Spirit Week and Day of Giving inspires extraordinary level of Parent Donations at the Strelitz International Academy

SIA returned from Winter Break to a whole school Spirit Week from January 5th through 8th, culminating in the Day of Giving on January 8th hoping to inspire parents to participate in the school’s annual donor fund (ADF) reflecting the power of community.

Spirit Week was the brainchild of SIA’s Parent Volunteer Committee and Student Government Association to highlight this important week of Giving. Students and faculty dressed up in different outfits each day, gaining momentum for parents to join together to raise necessary dollars to meet SIA’s 2020-2021 Annual Donor Fund goals.

Crazy Sock Day Celebration at SIA

Spirit week kicked off on Tuesday, January 5 with a crazy sock day. Some students wore blue and pink mismatched socks while others borrowed from their parent’s drawer and wore dress socks high up past their knees.

Sports Jersey Day Celebration at SIA

Wednesday’s “spirit wear” continued with a Sports Jersey Day. Even though you could see students wearing a mix of Jerseys from around the world, such as the Orioles, Maccabi Haifa Soccer, and ODU Basketball, our SIA students are all on the same team when it comes to their love for SIA.

Tie Dyed t-shirts Celebration at SIA

As we all wished for peace and an end to the pandemic in 2021, students rocked their Tie Dyed t-shirts, socks, and even masks on Thursday!

Friday everyone donned their favorite silly or serious hats as a hats off and thank you to all of our families participating in our Spirit week.

After a week of excitement and community, Spirit Week culminated on Friday, January 8 with SIA’s first ever Day of Giving. SIA’s Spirit Week had a record breaking 77% parent participation to the annual donor fund, and raised almost $20,000. Many of our families shared the wonderful and inspiring reasons that they choose to make an annual gift to the Strelitz International Academy.

Amy and Eliot Weinstein, parents of Avi in Kindergarten and Daniella in the Early Years program, said: “no matter the amount of tuition we can pay, or how much we can give the Annual Donor Fund in any given year, we feel it’s important to be counted amongst those families investing in the future of SIA. Our gift is our extra investment in our kids, their classmates, their teachers, the unique education and excellent programs. We are so grateful for the opportunity to be part of the SIA family, and we want to pay it forward.”

SIA raises money each year through its Annual Donor Fund that benefits the school in many ways such as supporting its flexible tuition program, to reduce tuition to meet the unique needs and circumstances for each individual family; bridging the gap between operating costs and SIA’s tuition revenue, which allows the school to keep tuition costs low; and supporting advancement and staff development towards International BaccalaureateⓇ accreditation.

Strelitz International Academy thanks all of its current families for their continual support and trust enabling our school to provide a safe and nurturing environment, Jewish ethics and values, and advanced academic standards as a candidate school for the International BaccalaureateⓇ Primary Years program. SIA looks forward to continuing Spirit Week and the Day of Giving next year as a new annual tradition.

Strelitz International Academy Students Learn About The Election Process in The U.S. and Israel

Would you believe that learning about politics can be fun? As an IB Candidate School, the students at SIA learn about the world through inquiries, interviews, investigations, discussions, projects and research. In response to the recent U.S. election, fifth grade learned about both the U.S. election process and the Israeli system.

The fifth grader’s first line of inquiry was the process of voting. During this unit, 5th grade created a Virginia Voter’s Guide, researched important topics, drafted a debate script using their research, and orchestrated a mock debate for the school. They met with a Voter Protection Program Community Leader to gain more insight into the voting process.

On Monday, November 2, the 5th-grade class organized a mock debate for the President/Vice Presidential team. They researched platform agendas of both major parties in the United States. The whole school tuned in virtually for the fifth-grade mock debate. The fifth grade students ended the debate stressing the importance of voting, and the next day every student in SIA had the opportunity to vote for the President of the United States at school. The fifth-grade students discovered the importance of voice and choice during this election process. Their message to other students was that it is never too early to get involved and vote!

In connection to their inquiry unit on the American voting process, SIA 5th graders learned about the Israeli political system as well. Students saw photos of an Israeli ballot and ballot box, learned how people vote in Israel and how the prime minister is chosen. After coming up with many questions about the Israeli Election Process, students met with a “community expert” who could help them get some answers! Over Zoom, they met with Israeli resident, and former Norfolk native, Rabbi Levi Margolin, to deepen their understanding of Israel’s democracy. Rabbi Margolin, who lives in Jerusalem, gave a presentation to the students on the Israeli election process and even taught the class key election vocabulary in Hebrew! The students found it fascinating that Israel has so many political parties!

The fifth grade class compared their thoughts on the pros and cons of the US political system and the Israeli political system. Students shared great points in defense of both processes as they compared and contrasted the two different election systems. Although, we will never all agree on politics, we can all agree that these students will always remember their experience learning about the U.S. and Israeli Election process!

For more information on the Strelitz International Academy, contact Carin Simon, Admissions Director, 757.424.4327, csimon@strelitzacademy.org

Strelitz International Academy Students Return To School on Campus!

SIA students returned to campus for in person learning on August 24. After almost 6 months away from their school campus and their friends, SIA students were so excited to come back to school!

It was a very unique and busy summer as the Strelitz International Academy prepared to return to campus. After going virtual on March 13 along with every school in Virginia, SIA Head of School Heather Moore was determined to open school safely on August 24 as planned to be able to better meet the educational, social and emotional, and childcare needs of the Strelitz families.

As word spread that Strelitz was opening, the admissions department became flooded with inquiries. Many families who had previously been satisfied with their neighborhood public schools applied for admission to SIA. The International Baccalaureate Program, Jewish Education and face to face learning made the decision to switch an easy one for many families in Tidewater. By mid summer, many classes had waitlists.

