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Civil Rights, Social Justice, & Leadership with Middle School Partners in Alabama & Beyond
     Our fifth through eighth grade students had the opportunity to examine the civil rights history of our state and think about justice issues we still face today. Our school hosted middle schoolers from Jewish day schools in Greensboro, Rochester, and New Haven which were all here for a social justice and civil rights tour of our state. 
     Our students started the week with our visitors by hearing from Dr. Martha Bouyer about Alabama's civil rights history and the importance of taking action. Then we screened the Better Together Names, Not NumbersĀ© film, an oral history documentary project our students created last year in which they interviewed Holocaust survivors. Students from Highlands Day School joined our students and the Jewish day school visitors for the film screening and lunch. Over lunch, our NEMJDS students then shared speeches and led discussions for our visitors about the importance of tolerance and freedom.
      Our eighth graders also had the opportunity to join the Jewish day school visitors for a tour of Selma. This tour included hearing from Ms. Jo Ann Bland, who marched as a child in Selma on "Bloody Sunday," "Turnaround Tuesday," and the march from Selma to Montgomery in 1965. Ms. Bland spoke to our students about the power of voting and the importance of the continuing fight for equality. Our students also had the opportunity to hear about the integration of the public library in Selma, and they ended the week by visiting the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute. We look forward to our students participating in this trip with partner schools in the future. 

The Better Together Names, Not NumbersĀ© project, an interactive, multi-media Holocaust project created by educator Tova Fish Rosenberg, is generously supported by a prominent national foundation. This inter-generational program provided an opportunity for students to create an oral history documentary and learn about the Holocaust from survivors who experienced its horrors.

First Grade: Graphing, Working Together, Writing, & More
   Our first graders recently finished their graphing unit involving math, writing, public speaking, and teamwork! Our students spent time planning and learning the foundations of graphing. 
Students learned to classify and categorize items by their attributes. They then took classification one step further with surveys, graphing, and interpreting data. Next , students brainstormed questions to ask the kindergarten and second grade classes. After they had their question, they planned their project in groups; they wrote down their questions, assigned roles, and decided how the information would be recorded. After they made their plan, they wrote a speech to give while conducting the survey.  Once they had a plan and practiced, the first graders went into the kindergarten and second grade classrooms to ask their questions and collect the data.  Then they worked in groups to use their data to create picture graphs to display, and they interpreted their data by writing about the trends they observed. 
A Library Celebration: Including Student Reflections and a Philanthropic Announcement
        Throughout the year our fifth graders have had many opportunities to serve our  school  community as librarians, and their experience in the Leadership Through Library pilot program culminated with a library celebration and reception. The program started with Sheri Krell and Susan Stein speaking about the memory and legacy of Mr. Paul Miller. Students then shared their own reflections about the successes of the program. These reflections started with an announcement about a decision the fifth graders made. As fifth graders Edith and JJ explained, the students decided to donate ten percent of the money they raised in their book sale to HIAS, an organization which works with refugees "to rebuild their lives in safety and dignity." The fifth graders made this choice after reading Home of the Brave about a Sudanese refugee. Students then talked about the significance of the library program, and this included both statistics (our student librarians volunteered for over 75 hours and added 277 books into the library this year) and reflections about the importance of role modeling as librarians. 
A Wax Museum for the Ages: Second Grade Historical Figures
      Recently the halls of the NEMJDS were transformed into a wax museum based on student-selected historical figures. Our second graders read and selected biographies and then wrote and delivered their own speeches with their newfound knowledge. Students dressed as their historical figure, and they even had props. For example, Rafa who was Helen Keller had her own braille book. Cameron as Mozart even played the piano. Our older students loved the opportunity to see so many figures they had studied in history like Mae Jamison and Sacagawea. Our second graders did an amazing job public speaking, getting into character, and educating our  school  community. 
Robots, Recycling, & Natural Spaces: Lower School Environmental Studies 
   O ur second through fourth graders visited Birmingham-Southern College's Environmental Center. This was an opportunity for our students to explore interactive exhibits related to waste, recycling, and water quality. For our third and fourth grade students, who launched a recycling initiative as part of Tu B'Shevat, this was an especially meaningful experience. Our second graders also loved seeing the recycled materials and how they were used, especially after they built their own robots (named Calbert and Lucinda) out of recycled materials during their MakerSpace period. During the field trip, s tudents toured the museum and were "flushed" to the basement to see the swimming pool.  The environmental center, made of recycled materials, is built over what used to be a pool. Students also toured the gardens and saw how the campus uses runoff to create a natural space. 
A Favorite NEMJDS Family Tradition: Matan Siddur
        Every year, our first graders end the year with their own Matan Siddur ceremony which is a ceremony in which students receive their own NEMJDS prayer book. Families, faculty members, and friends of the NEMJDS had the opportunity to join the first grade for this year's special ceremony. This ceremony is one in which students share their knowledge of the morning prayers, and they also share their own individual prayers. For example, first grader Bar spoke about praying for the trees and first grader Allison spoke about praying for her family's safety on trips. In addition to the students sharing their prayers, the parents have the opportunity to present their student with their own prayer book with a handwritten message.  
Garden Club Continues to Grow: Leadership, Responsibility, and Community
        Garden Club returned for another successful year. The club was started by seventh grader Brandon when he was in fourth grade, and the club continues to expand each year. The club was an opportunity for our students to take responsibility over our school garden. Students planted in anticipation of the Spring weather and decorated parsley for the Passover holiday. One of the most special elements of Garden Club was that our seventh and eighth graders have joined the club to work as leaders and help our younger students with their gardening responsibilities. Dr. Bearman, NEMJDS gardening expert and volunteer, also worked with our students during the club. For many of our students, this was their last activity before they head home for the weekend, and we love that the club members ended the week with a community-building experience. 
A Video-Chat Lesson About Cultural Differences and Bringing People Together from Birmingham to Jerusalem 
    Our oldest students had the opportunity to video chat with Ms. Sarah Stone who  is the Youth Programs Director for Kids4Peace. Kids4Peace is a "global movement of Jewish, Christian & Muslim youth dedicated to ending conflict and inspiring hope in divided societies around the world."
    Both in Hebrew and Israeli History class, seventh and eighth graders learned about the religious significance of Jerusalem for Jewish, Muslim, and Christian people. Ms. Stone explained to our students  how although Jerusalem is diverse in that many call it home, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian children often do not interact much. Kids4Peace seeks to bring those youth and their families together to create a culture of peace in the city. 
     She asked our students to think about some of the differences someone from a different cultural background might have. Some of the differences they brainstormed included language, names, religion, and food. Ms. Stone then broadened the discussion to have our students think about Birmingham and how often they interact with kids that are different from them. The lesson ended with a discussion of two opportunities for our students, the  summer camp Kids4Peace runs in North Carolina and Camp Anytown in Birmingham.
Fifth Grade Special Project: Analyzing How Power and Point of View Impact History
    As the culmination of the fifth graders' year-long study of how power, point of view, and beliefs impact history, this class worked  together to rewrite the existing Alabama history textbook. This project was designed especially for this class to use their strong analytical and critical thinking skills. Students started by reviewing the textbook as is, and they then participated in student-led "book clubs" where they shared their thoughts about what is missing, further questions they have, and their initial impressions. Then students researched, read articles, and reacted to primary sources in order to further their thinking beyond the textbook. Students then worked on an online collaborative notebook to write about what they wanted to add or change in the textbook. This was an opportunity for students to enhance the existing textbook and see how their own thinking has changed as they learned more about the historical period or topic. 
       Students read poetry about American slavery, an article featuring discrepancies in how the Civil War is taught by region, the Preamble to the Alabama Constitution, and more. All of these texts encouraged students to think about the history with which they are presented in a new way.  Students also shared their project with an educational coach from Better Lesson so this special project could extend beyond the NEMJDS. 

