In The Levine Loop

Message from Andy Blum, Early Childhood-5th Grade Counselor

Dear Parents,

I write a parent blurb for the EC Buzz every month, and this month, I was going to write about the conscious discipline skill of maintaining Composure.  Conscious Discipline is an evidence based, trauma informed approach to social emotional learning.  In this crazy time that we are all now living in, I think it is even more relevant and appropriate to talk about Composure.  

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Oil and Water in Early Childhood

While Levine Academy's science program has adopted the Next Generation Science Standards throughout its curriculum, we know that science success begins with our youngest students. We respond boldly to that challenge in our Science Discovery Center, where our Early Childhood students are getting a fantastic foundation in core concepts.

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“Dvar Torah: Parshat Bo”

This is a transcript of the d’var torah delivered at Levine Academy’s Board Meeting on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 by two Levine Middle School students.

On behalf of both of us, I would like to thank the Board for all that they do and allowing us to come speak with you today.
The past few weeks we have been reading from Shemot, the second of five Books of the Torah. In these past weeks, we have seen Moshe grow from a newborn to an adult. This is a lot like the growth we are able to see in ourselves at Levine. We learned with Rabbi Litton and we searched for common themes between our growth process and Moshe’s.

Brenna- For instance, as a child Levine has protected me from the the bad in the world by outweighing it with the good. Moshe, in his early years was hidden by his mother and protected from the real world where he would have been killed. When he grew up, Moshe faced the real world with bravery ad courage, now that I am grown up, I am prepared to face the scary world of high school, with the same courage that Moshe has shown us.

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Middle School Students' Toy Drive Benefiting Family Gateway

The Middle School students' Toy Drive was a huge success this year! The initiative began with the coordination of our Levine MS Counselor Barbara Carr-Goodman, faculty, parents and students. Their mission was to live our values of Tzedakah; encouraging kindness and empathy for others in our community. This year’s toy drive benefited Family Gateway. Family Gateway is an organization in Dallas that provides housing, educational, and social services to families with children experiencing homelessness in Dallas County. They were incredibly appreciative of our efforts and welcome additional volunteerism in the future. 

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Message from Dean of Instruction

Each summer, our faculty reads a book and conducts a book study on a topic that we have identified as relevant to our work. Our reading this summer focused on learning more about how boys experience school, and how to teach so that they are successful academically, socially and emotionally. Gender plays a significant role in how children think, behave and learn. The Minds of Boys by Dr. Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, is a practical approach to helping boys succeed in educational environments, extracurricular activities and daily life.

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Reflections of Levine's Experiential DC and NYC Trip: Class of 2021 (Part 1 of 2)

Sunday, November 11, 2019
To start off the outstanding trip we were warmly welcomed by the National Museum of American Jewish Military History. A former military pilot, Sheldon A. Goldberg discussed and shared his experience in combat. Some things he said truly stood out to us, the fact that he served for 30 years and is still here today to share his stories. As a class, we all participated in writing cards to injured military members and created bags with basic necessities for a normal life during their recovery. For lunch, Rabbi Litton brought in the best kosher pizza I have ever had. We also had the option to have fries, brownies, soda, and salad. After lunch we went to visit the Lincoln and Vietnam Memorials. It was meaningful to be surrounded by Veterans and fallen soldiers’ families. -Caroline W.

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Message from Board President

Dear Levine Families,

Last week, prior to Tuesday's Ribbon Cutting ceremony and Wednesday's Grand Opening, I had the privilege of attending a preview event at the new Dallas Holocaust and Human Rights Museum.

"The Museum is dedicated to teaching the history of the Holocaust and advancing Human rights to combat prejudice, hatred and indifference."

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Message from K8 Principal

Dear Levine Community,

As we embark on a new school year we are delighted to welcome new families and new faculty to our Levine School Community. We are excited and enthusiastic about the school year ahead and look forward to a great year of teaching and learning.

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A Proud and Historical Welcome to Levine Academy 2019/2020!

Dear Levine Community,

Greetings to all and a cheerful welcome to the 2019/2020 school year, plus a proud Mazel Tov to Schechter/Levine: This year we are celebrating 40 years since our founding!

There is a lot of history to celebrate -- from our remarkable beginnings at Shearith Israel, to a small schoolhouse on Starbuck Drive, and then to a sleepy corner campus at Hillcrest and Frankford which initially, in the 1980's, had just a few structures, including a private home and a church, as our places of teaching and learning. Amazingly, among our twelve original 8th Grade graduates in 1988, were our current teachers Jodi (Frysh) Norton and Colette (Jonas) Lipszyc; current parents Loren Jacobson and Michael Reiman; and Dan Lewin, son of our current teacher Beverley Lewin (now entering her 40th year of teaching at Schechter/Levine!).