Opening school safely is not an easy task. It requires many safety measures to be implemented, including no parents or visitors on campus, mask wearing, social distancing, desk screens and a daily health screening done by parents along with student temperature checks during carpool drop off.

Heather Moore explains, “Our COVID team began meeting in May to begin researching and planning a way to open school safely this fall. The team met regularly and developed safety protocols and ordered equipment to ensure we could open school. Once we had a plan to safely open, we opened summer childcare p for early years on July 6 to help our families who had been in need of childcare for their little ones. We created a COVID parent handbook to help everyone acclimate to the new rules that parents, faculty and children would need to follow to maintain a safe environment.”

A virtual meet and greet was planned for the Friday before classes started so that students could meet their teachers and see their classroom before the first day of school. Parents and students were so grateful to be back on campus and didn’t seem to mind this unusual start.

On the first day of school, students were ready for school with their personal assortment of cute masks to express their style, parents were patient in the drop offline, and even our littlest learners were happy to be handed off to their teachers. The students have been amazingly resilient and parents were thrilled and grateful.
SIA parent Jasmine Amitay wrote on the SIA Facebook page, “Thank you for everything you did (and keep doing) to keep our kiddos safe! The boys had the best 1st day ever!”

SIA is looking at the year a little differently and creatively planning to come together virtually for parent and family events. Many SIA community highlights such as Shabbat Singalongs and parent coffees will not be possible this school year due to SIA’s safety protocols. The Parent Volunteer Committee has met virtually and is working on a schedule of enticing virtual events for parents and families.

After 5 long months of being apart, SIA is back on campus! Students are happy to be able to see their friends, learn with their classmates and enjoy a normal routine. And their parents could not be happier!
To learn more about the Strelitz International Academy, please contact Carin Simon, Admissions Director, csimon@strelitzacademy.org or 757.424.4327

What To Expect When Strelitz International Academy (SIA) Reopens

A major advantage of the International Baccalaureate® (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP) is that students are immersed in their learning environments, to not only learn by example, but also to understand through action. Because of that, we decided to open our campus this August for the fall semester and welcome returning students and faculty. We believe that because of our small class sizes, we can monitor and control their environment, to keep our students, staff, and faculty as safe as possible from the spread of COVID-19.

In order to do so, we fully took into account the need to revise our guidelines and policies regarding illness and health issues. We are utilizing resources and guidance provided by the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO) to formulate our policies and procedures.

Taking into account that infants through fifth graders cannot safely wear facemasks, shields, or other personal protective equipment (PPE), and they are generally not developmentally or physically astute enough to cover coughs and sneezes, we have put together a policy that will always err on the side of caution.

The full details of our updated illness policy are available on our website and in the August 7th SIA newsletter. In a nutshell, students and staff at SIA must go home or stay home and be evaluated by a licensed health professional who can determine if further testing may be needed for the following symptoms:

– Fever of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit, with or without other symptoms present
– Fever of 100.0 degrees Fahrenheit with other symptom of illness present or an upward trend in temperature
– Cough
– Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
– Stomach pain
– Vomiting or diarrhea
– Body aches
– Headache unrelieved by hydration/rest/cool compress
– Persistent and/or heavy nasal secretions
– Lethargy
– Unusually persistent fussiness
– Rash or skin eruptions
– Chills
– Redness/irritation/swelling of the eyelid lining with crusting, discharge, discomfort, and/or itch

Children with household members who are known to have COVID-19 must not come to school.

The bar will be set low for sending/keeping students/staff home, and it will be set very high when evaluating their return. If your student is sent home, he or she must be picked up within 45 minutes. Please plan appropriately for this possibility.

We thank you in advance for your patience and support.

What is the difference between Honors, AP®, IB®, and college classes?

For high school seniors hoping to continue their education at a college or university after graduating, getting accepted to a school of higher learning can be a very competitive process. College admissions committees are looking for students who show an aptitude for scholastics, receive good grades and score well on their SATs, and strive to push the borders of their studies. In some cases, they also factor in community service or extracurricular activities.

To set themselves apart for other candidates, some students will enroll in more challenging study programs while in high school. In addition to their regular coursework, they may enroll in Honors classes, Advanced Placement classes, or take college courses at a local community college. A fourth option is to choose a school that offers an International Baccalaureate programme, which is an advanced curriculum in itself, as opposed to adding coursework to a standardized publicly dictated curriculum.

Let’s take a look at each:
Honors Classes are courses offered by individual schools that provide slightly more advanced content than traditional high school courses. While Honors Classes do look good on a transcript, there is no standardization of the classes or how they are taught.

Advanced Placement courses are authorized and regulated by The College Board, the same group that develops and administers the SAT. Schools that want to offer AP courses must go through an application process that ensures their courses meet AP standards. Individual teachers may also request approval to teach AP courses. Therefore, as a rule, college admission committees generally rank AP courses higher on an application over Honors Classes.

College Classes can be taken by students while still in high school. These courses can be helpful in preparing students for the college experience while also potentially earning credits toward college work, allowing students to skip required courses once they are full-time college students.

The International Baccalaureate is a curriculum founded with a mission of creating a better world through education. It offers coursework that focuses on teaching students to think critically and independently, and how to inquire with care and logic.

At Strelitz International Academy, we believe the International Baccalaureate is the best way to prepare students from a young age to move on to higher education, and become successful in their chosen career paths. We have invested a significant amount of time and energy into applying to and working with the IB® to be able to become a IB Primary Years Programme school. Contact us to find out more.

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