2014 Grand Science Fair held at
Bet Yaakov of the Jersey Shore
“Mah rabu maasecha Hashem– How great are Your
The girls at Bet Yaakov of the Jersey Shore just completed their annual science fair, seizing a precious opportunity to delve into the many wonders of the natural world.
Each class was divided into groups, and each group was assigned a topic to explore and study in depth. The students then either conducted an experiment using the scientific method, or constructed an accurate model relevant to their topic. They invested countless hours of research and hard work, gradually transforming their abstract ideas into masterpieces, while utilizing the same methodology that is used by scientists. Their finished products displayed their extensive research as well as their outstanding writing and presentation skills which they developed as part of their science curriculum. All this was showcased at the grand science fair.
Prior to the parents’ arrival, the students were judged on their knowledge of their topic, adherence to guidelines, and presentation of material, and winners of each class were selected and awarded with certificates and prizes.
Dr. Judith Shoner, BYJS General Studies Dean, had the highest praise for her students’ accomplishments. “On this journey, our students become our teachers, and we all become students.”
Dalia Abott Teaches Students
the Real Meaning of Beautiful
If the success of a school program can be judged by the amount of students jumping out of their seats, hands up, eager to participate, and still talking about what they’ve learned weeks afterward, The SAFE Foundation’s Healthy Body Image Presentation by Dalia Abott LMSW, RD, was a resounding success. Dalia presented to three assemblies of middle division and high school girls in Magen David Yeshivah on December 24th, and the students said the program was life-changing.
One of the things Dalia emphasized was that there is a way to speak nicely to oneself. She said that often when we get a compliment, we refuse to accept the good words. Sometimes we express our negative responses aloud, and other times, we speak them quietly to ourselves. She said that if we find that we are using the word “BUT” after receiving a compliment, we should know that we are going to a bad place and should back up. Dalia used a loud, “Stop it!” shout to silence negative voices telling us we are anything less than wonderful. She said that those voices are not our friends, and that we do have the choice of how we want to speak to ourselves.
She asked, “Has anyone here ever not gone somewhere because of how they looked? Has anyone here ever compared themselves to someone else?” Most all did.
At one point, Dalia split the room into two, charging one group to chant, “Perfect people aren’t real!” and the other to call out, “Real people aren’t perfect!” To drive this point home, Dalia showed a video of an image of a woman’s face being photo shopped to be “model” beautiful. Dalia emphasized, “Beauty is not a mold. Let your beauty shine from within.”
A most fascinating portion of the program was when Dalia asked volunteers to read the names of body parts that were written on cards. Each girl was asked to think of different functions of that body part. This exercise highlighted that aside from the visual, there are many special aspects of the body. This took the concept of beauty to a whole new level.
A few days later, students told SAFE teachers that the program introduced them to ideas that that will stay with them forever, adding that since then they have been practicing positive self-talk and accepting compliments graciously. They exclaimed, “And it feels good!”
Written by The SAFE Foundation
New York City Yeshivahs Allowed to Offer Services on Public School Holidays
Until recently, New York City policy demanded that special education service providers follow the public school calendar, which meant that on days that yeshivas were open but public schools were closed, therapists, health paraprofessionals and resource room teachers could not provide services, as they would not be reimbursed for their work. This was a source of ongoing frustration for principals, teachers, parents and special needs students.
Thanks to the advocacy of Project LEARN, the division of Agudath Israel of America that deals with special education issues, the city’s policy has been changed to accommodate the needs of the nonpublic school community. Provided that the total number of hours that are billed per student does not exceed the maximum number allocated for the school year, yeshivahs and other nonpublic schools may offer services any day that their school is in session, including legal holidays. As long as yeshivahs adhere to a 180-day school calendar, that calendar year may begin as early as September 1
and end any time up to June 30.
“The new policy means that schools that elect to start before Labor Day can start services immediately, and that students with special needs won’t have their schedules disrupted because of public school vacations or holidays,” says Mrs. Leah Steinberg, Director of Project LEARN. “Structure and continuity are vital to the success of any special needs program, and this will help maintain both.”
Project LEARN, a division of Agudath Israel of America, advocates on behalf of special needs students in yeshivahs and nonpublic schools, serves as a liaison between the schools and government agencies, and offers schools and parents assistance in obtaining appropriate placement and services for their students.
NY State Education Department
Releases $4.5 Million for Security Funding for Nonpublic Schools
The New York State Education Department recently announced that $4.5 million allocated for security funding for nonpublic schools in last year’s budget is now available. The deadline to receive funding is March 31, 2014.
This security funding was not originally available to private schools. When Governor Cuomo and the New York State legislature passed the SAFE Act last year, the legislation granted security funding for public schools only, excluding private schools.
OU Advocacy, together with its coalition of Jewish day schools and advocacy partners in Albany, convinced the leadership that security funding should be made available for every child – regardless of the type of school he/she attends.
“This security funding will allow Jewish day schools to be reimbursed for any safety equipment they purchased between
April 1, 2013 and March 31, 2014,” explains Jeff Leb, New York Director of Political Affairs for OU Advocacy. “Each school will receive approximately $9.70 per child attending the school – which translates to several thousands of dollars, depending on a school’s enrollment. We urge every Jewish day school to apply for this funding as soon as possible because of the quickly-approaching deadline.”
Maury Litwack, Director of State Political Affairs and Outreach, said, “OU Advocacy is committed to working with Jewish day schools to ensure they maximize every dollar of government funding available to them. While this funding may appear small, it is an important part of the OU’s comprehensive effort to identify creative, viable and constitutionally-sound government programs and opportunities that help Jewish day schools address the tuition affordability challenge.”
The OU Advocacy Center has long worked on the issue of safety and security for our schools and communities, and regularly engages with Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and other senior officials to ensure the timely and practical flow of information important to its constituents’ safety. In addition, OU Advocacy joined with other major national organizations and Congressional allies to create the Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NGSP) in 2005, which has secured more than $100 million for nonprofit organizations, including synagogues and day schools.