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Yasher Koach, Class of 2019!

Ann and Nate Levine Academy held its graduation ceremony last evening in Beit Aryeh. Head of School, Tom Elieff, officiated the event, which included a greeting from Neil Beckerman, on behalf of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. Principal Liz Lawlor introduced the graduates, and Levine Board President, Solomon Israel, accepted the Eighth Grade gift on behalf of the Levine community. Rabbi Ari Sunshine from Congregation Shearith Israel delivered the annual Me Dor L'Dor Recognition address, and Mr. E. followed with his Charge to the Graduates. School leaders and community Rabbis presented the diplomas, and Levine's Director of Jewish Life and Learning, Rabbi Jeremy Litton, led the audience in a closing song, Shir Lamaalot.

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Parshat Behar

In this week’s Torah portion, Parshat Behar the laws of Shemitah (the Sabbatical year) and Yovel (the Jubilee year) are discussed. Amongst these are the obligations and guidelines in the ownership of slaves. At first glance, from a millennial viewpoint, how can the Torah that stands for all things righteous in the world contain provisions for something as inhumane as slavery?

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Middle School Student Congress

We know you join us in the pride we feel for what these young leaders accomplished in 2018-2019!

This year Student Congress raised over $6,400 for numerous charities and volunteered many hours giving back to others.

These young leaders volunteered their time to help sell and serve food at our Annual Parent Association Bazaar, distributed and helped with Spirit Wear sales, welcomed new families and returning friends; plus, advocated and produced (with the help of the P.A.) three new water fountains, and led the Yom Ha’Atzmaut parade.

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Parshat Emor

In this week’s Torah portion Parshat Emor, we are at the moment in the midst of fulfilling one of the commands in this week’s Parsha - the counting of the Omer as the verse states:

“From the day after the Sabbath (the holiday of Shavuot), the day you brought the sheaf of the wave offering, count off seven full weeks. Count off fifty days up to the day after the seventh Sabbath, and then present an offering of new grain to the L-RD”.

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Parshat Kedoshim

This week’s Torah portion Parshat Kedoshim begins with G‑d commanding the Jewish people to be kadosh (holy).

The obvious question is what is the meaning of the word holy? How can Shabbat be a holy day and a person is supposed to be holy?

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Levine Arts Program Emphasizes National Standards, Major Artists, and the Creative Process

Kindergarten through eighth grade students enjoy weekly art classes in a magnificent, spacious, and welcoming studio.  As students pass through the door, they enter a world of endless possibility, unlimited variation, and joyful participation in learning.  This is a place where confidence grows as students begin to envision new and exciting possibilities for themselves.  The strategy of trial and error is applauded, mistakes and innovation are celebrated, and obstacles become opportunities.

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Parshat Ki Tisa

In this week’s Parsha Ki Tisa, after G‑d revealed Himself to the entire nation at Mount Sinai and told them the Ten Commandments, Moses ascended the mountain where he remained for forty days. There he was to study the Torah and receive the Tablets. The Jews miscalculate when Moses is supposed to return, and when he doesn't appear on the day when they anticipate him, they grow impatient and demand Aaron to make for them a new god. Aaron cooperates, all along intending to postpone and buy time until Moses' return, but despite his efforts, a Golden Calf emerges from the flames. The festivities and sacrifices start early the next morning and the Jews commit the sin of idolatry.

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Parshat Terumah

This week’s Torah portion is Parshat Terumah. The parsha begins with G‑d instructing Moshe to accept contributions from the Israelites for the construction of a Tabernacle: “Let them make for Me a sanctuary, and I will dwell amongst them.”  The needed materials included precious metals, dyed wools and hides, flax, wood, olive oil, spices and gems.

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The Making of a Mensch-The Early Childhood Perspective

In early childhood at Levine Academy is instilling the morals of being a mensch. Along with our emphasis on social-emotional learning, academic innovation, and mindfulness, our youngest Levine students are learning the vital characteristics of the Levine Academy's core middot; Caring, Responsibility, Integrity, Respect, Holiness, Citizenship, and Justice. With the support of our teachers and families, we witness these important attributes in our students each day.

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Pursuing Cultural Connections: Levine Students Attend Dallas Symphony Orchestra Concert

This week Levine Academy brought students to one of Dallas’ premier cultural institutions—the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. The cultural field trip is part of a school-wide effort to raise musical awareness among the younger elementary students in order to develop their love of music, expose them to an array of musical styles, and possibly ignite their interest in learning to play an instrument.

