers, we can best support our students by providing ample time to practice anything new. I recently read an article about a study of how children process math. The bottom line is… practice prepares students for what they need to know now, and if a student becomes proficient in early learning, they will be more successful in more difficult assignments later. Our job, as caretakers, is to provide time, space, and support (if needed) for any new learning and to continue to practice that learning until it is automated. This could apply for spelling, math facts, basic sight words, or even early language acquisition. Researcher Mann Koepke explained that “if your brain doesn’t have to work as hard on simple math, it has more working memory free to process the teacher’s brand-new lesson on more complex math.” It seems to me, the principle will work with any subject. I suppose the old axiom “practice makes perfect” still applies in every way.

Thank you for choosing Shlenker for your children. I assure you that we take our responsibility very seriously and look forward to a collaborative partnership with you throughout the year. The teachers, administrative team, and support team are all here to help you.

Warmest wishes for a wonderful year,

Ricki Komiss
Head of School
Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

41
05/12/2014 10:26 AM Posted by: Poster Avatar
Shlenker students explore Judaism through nature. Link to full article is here: JHV Exploring Judaism through nature.
Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

39
10/31/2013 01:59 PM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
Shlenker's PreK-3 students and teachers are featured.

By MICHAEL C. DUKE

-Thu, Oct 31, 2013

It’s bright and early on a Thursday morning, and it’s Ava Chosnek’s turn to share a story.

After writing the story with her teacher, classmates are chosen for the different characters. A play carpet becomes a stage, the rest of the class an audience, and the children put on an adorable reenactment of the day that Ava got a new bed and furniture at her house.

The cast takes a bow at the end of the little performance amid applause and praise. A chorus then erupts from eager children in the pre-K 3s class who want to share their stories next.

Teaching via children’s stories and dramas is the product of a campus collaboration between The Shlenker School and Rice University. The School Literacy & Culture project, or SLC, combines early literary research with practice through classroom mentoring and professional development for teachers.

Shlenker joined the project in the early 1990s, and educators at the Jewish day school in Southwest Houston have gone on to serve as SLC mentors for other teachers and schools. On Oct. 17 of this year, research pioneers and leaders of the project visited Shlenker for the first time, together, to see the work in action.

‘Finely tuned violin’
The visitors said they were captivated by what they found — storytelling and story-acting from Shlenker students like Ava — and likened the experience to listening to a “finely tuned violin.”

“These are very happy places for children to be,” observed Vivian Gussin Paley, an award-winning teacher and author on whose research the SLC project is based.

“We see little episodes of dramatic play going on everywhere, all the time” in these Shlenker classrooms, Paley told the JHV during the visit. “What I love about these rooms is that they’re rooms to play in.”

Paley was joined by Dr. Gillian Dowley McNamee, an esteemed language and literacy development specialist, and by the SLC’s founder, Dr. Patsy Cooper, and the project’s current director, Karen Capo.

“The play is so beautifully orchestrated, back-and-forth,” noted Capo after spending the morning with Shlenker’s pre-K 3s. “The children step right into listening, negotiating and compromising.”

McNamee observed, “This is what I would hope to see going into schools anywhere in the country,” adding, “Shlenker has a beautifully developed program that is poised for listening to these children right where they are and helping them take next steps.”

‘Making sense of their world’
SLC is now in its 25th year. The project’s founder, Dr. Patsy Cooper, is a former Shlenker parent.

Cooper gave a presentation on SLC 22 years ago during a teacher in-service at the school. Sherry Dubin, a pre-K teacher at the time, attended the presentation and, immediately afterward, encouraged her administration to join the project.

Since that time, Dubin has risen through the ranks at Shlenker, currently serving as the school’s Literacy & Learning specialist. She has championed the SLC project since day one and has become one of its valued mentors, helping to train early childhood teachers in the methodology.

Teaching via children’s stories and dramas is an effective way for children to express themselves, noted Dubin, who’s found that children tell stories about the things they like, the things they fear and the things they’re thinking about.

“We get to see what’s important to them,” the veteran Shlenker educator said. “It’s a way of making sense of their world and it’s a way of thinking through things.

