A Proud and Historical Welcome to Levine Academy 2019/2020!
Tom Elieff, Head of School

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!).

One of the hallmarks of Levine is that we are an ever-evolving school -- and this summer certainly was an active one. Here are just a few of the highlights:

  • A spectacular reconstitution of our Early Childhood classrooms, from Toddlers to Pre-K, vibrantly furnished and designed by NorvaNivel, with a freshly broadened floor layout and new manipulatives -- all made possible by our many and wonderful donors.
  • Currently under renovation, but soon to be completed: A fully refurbished MakerSpace, with brand new robotics and creative stations, also furnished by NorvaNivel.
  • A very successful Camp Shemesh, thanks to Dana Shidlofsky and her staff, and a big Mazel Tov on our inaugural Summer@Levine, made possible by our amazing Co-Directors Marco Rodriguez and Helene Berke.
  • Our K8 STEM Coordinator, Jackie Kirkendall, has been preparing for an important infusion of STEM-related lessons for K8 Science, in addition to GS Studies throughout the curriculum.
  • Our Judaic Studies curriculum through the Middle School has been strengthened, standards-aligned, and rebranded with new course titles.  
  • We have revamped our electives, adding several new academic courses, giving fascinating options for our Middle School students.
  • Schoology will be the new teacher-to-home communication platform across K8; this is new for all of our constituents -- teachers, students, and parents -- so we'll need to be patient during our collective learning curve.

Again, that's just a few of the developments. In June I announced our Three Year Strategic Plan which outlines in more detail our path forward in all areas of the school's operations. This coming year will be an exciting year of continued discovery, as we pull from best practices across the country and give our students and teachers the best modern tools to fulfill our mission in ever-more inspiring and lasting ways.

I want to thank our PA, whose leaders for a second consecutive year are Brandy Wayne and Jenalee Raphael, for serving up a huge and happy breakfast -- twice ! -- first for our returning teachers on Monday, August 5, and then for our parent community for Opening Day this past Monday, August 12.

Thanks to all our parents for attending the EC Orientation and our Beck Lower School's Meet the Teacher nights -- and I thank all the teachers for setting an outstanding tone for this new school year.

Some upcoming reminders to help us all get organized:

  • Sunday, August 18, Back to School Ice Cream Social, 3:30PM-5:00PM, including our Lower/Middle School Playground Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
  • Tuesday, August 20, Middle School "Meet the Teacher" at 6:30PM.
  • Cocktails and Conversations -- the first of our series will be on Thursday, August 22, for Lower School parents. Check our eNews calendar for details and locations for all our evening parent gatherings over the next several weeks.

So much to celebrate this year -- so much to be proud of: On behalf of all of our teachers, staff, and board members, I thank you for your enthusiastic commitment to Levine Academy.

 

Shabbat Shalom,

Tom Elieff
Head of School