Message from K8 Principal
Liz Lawlor, K8 Principal

As we begin a new school year, we are delighted to welcome new families and new faculty to our Levine School Community. This will definitely be an unprecedented year, but we are all ready for the challenge, and together we will make it a great year for our students.

We are excited about the great things happening in STEM this year. STEM is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM is more than just a grouping of subject areas; it is a movement to develop the deep mathematical and scientific foundations students need to be competitive in the 21st-century workforce. It is estimated that 80% of the jobs created in the next decade will require some form of math and science skills. STEM develops a set of thinking, reasoning, collaborative teamwork, and creative skills that students can use in all areas of their lives. Our science teachers will be employing the Engineering Design Process and 5E+AI (Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, Evaluate +Acceleration and Intervention) instruction model. A big focus of our K-4 STEM program will be integrating STEM into the general studies curriculum. The STEM coordinator and general studies teachers are identifying areas of curriculum for integration this school year. All K-8 STEM teachers will be using the STEMscopes curriculum.

For our LS STEM we are adding to our STEM lab a greenhouse, a composting bin for the greenhouse and raised gardens, hydroponic plant equipment and an egg incubator. We have also added three 3D printers and CAD software to our Makerspace. LS students will have a class period weekly in the makerspace with the STEM teacher. Students will also be visiting the Makerspace this year with their general studies teachers. Several of our MS electives will also be held in the Makerspace.

In our MS we have expanded our electives options to include new STEM choices. We have added Sustainable Agriculture, CIJE BYTES/Coding, Makerspace, Forensics Science, Cars, Gears & Wheels, and Circuits, Breadboards, Robots. We are pleased to continue our partnership with the CIJE (Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education) to bring year three of STEM education to Levine Academy.

Other additions to our MS electives include Chess, Café Book Club, Passion Project, and Hebrew Games. To our fine arts we have added several new choices, 2 Dimensional Still-life on Canvas, Sculpting with Recycled Plastics, and Art with a Message, also known as Conservation Art and to Music the addition of Orff Instrument Ensemble.

The pandemic has not been easy for our children. In response to this we have added new curriculums to support our students in their social and emotional wellbeing; in grades 2nd-8th the Newsela, social emotional learning curriculum and in K-1st the Character Tree curriculum. Teachers will incorporate these curriculums into their LS morning meeting, MS advisories and during our class counseling times by the school counselors. To our LA program we have added the WordyWise 3000 Vocabulary program for 5-8th grade and Studies Weekly, a social studies curriculum in 1st grade.

The 40 Book Challenge was introduced in our MS two years ago and has been a great success. We are expanding this to school wide participation. The challenge is designed to put the joy back into independent reading, push students to embrace a culture of reading and explore all genres.

Research confirms one of the most important factors contributing to a student's success in school is the quality of teaching. Over the summer, our teachers were engaged in many professional development opportunities. General studies teacher K-8 completed 723 hours of professional development. Ongoing professional development allows our teachers to strengthen their craft and develop the very best practices in education. Some of the trainings attended by our teachers were in the following areas; Social Emotional Learning, Distance Learning, Schoology, Zoom, STEM, and content specific trainings. Our teachers also met throughout the summer to collaborate, strategize and share in preparation for this unique year. They are all to be commended for their dedication and commitment to their profession and to their students.  

We are excited and enthusiastic about the school year ahead and look forward to a great year of teaching and learning.