The H.F. Epstein Hebrew Academy is an Orthodox Jewish Day School, committed to and inspired by Torah, dedicated to the Jewish people and the State of Israel. Devoted to the passionate pursuit of excellence in religious and general studies, the school educates and celebrates every child in a creative, progressive, and nurturing environment.
EHA Core Values
Every Child, Every Day – כל אחד כל יום
- The best interest of the whole child comes first
- Torah values and halacha (Jewish law) determine our atmosphere, decisions, and behavior
- Respect and integrity guide our actions
- We are life-long learners
- We nurture middot tovot and global citizenship
- We love and celebrate each child
- Learning is fun and exciting
Cross-grade structures are systems built into the school day in which students are able to build relationships and interact with one another across grade level lines. Epstein employs many cross-grade structures and, in this message, I will highlight a few:
In many schools across the country there are multiple recess times in which students are often grouped into grade levels, but at Epstein Hebrew Academy we take a more progressive approach to recess. Our students in grades K-5 and 6-8 join together on the playground for recess in two sessions. During each recess session you can often see students from all grades engaging in a fun game of four-square, kickball, or playing together on playground structures. These cross-grade structures allow students and teachers to come together to build community and strong relationships across grade level lines in a non-academic based setting.
Over the summer we took a look at our lunchroom procedures and saw an opportunity to work in the ability for students to interact across grade level lines while eating lunch. Previously Epstein had two lunch periods and grade level specific seating. This year we combined K-8th grade to have one lunch time together. We also implemented an open-seating policy allowing students to choose their seat. This allows for students in K-8th grade to sit next to friends, siblings, neighbors, or even someone new to spark up conversation and build/maintain friendships across grade levels.
Tasks in which we ask students to work together, like our kindness bulletin board, are called cooperative structures. These tasks offer students an opportunity to positively shout out both students and staff in the building for demonstrating our core values. Our classes also cooperate with each other to work on projects related to both academic and social subjects across grade level lines. For example, classes cooperate with each other by attending each other’s plays or presentations, reading together through buddy systems, and coming together to create an activity based on the week’s Parsha just to name a few.
Batim groups, also known as family groups, houses, etc. are a staple at National Schools of Character. These groups have been implemented successfully in schools world-wide with the following goals:
- To increase the sense of identity and belonging among individual students and increase overall positive school culture
- To assist in meeting the social and emotional needs of students
- To provide a system of accountability in which students hold each other responsible for their actions and contributions.
- To build community and foster positive relationships across grade-level lines.