A Week of Special Visits

Dear Parents:

Though the year is nearly over, we were fortunate to welcome several special guests this week to campus for some important visits:

CAIS Accreditation Visit
Just yesterday, CAIS (California Association of Independent School), an organization of approximately 200 elementary, middle and secondary schools in California, came to ADAT for a scheduled visit. Among those who visited were representatives from WASC (the Western Association of Schools and Colleges), the BJE, and of course, CAIS.

This visit was a regularly scheduled meeting during the accreditation cycle to see our school, and we had a full schedule planned for them. The team met with our teachers, administration, and board members to learn about the breadth of learning, administrative and board structure and policies, and get a progress report on all of the areas of our school (development, admissions, etc.).

At the conclusion of our visit, the accreditation team was “blown away” by the level of care our students receive from our administration, faculty, and staff. They noted that our unique approach to learning was one they hadn’t seen this way before. What’s more, they were very impressed by our pedagogic growth since their last visit in early 2014. Naturally, they also offered areas for improvement, which we plan to implement immediately. These items include developing a strategic planning process with our board and a fundraising strategy that ensures a sustainable future for our school.

Visit from Our d.school Partners
Our collaborators from Stanford University’s d.school, Devon Young and Ariel Raz, arrived this week, ready to work with our students in their classrooms on Tuesday and Wednesday. Here’s a recap of what they learned:

Our TK students learned how to give feedback that is “specific, helpful, and kind” and how to use the feedback of their peers to improve their drawings. Giving and receiving feedback successfully is a skill that is even challenging for adults! Watching our TK students give helpful feedback and applying that feedback to their drawings was wonderful to see!

Similarly, Devon and Ariel helped our 1st grade students practice the invaluable design-thinking skill of reflection. They used a “story mold” activity in order to describe what they have been learning in the ZDL all year. The students then used these reflections to complete their “Growth Mindset” sign that will be on display in the 1st grade classroom during Open House and will then move to its permanent home in ZDL 4.

Devon and Ariel led the 2nd grade through an Empathy simulation that allowed them to look at our school campus with fresh eyes and from the perspective of a head of school, a gardener, and an architect. They all said they noticed things around our school they had never noticed before. It is so interesting to watch our students step out of themselves and learn to be empathetic!

The upper grades applied their math skills to building prototypes, learned how to tell the story of their prototypes in order to gain interest from an audience, and completed a design thinking lesson conducted entirely in Hebrew by Ariel!

Our teachers shared that watching our d.school partners with our students made certain aspects of design thinking “click” for them. We are so grateful to Stanford University’s d.school for helping us to deepen our ability to implement design thinking in our classrooms and we are so inspired by their work with our students!

We are grateful to all of our faculty and staff who represented ADAT so beautifully to our guests this week. It was a wonderful week – filled with tremendous pride for our incredible school.

Wishing you a lovely and safe Memorial Day weekend!

Shabbat Shalom,
Shara and Lauren

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