Celebrating Jewish Holidays at Private School

Celebrating Jewish Holidays at SIA

One of the greatest things about being a Jewish Day School, a member of the Virginia Association of Independent Schools, as well as an International Baccalaureate (IB®) Primary Years Programme (PYP) candidate school servicing Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk is that we get to have a lot of fun while we learn. This includes learning about the history of the Jewish religion and culture including the customs and traditions we follow.

We saw an example of that recently when we celebrated Purim at school. Our Early Years Program students learned about and fulfilled the four mitzvot of Purim including:
–    Hearing the Megillah: Our EY students not only had an opportunity to hear the Megillah, they then set out to help make a copy of it. Each class from the toddlers to EY4 created a panel that depicted the story of Queen Esther, the heroine of the tale, when the panels were brought together. The toddlers through EY3 students got to hear the Megillah read in person by Morah Elyssa, while the EY4 classes were able to stream the reading in real time through the miracle of technology.
–    Mishloach Manot: The second mitzvah of Purim requires us to give gifts of at least two different kinds of food to others. Each class fulfilled this mitzvah by creating gift baskets filled with Purim treats that were then given to our office staff and our school security guards, Ramon and Mark.
–    Give Tzedakah: While most of our Purim celebration was about having fun while learning, the third mitzvah is teaching the importance of giving tzedakah. This is a Hebrew word meaning “righteousness,” but is commonly used to signify giving charity. This is viewed as a moral and ethical practice, which is not only good for the recipient(s), it’s an important part of building good moral character and developing good citizens of the world.
–   Have a Festive Time: You don’t need to ask Early Years students twice to have a good time, so this was the easiest mitzvah to fulfill. Our students participated in costume parades, played games, rocked out at a dance party, and enjoyed lots of delicious treats including popsicles, cotton candy, and hamantaschen, the famous cookie that is named for Haman’s ears. These cookies commemorate Esther’s victory over Haman and his plot to destroy the Jewish people.

Many special thanks for the teachers who helped make this celebration memorable and joyful for all of our students. We all had an amazing time celebrating Purim and the coming of Shabbat.

Looking for a Jewish Day school serving Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, and Norfolk? Come visit Strelitz International Academy and let us tell you more about our International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme (PYP). The mission of the IB program is to build a better world through education. Our mission is to enrich the life of the whole child, to develop compassionate, lifelong learners, and to promote a social and global consciousness that encompasses a profound respect for all humanity. Please join us!

Art Show at the Norfolk International Airport

Child with his parent explore the Art Show Gallery at the Norfolk International Airport

When it comes to truly shaping young minds, a report by Americans for the Arts found that young people who regularly participate in the arts are more likely to be recognized for academic achievement, participate in math and science fairs, or win an award for writing poems or essays.

As one of the best private schools near Norfolk, Strelitz International Academy believes that exposing students to the arts is crucial for creating well-rounded learners, and well-prepared leaders. That’s why we’re proud to offer a curriculum that includes inquiry-based education focusing on both scholastic studies and the arts.

By allowing our students to take control of their education, with teachers acting as facilitators and collaborators, they can discover the pursuits that they are most interested in and follow them with passion. In addition, the arts help students develop creative problem-solving acumen by improving motor, language, social, decision-making, risk-taking, and creative skills. Through art, students learn about perspective, balance, color, and layout, all of which translate into skills that are essential in creating and staging presentations. Students at the Strelitz International Academy experience a strong foundation in fine arts, music and strings. Many SIA graduates choose their middle school programs based on the fine arts electives and programs that are offered.

That said, we’re proud to announce that our students were recently asked to participate and are currently being featured in an exhibit at the Norfolk International Airport (ORF). The exhibit is part of an effort by Norfolk International Airport to showcase the efforts of students all across Coastal Virginia schools. Artwork from students at Strelitz International Academy will be on display throughout the month of February 2021.

If you are interested in viewing the exhibit, you don’t need a ticket for a flight to check it out. It is located in the upstairs main waiting area on the left side of the food court. The exhibit is free and open to the public.

Go take a peek. We know you’ll be proud, too!

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

Students Learning by themself at IB 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 757-424-4327 to find out more.

The Top Considerations For Choosing Between Private and Public School Education

Education at Private School in VA

Pre-pandemic, there were a host of differences between public and private schools that parents needed to weigh before deciding which of the top elementary schools they should send their children. Some of the benefits provided by affordable private schools include:

– Size: Smaller class sizes provide teachers with a greater ability to track each child’s progress, and gives them an opportunity to work more one-on-one with students when they need additional help.

– Curriculum: Private schools have more flexibility in what and how they teach. Through tuition fees and endowments, they also have more resources for enhancing the learning experience through newer methods such as virtual reality, to provide a more “hands-on” tool to learning.

– Success: Public schools generally strive to meet mandated minimum educational requirements to reach accreditation. Private schools are more focused on the student as a whole—not only pushing the boundaries of their educational opportunities, but also about emotional development and creating good citizens of the world.

– Longevity: With smaller class sizes and teaching methods that go beyond memorizing dates and figures from a book, private school students tend to make deeper, longer-lasting relationships with their peers. These relationships are often lifelong, providing opportunities for these students to be able to continue to help each other professionally after graduating from higher educational pursuits.

– Accomplishment: On a national level, private schools enjoy a nearly 100% graduation rate, compared to 80% from public schools. While graduating from high school is not necessarily a measure for success, it does lay the foundation for taking the next steps toward greater accomplishments.

Now that we’re firmly entrenched in the COVID-19 pandemic, there is one other important factor to consider. While public schools in the area are still pondering whether they will be going back to the classrooms this fall, providing lessons online, or some sort of hybrid of the two, Strelitz International Academy is fully planning on being back on campus. We can accomplish this because we have smaller class sizes and can more closely monitor the safety of each of our students.

Distance learning is a great alternative during these uncertain times. However, we still believe nothing can take the place of our highly qualified instructors interacting directly with their students.

The Value of A Private School Education

Students are learning at Private School

When it comes to defining “value,” it’s hard to refute statistics. According to reports from the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS), students who attend private schools are twice as likely to earn a Bachelor’s degree as their public-school counterparts. According to the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities (APLGU), those with a Bachelor’s degree earn approximately $32,000 more annually than those whose highest degree is a high school diploma.

You also need to look at the fact that on a national basis, private school graduation rates are near 100%, while public schools are only graduating about 80% of their students. Add all the numbers up and you can plainly see the financial value of attending a private school. However, there are a number of intrinsic benefits of private elementary schools that provide additional value over a public-school education.

For one, public schools are often somewhat hindered by their standardized curricula. Conversely, private schools have the ability to be flexible with what and how they teach, providing private school students with a broader, more well-rounded education that goes beyond reading, writing, and arithmetic. Private schools are also better funded through tuition fees and endowments, so they have additional resources that can be used for expanding the educational experience.

Private schools also typically have smaller class sizes than public schools, providing private school teachers with a greater flexibility to assist students individually. Smaller class sizes also tend to make it easier to combine teaching with hands-on activities that help the student better understand lessons and interact more socially with their fellow students. Many of the bonds that form in private schools turn into lifelong friendships that are mutually beneficial to the students as they continue their education and choose careers.

When looking for the best affordable private schools in Hampton Roads, be sure to include Strelitz International Academy as one of your options. We are an International Baccalaureate (IB) candidate school, providing a world-class education for students who want to make a difference locally, nationally, and globally. We’re already committed to being back on campus this fall, so we invite you to visit us and see how we can provide better value when it comes to your child’s education.

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