“It builds community in the classroom. It cements friendships that have already begun to develop, and it helps foster the development of new friendships.

“It addresses the child and what’s important to the child,” Dubin said.

Cooper, who has visited the school many times, said that Shlenker and passionate educators, like Dubin, have made “a fascinating contribution” to the project.

“I love the fact that the children at Shlenker are learning in their most natural way — and it’s deep learning,” Cooper observed. “They own their space and they are safe in it. There’s no question that they know what their role is here and the teachers embrace what the children want to do, naturally.”

‘Imaginations lead them’
Marci Powers is a pre-K 3s teacher at Shlenker who sees tremendous benefit from storytelling and story-acting.

“The children are free to play and use their imagination,” Powers told the JHV. “They’re not stifled by something we must teach them or they have to learn.

“They’re the ones who are choosing what they’re doing, and their imaginations are leading them,” she said.

Laura Hall is another Shlenker pre-K teacher, who said she is impressed with the level of involvement that storytelling and acting engenders among her children.

“You get to know the children, and they blossom in no other way,” Hall said. “You really don’t know a child till they let you in on their stories.”

In Ronda Feinberg’s case, SLC has reignited her passion for teaching.

“The ability to fantasize and play teaches children life skills of learning how to get along with people,” the veteran pre-K teacher explained. “This incredible program [SLC] teaches children negotiating skills. It teaches them math, science, the beginnings of reading and writing, and it teaches these skills in a fun and exciting way.

“The beauty of this program and adaptation here is the fantasy play that brings you to creativity for the rest of your life,” Feinberg said. “And, I think my kids are soaring.”

 

http://jhvonline.com/kids-soaring-from-fantasy-play-educators-say-p16102-127.htm
Categorized under:  Preschool

35
08/30/2013 11:29 AM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
Dear Parents and Friends of Shlenker,


I am delighted to welcome you and your children to Shlenker this year.  I know that you have made an important decision to send your children to private school, and we are so happy to have each and every precious child with us.  I hope you will find, as most of our parents did last year when they returned our Parent Survey, that Shlenker will be a great value to your family.  As a community, we learn together, pray together, celebrate together, and support each other.  For many families, the connections they make at Shlenker last a lifetime.  At Shlenker, Jewish values are taught throughout the day and within all subjects.  Middot, Jewish virtues, are the principles we consider to be of central importance such as how we act, what we stand for, and who are.  Middot challenge us to raise the level of our interactions with each other, with ourselves, and with God.  The expectations found in this world create the expectations we have at Shlenker for our students, teachers, and parents.


I hope you have already noticed some of the new and exciting improvements to our campus.  All students are enjoying our magnificent new gym where Early Childhood and Elementary students have the opportunity to be active in a safe and beautiful setting thanks to a very special Shlenker family.  Our youngest students have a lovely and secure outdoor environment with a Butterfly Garden emerging with new plants outside the Early Childhood classrooms!  Thanks to our SPA, we have 38 new computers in the classrooms and newly covered furniture in the atrium and Teachers’ Lunchroom.  SPA belongs to all parents, and we appreciate having all parents as members!  Finally, the BackYard continues to develop.  Soon we will have a bridge connecting the playground to our lovely natural reserve for all to enjoy.


Our Friday Final has changed.  You will still find calendar details and basic information; however, it will be much shorter.  Monthly, you will find a lead article from one of our administrators.  Much of the information you use on a daily basis will soon be located on our new Shlenker App, which we will roll out soon.


In closing, I wish each of you and your families a healthy and happy Rosh Hashanah and that we will all be inscribed in the Book of Life.


Best Wishes, 
Ricki Komiss
Head of School



Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

34
05/17/2013 03:36 PM Posted by: Poster Avatar
A Message from Rabbi Lyon

Dear Shlenker Families, 

It’s not just another year that has ended. It’s another year in which you fulfilled one of your most important promises to your children. To teach your children to love God, study Torah, and identify with the Jewish people is your highest duty. It doesn’t preclude other duties, but it leads to all others. 