To launch the project, students met with Ms. Laura Cruz of Better Lessons through video conference (see above).
Awards and Competition Results
Library of Congress Semifinalists!

Three of our students in grades seven and eight were state semifinalists in the 2018 Letters About Literature Contest run by the Library of Congress. This is a contest where students write a letter to an author, and there were over 300 entries from our state. Way to go, Esty, Alexis, and Ryan!

Scholars Bowl: Our First Match and A Victory!

The NEMJDS  Scholars   Bowl  team had its first official matches against the team from Trace Crossings Elementary School. Our team won both matches, the first 460-140 and the second 280-140.  Questions covered topics including math, science, literature, pop culture, and more. We are so proud of our scholars! Thank you to Trace Crossings for hosting us, and thank you to Josh Rutsky and Karen Weinrib for coaching and leading our team!

Support Our 2017 Annual Campaign 

Other Ways To Support Our School 

Did you know that every box top collected brings in ten cents to the NEMJDS?
Click here  for the list of products with Box Tops and start clipping!

Click here and choose N.E. Miles Jewish Day School as the organization you'd like to support and a portion of your purchase will go straight to the school! 

When you shop at Publix and use a Publix Partners NEMJDS swipe card, our school earns a donation.  Please your swipe cards when you check out at Publix. If you need a swipe card, please stop by the school office. 

To support our fifth grade librarians' efforts to enhance our library, please consider purchasing a book from our Library Amazon Wishlist for the NEMJDS student-run library. 

To Make a Donation:
Call Rebekah Weinberger, Director of Advancement at 205-879-1068 or
Sally Friedman, Birmingham Jewish Foundation at 205-803-1519.
To donate online, go to nemjds.org/giving.

Visit Our School

Interested in learning more about our program or touring our state-of-the art learning environment?  It would be our pleasure to give you a personalized tour!  Contact us.

About Our School
For over forty years, the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School has inspired learning for a lifetime. We are a community day school, and through our values-based education our students learn to be leaders both in our school community and the greater community. At the N.E. Miles Jewish Day School, our high academic standards, low student-to-teacher ratio, and individualized instruction create a love of learning and an environment of academic excellence where students reach their full potential. 

Learn more about what it means to be a part of our school family. 
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N.E. Miles Jewish Day School
4000 Montclair Road   Birmingham AL 35213
205/879.1068   nemjds.org