Science and Math
In 2005, two respected scholars came together to create a unique STEAM program at KSA. Dr. Nitzan Resnick and Dr. Shai Simonson collaborated to create The New Science and Math Initiative (NSMI).
Since its establishment both the program in its entirety and many of its components have been embedded in other private and public schools in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Illinois.
Based on growing concerns around the state of STEAM (science, technology, engineering and math) education in the US, Dr. Resnick designed NSMI based on her experience with undergraduate and graduate students to build important basic research/inquiry skills and inspire children’s curiosity of STEAM.
At KSA, our STEAM program aims to provide the students with inquiry skills and to promote scientific passion through:
To help in achieving these goals and to enhance learning opportunities, the program incorporates state of the art technological tools.
Our STEAM program received several awards and grants, such as the Best Buy technology award, the “We can Change” Siemens award and an honorary mentioning in the Disney Planet project.
KSA offers a “hands-on” shop experience to all of its students. Projects in our shop are divided into four categories:
5th and 6th Grade Locker Projects
8th Grade Beit Midrash Project
The main goal for KSA students in our Art program is to enable them to convey an idea, feeling or message using elements of art. All of the skills that are taught are sensitive to abilities of the students and accommodate the developmental needs of our students.
At KSA, Art integrates many subjects and crosses all curriculum topics. In addition, Jewish identity, holidays and ritual items are often artistically created. The program is hands-on, and uses a large variety of mediums, materials and techniques. We teach children that problems can have more than one solution and that questions can have more than one answer. It shows them that there are many ways to see and interpret the world. It teaches students to think through and within the material and to develop both sides of their brains. The program provides an experiential opportunity for risk taking and learning from mistakes. It develops focus and increases attention span. Art increases observational skills and builds self-esteem.
Our Art program follows a spiral curriculum which focuses on elements of design as well as exploring art history and famous painters. Students view art from all over the world which gives them a window into other cultures and life styles. The art teacher uses visual pieces, paints, chalk, pencil, marker, clay, beads, woodworking, and weaving to ensure that all students experience many different media.
Students are given the opportunity through Art to examine and critique the visual arts as an essential part of culture and history. In order to enhance the grade curriculum, students create art that is based on cultural and historical examples. Each grade is exposed to a variety of different mediums and children are encouraged to discuss and evaluate art through shape, line, texture, structural composition and form. They compare and contrast 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional pieces of work and learn to identify the style of a painting and possibly the artist by examining the technique, genre and style of the painting.
Drama is an integral part of many classes at KSA, starting in kindergarten and going all the way through 8th grade. Children express themselves informally through play, and formally in both general studies and Hebrew/Judaic classes. From the Purim dress-up corner in kindergarten to the “Shakespeare in the Halls” rehearsals and performances during grade 7 literature class, children are gaining self-confidence through lessons in articulation, acting, creativity, and cooperative learning.
Every other year, the Kehillah Schechter Academy produces a huge all-school Hebrew Musical Theater extravaganza. Students in grades 1 through 8 are encouraged to participate in the 6 months of rehearsals leading up to the final March performances at the Striar YMCA in Stoughton. A multi-talented team of faculty, staff, parents, grandparents, community members, and students work on translating the script and lyrics, adapting the music for the KSA orchestra, auditions, staging, choreography, building the elaborate set, sewing and assembling beautiful costumes, making props, PR, and, of course, rehearsing the 100+ students for their roles on stage and in the orchestra. Students learn their lines in Hebrew and develop their Hebrew-speaking skills in the process. Leading roles are reserved for middle school students, who aspire to their day to shine on stage from their early years at KSA.
The memorable KSA Hebrew Musical Productions have been:
The Kehillah Schechter Academy takes great pride in the love of singing. Learning Hebrew songs is an integral part of the Hebrew curriculum at KSA. In their weekly Shira classes, the children learn about Israeli composers and their works, as well as Israeli history and culture. Each year we look forward to another educational, enthusiastic, and an enlightening Zimriyah.
Each year we hold an all-school song festival called Zimriyah. It is an elaborate celebration, involving the entire KSA community. The parent, grandparent, and alumni orchestra accompanies the students and there is also a parent dance troupe. Each year there is a pertinent theme and songs are carefully chosen by the Hebrew faculty. Each grade rehearses and performs a song or two, accompanied by the orchestra. There are also multi-grade ensemble and whole school song selections. The performance is further enhanced by a multi-media background show and other technological effects. The KSA student Israeli dance troupe performs.
At KSA, all students, grades K-8, have music once a week. Ensuring that every student is able to learn about and experience music education throughout their time at KSA allows us to spend more time on the important areas of musical development such as basic theory, reading skills, instrumental development, as well as ensemble playing and singing.
Beginning with fourth grade, we have an instrumental ensemble which involves every student playing an instrument. The goal is to have students learn and apply basic reading and instrumental skills. Students can use classroom keyboards, virtual keyboards, recorders, xylophones, or percussion instruments, and students who already play a string or wind instrument, can help to provide the musical foundation for the group.
The following is a grade by grade description of some of the content to be used in music classes. Throughout, KSA maintains a healthy balance of singing, instrumental playing, movement, listening, theory, and history.
Gan Aleph, Grades K and 1
Beginning with fourth grade, we have an instrumental ensemble which involves every student playing an instrument. The goal is to have students learn and apply basic reading and instrumental skills.
Students who already play, will act as the foundation of our group and we will simply add other instruments as we go along. Students who do not play, can opt to play keyboard, recorder, xylophone, or percussion instruments. However, fourth grade is the ideal time to begin woodwind/brass instruments. If there is enough interest in learning to play flute, clarinet, or trumpet, we are happy to arrange group lessons at noon, or after-school.
Singing/acting: A fourth grade tradition for many years has been to perform “We Haz Jazz”, a musical about the evolution of jazz in America, from its African roots, to how it traveled up the Mississippi from New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago, and then to New York. The music is great and the kids love performing it. We will begin this year’s rehearsals in January.