As a teacher in the 5th grade each week, I am an eye-witness to your promise. Students speak of God with greater ease than many adults, and ask questions about God that elude others. They study Torah regularly and in my classes they explore familiar Torah stories with classical and modern insights. They identify with the Jewish people because they see themselves as Judaism’s future. It’s true from the moment they enter Shlenker School as our youngest children, to the time they graduate as proud Shlenker alumni. 

I’m also an eye-witness to your promise through the personal hours and resources you give to Shlenker School every day. Volunteers are invaluable to Shlenker’s success. Board and PTO leadership guide the school program to excellence. Committee volunteers turn fundraisers into community builders, and playground fun into carnival extravaganzas. Shlenker is more than a school; it’s a place to be and to grow. 

I’m also grateful for the financial giving every family makes through tuition and annual gifts. Private school is a privilege; Jewish Day School education is recognized as a means to Judaism’s strength in the future. Only Jewish summer camps and Israel experiences can claim the same results. But, as much as we prize Reform Jewish day school education, few are available and fewer are thriving. Shlenker School is a jewel in the crown of Reform Jewish day school education because you have found a way to give Shlenker to your children. 

On behalf of the rabbis and cantor of Congregation Beth Israel, thank you, parents and grandparents, for entrusting your dear children to Shlenker School. Most of all, thank you for keeping your promise now and in the future. 

L’Shalom, 

Rabbi David Lyon

Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

33
05/10/2013 04:32 PM Posted by: Poster Avatar
“Life is like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get.”  Thanks, Forrest.  Or, rather, thanks to your Momma.  Some days I feel like I have several boxes of chocolates to confront in one day and I am hesitant to open up any of them.  In case you haven’t heard, the musical will be held in the Sanctuary this year, which should be interesting in many ways — a huge box of chocolates for us to explore.  There are so many positives that come with this change in venue:  seating, comfort, clearer sound, space.  I am very excited, although my vision has yet to be realized.
When the musical comes around, I know the teachers dread the changes in their schedules, classes have to miss out on specialist sessions, and students are even more stimulated than usual.  The choreographers are amazed at how the personality of a class can change from morning to afternoon.  Students are enthused with all the creativity and turn into costume designers, choreographers and stage managers.  The anticipation pervades everything else for the three weeks of preparation and production.

As I enter my “golden” years, I find that I have become much more patient.  This is definitely in my favor; however, I seem to be more sensitive and take things to heart a bit too much.  I believe this comes from working with the little people.  I want everyone to be happy with what they get to do.  I want every child to get to be on the front row at some point, even though it doesn’t always work out.  I want every parent to have their flush of pride when they see their performer onstage.  I want every person to find the chocolate they are hoping for in that box.  I have to remind myself that I don’t make the chocolates, I simply provide the box.

“That’s Entertainment!” is Wednesday, May 22, 7:00pm, in the CBI Sanctuary.  Plan to come and support these wonderful kids.  And, please support this amazing Fifth grade class who started with me in PreK-4, my first year at Shlenker.  I love them dearly and I am going to miss them.  



Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

31
04/29/2013 09:53 AM Posted by: PTO Poster Avatar
Where else can you perform a mash up while riding on a pony? The Gleetastic Shlenker Carnival of course! Sing (and play) your heart out on Sunday, April 28, 2013 from 11:00am-3:00pm. Your three choir directors, along with our super symphony carnival committee, will transport you to William McKinley High School. No matter if you are a singer in the show choir or a Cheerio Cheerleader, everyone will be a Gleek for the day!
The carnival is a yearly tradition of the Shlenker School that builds not only school, but community spirit. Our carnival has a gold record reputation! We want to send a huge shout out to our awesome carnival committee, the PTO Board, our corporate sponsors, family sponsors, maintenance staff, Shlenker administration and teachers, Ms. Toby, Dad's Club, and all of our many parent volunteers. 
When the curtain rises on Sunday, don't forget to have your movie camera ready and wear your carnival t-shirt. Enjoy our rides and attractions such as hamster balls, the mechanical bull, giant bowling, and, of course, SILLY STRING!!!! We also have fun games, arts & crafts projects, face painting, and the famous cup cake walk. There may also be a few surprises! Performers of all ages from preschool to 5th grade will twist and shout with glee!
At 12:15 pm we will have cheerleaders from Emery Weiner come and teach cheer motions, a dance, and a cheer. We will have pom-poms for all that want to participate!
We want to thank all of our parent volunteers in advance. Remember to arrive on time for your volunteer shift and check in at the Volunteer Booth. The Kindergarten/5th grade student activity will be at 11:30am at the train followed by the 5th grade activity at noon. 
Make sure you come inside and check out teacher experiences and raffle items. Bake bagels with Ms. Shapiro, make chocolate bars with Ms. Efron, bowl with Ms. Torian and Ms. Miller, have high tea with Ms. Kinion and Ms. Shawa...and lots more!!!
Looking forward to a grand show starring our own students, parents, friends, and neighbors! 
See ya at the carnival!
Roberta Bernstein, Lisa Cohen, and Pam Diebner



Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

29
04/12/2013 03:44 PM Posted by: Nancy Pryzant Picus Poster Avatar
A Message from Nancy Picus

For me, these are the weeks of memory, weeks of sweet joy and sometimes, sad whispers.  Fifteen years ago, my husband conducted our first family seder because my father, ill from the effects of chemotherapy, was not strong enough to lead us through the ritual.  Today, as I write this, I am observing my father’s yahrtzheit, the anniversary of his death.  Our oldest students and I recited Kaddish, as we regularly do during our Thursday morning Torah service; as we did so, I was visited by a fleeting image of my father reciting the same prayer for his beloved mother–a cherished reminiscence, sweetly sad. 

The interplay of joy and sorrow, ecstasy and despair, are played out in these weeks of the Jewish year.  On the second night of Pesach, in the first rush of freedom, we begin to count the Omer.  We count forty-nine days, seven full weeks.  On the fiftieth day, we celebrate Shavuot and the gift of Torah.  Yet these joyous festivals are the bookends for a period of prolonged semi-mourning.  Our tradition tells us that during the first thirty-two days of the Omer, Jewish soldiers who fought against Roman tyranny were sickened by a plague in their camps.  The plague lifted on the thirty-third day, now known as Lag Ba’omer.  Today, many Jews still observe this period of semi-mourning, but end it with picnics and bonfires on Lag Ba’omer.

Even more striking is the juxtaposition of Yom Hashoah, observed earlier this week, Yom Hazikaron, and Yom Ha’atzma’ut, which will fall next Monday and Tuesday.  Yom Hashoah commemorates the lives of the Jews who died during the Holocaust, and is a time of deep grief and heartache.  Yet, eight short days later, we dance and sing with abandon as we celebrate the birth of the State of Israel–but only after Yom Hazikaron, Memorial Day, to honor those who gave their life for her creation and protection.

Judaism demands that we remember.  Four times a year, as part of our most joyous festivals and most solemn days, we recite Yizkor prayers.  We light candles and recite Kaddish to honor the memories of those who have died; we make donations to commemorate their lives.  Yes, remembrance does bring tears and sighs, but it is softened by silly family stories, proud moments, and shared celebration.  The rhythm of the Jewish year echoes the same mixture of joy, interwoven with whispers of sadness.  But Shabbat is never directly followed by Yom Hashoah or Yom Hazikaron.  Our holy days are arranged so that we always go miyagon l’simchah, from sorrow to joy, rather than from joy to sorrow.  May it always be so.



Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

28
04/08/2013 09:21 AM Posted by: Poster Avatar
A Message from Igniting The Spark Chairs
Hello Shlenker Families!


We are thrilled to be chairing what will be an amazingly fun evening for The Shlenker School.  Our goals for this entertaining evening are for people to relax, see old faces and new and support our school’s unique and enriching programs.  Igniting the Spark will be held on April 20, 2013 at The Firehouse Saloon and will begin at 7:30.  


We are two working moms who decided to take the time out of our crazy lives and give something back to all of our children.  We have both seen the positive impact that Shlenker has had on our children’s development both academically and emotionally.  We believe in the mission of Shlenker and find pleasure in the opportunity to support our school.     