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Parshat Yitro

In this week’s Torah portion - Parshat Yitro - Yitro, Moshe’s father-in-law observed Moses adjudicating all the disputes that arose among the Israelites. Yitro suggested to Moshe that such a system, one that placed such a great burden on Moshe’s shoulders, would eventually wear him down. Instead, he advised Moshe to appoint a hierarchy of wise and righteous judges, and to delegate his responsibilities - with Moshe presiding only over the most difficult cases. This would also free up Moshe’s time to teach the Israelites the teachings of the Torah that he hears from G‑d.

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Parshat B’Shalach

In this week’s Torah portion Parshat B’Shalach, Hashem sends manna from the sky to feed the Jewish people. Moshe commanded the Jews not to leave any manna over from one day to the next. Some disregarded this instruction, and the next morning found their manna worm-infested. On Friday everyone picked two omers (measurements). Moshe explained that the second portion was to be prepared and set aside for Shabbat - when no manna would fall. Again, some disregarded Moses' directive, and went out to pick manna on Shabbat. G‑d was angered by this disobedience.

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Parshat Bo

In this week’s Torah portion Parshat Bo, we read about the last of the Ten Plagues and the Exodus of the Jews from Egypt. G-d then commands Israel with some of the first commandments to its people. Included in these commandments is the obligation to celebrate Passover and teach our children the story of the Exodus. Every Shabbat in Kiddush we say that the reasons we celebrate the Shabbat is “Zecher L’yitziat Mitzrayim” to “remember the Exodus from Egypt and “Zecher L’maaseh Breishit” to “remember that G-d created the world and rested on the 7th day”.

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Parshat Vayechi

In this week’s Torah portion Parshat Vayechi Joseph presents his two sons, placing Manasseh, the firstborn to Jacob's right, and Ephraim to Jacob's left. Jacob, who was nearly blind at this point, crossed his hands, placing his right – more prestigious – hand on Ephraim's head. He blessed them: "May the angel who redeemed me from all harm bless these youths, and may they be called by my name and the name of my fathers, Abraham and Isaac, and may they multiply abundantly like fish, in the midst of the land."

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Parshat Vayigash

In this week’s Torah portion Parshat Vayigash, we discuss the end of the story with Yosef who was sold into slavery by his brothers only to ultimately become the viceroy of Egypt. When Yosef reveals himself, the Torah states that Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph. Is my father still alive?” But, his brothers could not answer him, so dumfounded were they on account of him. (Genesis 45:7).

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Parshat Mikeitz

This week’s Parsha is Mikeitz which always corresponds with Shabbat Chanukah. There are some thematic connections one can make between Chanukah and the story of Joseph. Primarily they are both stories of Jewish suffering that result in Jewish victory and celebration but is that it?

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What Does Literacy Look Like In Our Pre-K Program?

Exploration, curiosity, and intrigue can be heard and seen in our Levine Academy Pre-K hallway. Our Alphabet Museum/Letter of the Week literacy curriculum teaches letter recognition and enhances phonetic awareness. This curriculum is designed to teach various learning styles: visual/special, auditory/musical, verbal/linguistic and physical/kinesthetic learners.

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Parshat Vayeishev

This week’s Torah portion is Vayeishev which starts the story of Yosef and his brothers. Sunday night is the 25th of Kislev, the first night of Chanukah. Chanukah serves as a paradigm for Rabbinic holidays as there is virtually no mention of it until the times of the Talmud. In fact, there is no tractate dedicated to Chanukah.

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Reflections of Levine's Experiential DC and NYC Trip: Class of 2020 (Part 2 of 2)
Day 5: 
On Friday morning we woke up super early to go to the NBC Studio Tour. We got to see The Late Night Show and SNL sets. This was super cool. We bought awesome souvenirs at the NBC gift shop. After this amazing experience we went to the grand re-opening of FAO Schwartz at Rockefeller Center. All of us were interviewed by various news reporters. Click HERE to see the news clip!
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Reflections of Levine's Experiential DC and NYC Trip: Class of 2020 (Part 1 of 2)

Day One:
After waking up early in the morning we got to the airport and got on our plane. After a fun flight, and meeting new people, we made it to DC. When we arrived in DC we hopped on our bus and headed to Great Falls Park for a delicious picnic lunch and some sports. We had an amazing hike, with beautiful views. Then we went to the hotel, got situated and unpacked. We went for a fun dinner and finally saw the White House! -Brenna & Andrea

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Parshat Toldot

In this week’s portion Parshat Toldot, we learn an important lesson in parenting from our Avot and Imahot (Foremothers and Forefathers). The Passuk says in (Genesis 25:28), "Yitzchak loved Esav because he was an accomplished hunter, and Rivkah loved Yaakov".

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Conceptual vs. Procedural Knowledge

As teachers, we have listened to parents' concerns and frustrations about how their children are learning math these days. Parents want to help their children but are "baffled" by the material. They talk about their own math instruction and how they fluently and efficiently solved math problems using "procedural knowledge"-a set of steps, actions or procedures.

