3rd and 4th graders finished their beautiful, wonderfully musical rain sticks in Art class.

In the last couple of weeks, people have been posting on Facebook pictures of themselves from ten years ago and today. When I saw that, I immediately thought of this picture above. It is funny but also has a powerful message. As we gear up for another set of parent-teacher conferences, I feel fortunate that while this comic portrayal exists in schools, it is not our "now." I know this not just because I get to lead a group of excellent administrators and educators, but also because I have experienced Akiba-Schechter conferences as a parent as well.

I recall my first parent-teacher conferences at Akiba last year. I was by no means excited. I had never enjoyed conferences, and while I know how differently we do things at Akiba, I could not imagine conferences were one of those things. I was wrong. In my first meeting, it was obvious that the teacher not only knew who my child was (believe it or not that is not a given in all schools) but truly knew my child. The teacher not only demonstrated a deep working knowledge of my child's interests and strengths (and areas in need of improvement) but went out of the way to find pathways of learning that were driven by those interests and strengths. I did not hear about where my child was in comparison to others. I heard about where my child was in comparison to themselves when they began the learning journey in that class. I was not shown metrics, graphs, and standard scores. I was shown my child's work that was clearly produced with the teachers' encouragement to be themselves.

The conferences not only showed me how much I could trust that my child's teachers truly knew my child, but that they were doing everything they could to reach them. It was this caring for my child and personalization that became clear at conferences that made the difference in my child's academic and social/emotional growth. This was a child who before Akiba was possibly interested in a graphic novel or two and a year later is reading two to three five hundred page novels a week.

I look forward to once again meeting with my children's teachers, and I trust you are as well. I know my sessions won't all be conversations about how great my children are doing, but, whatever the discussions will be, I am confident that they will be based on what the teachers deeply know about my child and their expertise as educators.
Shabbat Shalom! 
Dr. Eliezer Jones
Head of School  
Words of Inspiration from Rabbi Cohen            
Words of Inspiration from Rabbi Cohen: Life's Most Important Question
Words of Inspiration from Rabbi Cohen: Life's Most Important Question
From the Preschool                
What Better Way to Spend a Sunday Afternoon Than...
by Carla Goldberg, Preschool Director
We are more than just a school at Akiba, we are a community, we are a family. When planning the school year, we look for opportunities for us to be together during school days, celebrating holidays and also just hanging out and socializing. We want Akiba-Schechter Jewish Day School to be a gathering place. Your children spend so much time here and feel at home. We want everyone to feel that comfort level in our building.  

This Sunday we are hosting our Family Play Day from 3:30 to 5:00 PM for preschool and Kindergarten families. We invite our families to join us for a cozy afternoon playing in classrooms, enjoying indoor winter activities, creating in our Maker Space, and of course schmoozing and snacking. Of course we will end with a singalong - because it's not really an early childhood event unless we break into song! Can you think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon? I can't!
Picasso-inspired self portraits

The Kindergarten Studies Picasso
Our Kindergarteners' January self portraits were inspired by the unique work of Pablo Picasso. The teachers printed out a few examples of how Picasso drew faces for the children to study.
The samples were also meant to spark a deeper understanding of what Picasso was like. And indeed it did! The children discussed how confident and secure Picasso must have been to be able to present himself in this way.

Grades 1-8                  

As part of their curriculum for the past month of Shvat, Chen Segal's Kitah Gimmel has been studying nature's cycles, such as the cycle of water. They've been exploring them with their five senses. Of course, all of this is done in Hebrew!

In Chen Segal's Kitah Daled, groups of students read a few pages in Hebrew about a specific tree, did some more research based on questions and then presented what they learned to the class. Their presentations were well done and quite creative!

Ulam Spirals Lead to Further Discoveries
Last week Mr. Amiel's first period Math class drew Ulam Spirals and looked for patterns in the numbers. An Ulam Spiral (named after Polish-Jewish mathematician/physicist Stanislaw Ulam) is the counting numbers (starting at one) written out in a spiral.  Students looked at where the square numbers ended up and also where the prime numbers ended up. It turns out that prime numbers disproportionately appear on diagonals. This led to a discussion of prime numbers. The class talked about Mersenne Primes (prime numbers that are one less than a power of two) and the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search. The class finished up by looking at all of the digits of the largest prime number found so far (2 raised to the 82,589,933 power minus 1). There were A LOT of digits (almost 25 million!!!).  

Thank you to 8th graders Shammai and Rafi for coordinating dinner this week for the Lincoln Park Community Services Center. And thank you to all the 8th graders, Ms. Kass and Mrs. Gold, who helped to cook, clean and serve!

