Key Design Elements
Our charter lists a number of Key Design Elements (KDEs) that make our school distinct from other schools. Based on our experiences over the years, and feedback from families and staff at our sister schools, we are proposing several changes to the KDEs.
Here are our current KDEs:
- Modern Hebrew Language Instruction through proficiency approach
- Academic Differentiation for every learner including robust supports for students with disabilities
- Diverse by Design School Community
- Emphasis on Social Emotional Learning
- Emphasis on Developing the traits of global citizens such as empathy, cross cultural communication and civic engagement
- Support from Charter Management Organizations – Including frequent PD and Philanthropic support
We believe these can be sharpened to better reflect our mission, our values, and great education for your children. Here is the proposed new list of KDEs:
- OLAM Values: our work is organized around this guiding set of values. Olam is the Hebrew word for world, and our OLAM values include:
- Outstanding Problem-Solving
- LIfelong Learning
- Aware Communication
- Making a Difference
We have piloted the OLAM values in the past two school years at our sister schools, and they have made a huge difference in creating a positive school culture and in giving a common language for how both adults and students aspire to be.
We particularly believe that these OLAM values help students and staff to think critically, to demonstrate empathy, to communicate clearly and to listen well, to value learning, and to bring these skills together to improve their communities.
- Modern Hebrew Language: this is similar to our fourth current KDE. Students will continue to study Modern Hebrew taught in almost all cases by native speakers of the language, and to learn about Israel and its people.
- Differentiated Instruction: this would replace the current first, second and third KDEs. Included in this KDE are a number of key aspects of our program:
- Using different sources of information to ensure that each child is provided with challenging educational content regardless of their current academic level.
- Providing significant amounts of small group instruction.
- Providing customized academic support to struggling learners.
- Professional Development: We are deepening our commitment to ongoing intensive training and support for all school staff. Our Professional Development Program will now include additional sessions during the summer and each Friday afternoon. This enhancement means the school calendar for students will be reduced slightly to 180 days AND that students will be dismissed at 1PM on Fridays to allow for concentrated weekly staff training. We will provide free after-care on Fridays for families that need it.
- Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Supports: this area remains a vital part of our work. Children cannot succeed academically if they are struggling socially or emotionally in ways that impede their learning. Our commitment to SEL includes the Responsive Classroom model, with features such as morning meeting, closing circle, and advisory. It also includes the work of our social work team, our school culture team, and the training and support that all staff receive to identify and address student SEL needs.
- Diversity Equity and Inclusion: our schools have always had a commitment to serving children from all backgrounds. This proposed new KDE includes an increased focus on staff diversity, and on ensuring that all children and adults in our school community feel a sense of belonging and support. As importantly, this proposed new KDE reflects a commitment to helping every child, regardless of background, to reach their full potential academically and socially. This focus on DEI is also a key focus of the Regents’ priorities for schools.
- Partnership with Hebrew Public: this reflects the importance of the school’s partnership with Hebrew Public, its charter management organization.
- Community Partnerships: we believe that working with other community organizations strengthens our ability to serve your children well. Community partnerships deepen our understanding of the neighborhoods where Staten Island families live. They also help us to ensure coordinated services to children.
Combined with our rigorous curriculum, we believe these proposed design elements will help move our school community forward and will ensure that each child we serve thrives and succeeds at a high level. If you have any questions regarding these proposed changes please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org