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Parshat Chayei

In this week’s Parshat Chayei Sara, Avraham commands his servant Eliezer to go and find a wife for his son Yitzchak. When Hashem ultimately leads Eliezer to find Rivkah by the well, he notices the acts of kindness that she performs and gives her jewelry. When Rivkah runs home to tell her family about Eliezer, her brother Lavan invites Eliezer in only after noticing the beautiful jewelry that Eliezer had given her.

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Fifth Graders Strengthen Bonds at Greene Family Camp

The wettest fall on record couldn't stop 24 fifth-graders and their six chaperones from embarking on an unforgettable 300-mile adventure from Dallas to Bruceville to participate in confidence building and group challenges that would help create a learning community in the classroom. After stopping briefly for morning tefillot (prayers) at a roadside rest stop, we arrived at Greene Family Camp to head straight to the camps ropes course high elements. Each student challenged themselves with these activities.

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Schultz Family Israel Educational Leadership Fellowship: Blog three

Wednesday, October 17th
Last night we went our separate ways joining family for dinner, exploring the food options in Tel Aviv with new friends from the Schultz Fellows group and attending a Hapoel Jerusalem Basketball game (I will leave it to you to guess who did which activity).  This morning we reunited and drove to Ariel Sharon Park, which prior to 1998 was where 24 municipalities dumped their trash. The park is just outside of Tel Aviv and was supported by Sharon when he was Prime Minister of Israel. The park is elevated with breath taking views, and has plans to extend.

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Importance of Science in the ECC

Each week the Levine Academy ECC 2's, 3's, and Pre-K classes are greeted with a sense of wonder by our Science and Discovery Specialist, Stephanie Barta. By introducing science as a regular part of our students' sked, it reinforces the current research and knowledge on childhood brain development and life-long learning patterns. A good, active science program helps children "play" with important ideas. Finding their voices, their points-of-view, children discover that asking questions is fundamental to problem-solving. It is astonishing to see how creative and deep our ECC children's critical thinking is. It is important to stress to these young learners that there is often more than one right answer to a question. It is also important to provide as much individual, hands-on, opportunity for exploration.

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Schultz Family Israel Educational Leadership Fellowship: Blog two

Friday, October 12, 2018
What an eye opening day we had in preparation for Shabbat. This morning's focus was diverse narratives and we heard a few different stories as we continue to sort through the journey of our Israel Experience. We spent some time hearing about diverse personal narratives. At our first stop we spent time with some members of a program called ‘Shorashim’ (Roots) ( next to the Gush Etzion Junction.

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Schultz Family Israel Educational Leadership Fellowship: Blog One

We are so grateful to be part of the Schultz Family Israel Educational Leadership Fellowship made possible by the Schultz Family Foundation and the Center for Jewish Education of the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas we traveled to Israel Monday afternoon for a 10 day trip and are thrilled to share some of our adventures with you.

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Levine Students Fulfill Mitzvah For Project 613

On Wednesday morning this week, Levine Academy students were able to witness and participate in Anshai Torah's Project 613, the writing of a Torah Scroll in honor of Wende Weinberg of blessed memory. Rabbi Zerach Greenfield, the Sofer (Scribe) who arrived from Israel just the day before, spoke to the K8 student body in Beit Aryeh and conducted a question and answer session with the students on the many fascinating laws surrounding the correct way to write the Torah.

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Literary and Sensorial Learning on the Cutting Edge in ECC Two's Program

Early literacy studies have undergone a profound transformation in recent years. Not long ago, early literacy was largely neglected. The assumption was that literacy learning begins around first grade, not before. Reading instruction was ignored during early childhood years. Academic skills used to be postponed until a child's natural maturation unfolds.

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Curriculum Night: Data Driven Instruction

Last night we held our first Curriculum Night for this school year. The focus of this curriculum night was data and how we at Levine Academy are using data to drive instruction in our classrooms on a daily basis. Data Driven Instruction is a methodical approach to improving student learning throughout the year. The sequence of data-driven instruction includes data collection, data analysis, and action and is a key framework for school-wide support of all student success. Data analysis provides a snapshot of what students know, what they should know, and what can be done to meet their academic needs. With appropriate collection, analysis and interpretation of data, educators can make well informed decisions that positively affect student achievement.

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Inquiry and Investigation Make for Math Success  in the Middle School

How does Levine challenge its students in mathematics and prepare them for high school? This week we sat down with our Seventh and Eighth Grade Math teacher, Ms. Regie Neff, to discuss how she tries to encourage all her students to excel in the math arena. She strives to instill success wherever students are in their learning process. 

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