Raffle Results!           
Kol HaKavod to the 8th graders who managed to raise a total of $6,262 for their trip to Israel with their recent online basket raffle!
The lucky raffle winners:
Disney - Ruslana Friedman
Chicago Fun 1 - Amanda Drain
Chicago Fun 2 - Scott Salk
Chicago Fun 3 - Andrew Bransky
Lakeview Night Out - Linda Szmulewitz
Tacos and Movie - Mike Sacks
Wellness/Beauty - Heather Waitzman
Chicago Sports - Tricia Berlin
8 Questions for an 8th Grader: Noah Devir           
We continue our series of featuring an 8th grader in each Kibitzer; today it's Noah Devir:  
  1. Since when have you been at Akiba? 
    I have been at Akiba since the Purple Room, so this is year 12 at Akiba for me.
  2. What neighborhood are you from? I live in Hyde Park, but for a while I lived in Woodlawn.
  3. Is being an 8th grader different from your previous grades at Akiba? In 8th grade I hope to accomplish fundraising for my Israel trip and getting into a good high school. 8th grade is different than other grades because we are the oldest and we get to go to Israel.
  4. What is your favorite subject at Akiba and why? 
    My favorite subject at Akiba is Science because I love building things and doing experiments.
  5. What do you think is special about Akiba? 
    I think one thing that is special about Akiba is that everyone is so close and we all know each other.
  6. What did you learn from recently having your Bar Mitzvah? 
    I learned from my bar mitzvah that I strongly dislike praying.
  7. When you're not at school or doing homework, what do you like to do? 
    When I am not at school, I am usually playing video games or hanging out with my friends. 
  8. Do you have any idea yet of what you want to be when you grow up? 
    When I grow up, I want to be an engineer who builds cars, planes, etc.
Art with Debbie                  

1st and 2nd graders folded the origami Snapping Goose multiform puppet. By decorating them and adding features to their puppets the students created any character their imaginations could devise.

Library Update                  

The 1st/2nd graders have almost finished reading about Florence Nightingale, whose compassion for the sick and the poor inspired her to transform the way nurses do their work. She championed the importance of good sanitation, healthy food and fresh air in the recovery of patients. She worked tirelessly to care for Britain's soldiers, who were so severely wounded during the Crimean War.

Upcoming #akibacommUNITY Events neighbor
RSVP to Jetaun Breaux.  playday
It's Time to Register for our Summer Program!

February 6, 2019 Rosh Chodesh & Day of Learning
was  generously sponsored by  the Lowenthal Family i n honor of the first yahrtzeit of Bud Pickett,  father of Erin Lowenthal  and grandfather of Henry, Benny and Ari Lowenthal. 
February 1, 2019
is generously sponsored by  Allan and Bryna Towb  in loving memory of Rebecca Towb.

Mazal Tov
  ...to 3rd/4th grade teacher Jaime Leonard and her husband Larry for being honored with the Ahavat Chesed Award by the Yeshiva University/Torah Mitzion Kollel at their Awards Dinner on February 24.
Lunch & Learn
Thursday, February 21
12:00 - 1:00 PM at Metro Klub
In honor of the month of Adar, we will explore the topic of 'Adar and the Secret to Happiness'.  Join us for a meaningful discussion and a delicious lunch!

Save the Date!
...for our Annual Brunch Fundraising Event on Sunday, March 31. Details to come soon.
History Fair Judges Needed!
Calling all history lovers! The annual Akiba- Schechter Middle School History Fair will be on the morning of March 12, and we are looking for judges. This is a great opportunity to see the amazing thinking and work of our middle school students. If you are interested or know of someone else who would be interested, please contact Alicia Chipman. 
Read to Succeed

Six Flags
Grades K - 6: Read to Succeed is a free program sponsored by Six Flags Theme Parks. Every student who completes six hours of recreational reading before February 20, 2019, is eligible for a free admission ticket valid at participating Six Flags Theme Parks. For more information please contact Miriam Friedman ParksForms should be returned to the front desk by February 20, 2019. 

Dates to Remember
Sunday, February 10
3:30 - 5:00 PM
in preschool classrooms

Thursday, February 14
Parent/Teacher Conferences
No Grade School 
No Buses, No Late Pick Up
Preschool & Kindergarten in session until 3:30 PM

Friday, February 15
Parent/Teacher Conferences Preschool/KDG
No School for all.

Monday, February 18
Presidents Day
No School

Thursday, February 21
Lunch & Learn
12:00 - 1:00 PM
Metro Klub

Friday, February 22
#akibacommUNITY Oneg
Lakeview: Nagorsky Home
Hyde Park: Friedman-Parks Home

Thursday, February 28
Grades K - 8

Friday, March 1
#akibacommUNITY Oneg
Skokie: Cantz Home

February 8, 2019  
Volume 15, Issue 10
Candle Lighting: 4:55 PM
Parasha: Terumah

Affiliated with the Associated Talmud Torahs and supported by the Kehillah Jewish Education Fund