This evening is also honoring Deborah Sondock and we will present her with the first ever Spark Award.  She has been a role model for many of us at Shlenker. Over the past 10+ years she has been a hardworking volunteer always there to ensure that our children’s needs and our teachers’ needs are met.  Our school has benefited greatly from her countless hours of dedication to our vital programs and simply her presence and spirit.


We have put together an evening of great food by Berryhill and Rustika Cafe, a fantastic band — Rapture, a fun master of ceremonies — Rabbi Mark Miller and an amazing auction chaired by Jennifer Zach and Katie Dillon. The auction will also feature a Student Art Gallery.  Each grade has created a unique piece of art to be auctioned that evening. 


We hope you have received your invitation and can join us for the event. You can drop off your RSVP card in the lobby on Tuesday or Wednesday (April 9 or 10), or simply mail it in. For more information, please call Laura Loebl, Director of Advancement at 713-270-6127.


We look forward to seeing you for one HOT night of fun!


Jody and Emily



Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

27
03/22/2013 03:02 PM Posted by: Poster Avatar
Pesach is Here
          
While it might be time to rejoice in the beginning of Spring Break at the Shlenker School, soon we will also celebrate the very significant holiday of Pesach or Passover.  Pesach symbolizes a great deal in our tradition: rebirth, renewal, redemption, freedom, peace, and most importantly, hope.  We are taught at a young age about the significance of recalling our own personal exodus from Egypt and remembering our significant journey to personal freedom.  
But how do we encourage our children to understand this concept on their own level?  Thankfully, we live in an age when our children have grown up only knowing and understanding what it means to be free.  We are blessed that our children do not know slavery or its hardships. We tell them stories of our heritage, but are they truly grasping what it might have meant to live during a time when it was not possible to celebrate and observe Judaism as we are able to, especially at The Shlenker School?

Perhaps at our Seder tables this year, we can engage each other in discussions of the true meaning of “Mitzrayim,” the word we associate with Egypt, but in its truest sense actually means “narrow places.” There were narrow places in the lives of our ancestors and these same places exist in our lives today.  We yearn to feel truly redeemed - free from the pressures of work, school, technology, and anything and everything else that seems to be weighing us down.  These are the plagues of our time - necessary, but often challenging and anxiety producing.  Pesach comes at a pivotal time - to remind us of how we can lean on our families, our friends and our traditions to help repair those “broken places.”  
The symbols are abundant in our Pesach Seder.  And, thankfully, 
most of them are edible!  This remains a wonderful teaching opportunity.  The learning does not cease when we become adults, rather we attempt to Cont’d from page 1...
understand the significance of this sacred time on deeper and more introspective levels.  We serve our children well when we are active partners with them as we learn together and experience the true meaning of Pesach.  Our goal on Pesach is large, but not unattainable.  We have a wonderful and special opportunity to understand both the luxuries of today’s society with the enslavement of the past.  As one rabbi eloquently notes, “at this time God reminded the Israelites that it is possible to be surrounded by the signs of physical comfort, but still feel enslaved.  Today, we must rethink our definitions of both freedom and slavery.  Slavery means living life in a hurry, in concern, in stress - even if we are living well.”

At the Seder and throughout Chag HaMatzot-  the Festival of Matzah - we celebrate our redemption in whatever shape and size we approach it today. 

Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!



















Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

25
03/15/2013 03:19 PM Posted by: Ricki Komiss Poster Avatar
Dear Parents and Friends,
Is everything in education these days about “bells and whistles,” or in today’s vernacular, “iPads and Smartboards?”  What happened to “good ole teaching?”  I am happy to say, “good ole teaching” is alive and well at Shlenker.  Whether students are in the early childhood program or fifth grade, teachers sit side-by-side with one student or a small group of students to encourage them, practice with them, review with them, or push them.  It is what we do, and it is what we expect to happen in Shlenker classes.  
Older Toddler teachers have been working with Sherry Dubin and experts from the Rice Literacy and Culture Project for three years on ways to bring literacy into their classrooms.  They have had so much training that our own Barbie Freedman was asked to present at one of the workshops for the project.  Watching teachers work with students to develop vocabulary, work on class stories, or sit with a student to help him create his own story makes the Shlenker young student programs unique.  
By Kindergarten, students work with teachers to create stories and work on math concepts at their developmental level.  Sometimes we, the parents, expect something our children are not yet ready to give us.  It is the teacher’s job to see when it is appropriate to push and pull or to review and relax with the students.  We, the parents or grandparents, should be patient because the teachers at Shlenker are professionals who know just the right amount of small group or one-on-one attention each child requires. Even the fourth and fifth grade teachers work individually with students to ensure they have grasped a new concept or to create additional learning opportunities for a student who has mastered a curriculum requirement.  
Your children are the beneficiaries of this wonderful special time with their teacher!

Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

24
03/15/2013 11:45 AM Posted by: Poster Avatar
I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to our Annual Fund Committee for all of your hard work on the 2012-13 Shlenker Annual Fund. I am pleased to report to our entire community that we currently stand at $221,000 with an overall parent participation of 68%, higher than the national average of 66%. The final class tallies are listed below. I would like to give special mention to the Kindergarten who had the most improved increase from 57% last year to 80.5% this year and to the 5th grade who reached an astounding 96.2%! Congratulations to Jackie Haas and Lisa Cohen who will share the coveted Annual Fund parking spot until the end of the year.
Parent Participation Percentages
YT - 69%
OT - 42%
PK3 - 47%
PK4 - 50%
K - 80.5%
1 - 70%
2 - 63%
3 - 79%
4 - 87%
5 - 96.2%

None of this would have been possible without your unwavering support for Shlenker and commitment to providing our students and faculty with the best resources possible. Please know that your efforts are deeply appreciated and have impacted our entire program.
Warmly,
Courtney Burger
Chair, 2012-13 Annual Fund

Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

23
03/15/2013 11:43 AM Posted by: Poster Avatar
It is hard to believe that we are two-thirds of the way through the 2012 - 13 school year. Our teachers are busy preparing important information to share with you during Conference Day on March 6, 2013. At this point of the year teachers know your child’s strengths and weaknesses, and are prepared to visit with you regarding each area. It is important as parents for you to prepare for the conference as well. Your child’s education is a partnership between the child, parents and school. What are the essential questions that you need to askto ensure that your child is thriving at Shlenker? We have listed a few questions that will help you have a successful Parent Teacher Conference.
How is my child doing socially? This is important because social development helps form who we become, and you want your child to develop proper social skills. Does my child seem happy and engaged in school? Is he/she showing good behavior with classmates and adults?
Where do you feel my child’s strengths and weaknesses are? It is important to know each of these. If a child has a strength you can help encourage academics in that area outside of school; for weaknesses you can help at home to strengthen these areas.
Do you feel my child needs extra help in school with anything? It is not easy for a teacher to tell a parent that their child needs additional help in an area. You are your child’s advocate. You need to know what your child needs and see to it that they get the help needed.
Has my child been doing their homework? Lots of times students complete their homework but fail to turn it. This is a good time to work out a strategy with the teacher to ensure that the work is turned in daily.
Does my child see the board okay? Teachers know what to look for with students having difficulty seeing.
Is my child organized? Organization is essential throughout life. It is important to develop good organization skills. Teachers work with students at school, but they need ongoing parental support as well. It is important that good habits are started early. How do you prefer that we communicate on any issue? Do you prefer email, phone call, notes home or website? Let the teacher know.
Do you have any recommendations? What can I do to help my child?
Let the teacher know if there have been any changes in the family dynamics. Are there new babies, a parent working away from home, death, illness or divorce?
These simple questions will help guide your conference and allow you to know how to help your child succeed. It is a good feeling to walk into a conference with a plan of action and walk away learning even more about your child. 

We hope that you have a successful conference,
Janna Barnhart and Casey Suter, 
Early Childhood and Elementary Principals

Categorized under:  Elementary EducationPreschool

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