ALIYAH Program K-12
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Program Information for K-6th grades
Welcome to ALIYAH! The warm community of ALIYAH provides engaging, high-level learning opportunities for every student. Our students experience Jewish holidays and traditions, gain strong Hebrew language skills, and grow from the many opportunities for meaningful leadership within the congregational community. Our teachers are dynamic and nurturing, and our kids enjoy their experience of Jewish education. We hope this Q & A sheet is helpful—for any further information, please be in touch.
Q: When do K-6th graders meet for ALIYAH?
A: All K-6th graders attend on Sunday mornings from 9:00-12:00 plus one afternoon or evening per week: Mon or Weds 4:15-6:00 p.m. or (for 3rd-6th grades only) Weds 6:30-8:15 p.m. There is a dinner option for 3rd-6th graders on Wednesdays (served 6:00-6:25 p.m.).
3rd-6th graders also participate in a one-on-one Enrichment Program which consists of three 30-minute sessions with their Hebrew teacher, spread out through the year, on a Tuesday or Thursday afternoon that parents schedule. In these sessions, teachers assess and tutor students to measure their progress and help them build skills. Each assessment result will be communicated to parents and to the director. This enrichment program is built into the cost of registration for 3rd-6th graders.
Q. What is the program content?
A. Each grade has its own goals in the area of Ivrit (Hebrew), Tefilah (Prayer) and Yahadut (Jewish building blocks) plus a specific mitzvah or Jewish value to focus on for the year. Yom Rishon (Sunday) classes also include chugim (specialty activities) that include cultural arts such as art, music, dance, and drama. Students have many opportunities to “live” their Judaism, whether leading services, celebrating holidays, putting on a Jewish wedding celebration, cooking Jewish foods, or participating in tzedakah projects that support others in our community. A complete curriculum overview is posted on the ALIYAH page of our website.
Q. Who are the teachers?
A. Perhaps because of our high-level curriculum in ALIYAH, we attract exceptionally strong teachers who are dedicated to Jewish life and learning, passionate about Hebrew, Israel, and tzedakah. Our teachers care very much about the success of each student and focus on creating a learning environment that supports every child in his/her learning as well as in building a strong community of friends.
Q. What is the cost of ALIYAH?
A. ALIYAH costs for the 2013-14 year are as follows:
2-Day program for Kindergarten, 1st & 2nd grades: $870
2-Day program for 3rd-6th grades: $1070
Dinner option (Weds evenings): $160
B’nai Mitzvah tutoring: $600 per year, 5th and 6th grades*
* See below under question about bar/bat mitzvah tutoring
Please note that EARLY BIRD registration before June 20 saves families $75 off of each child’s registration fees, while registration after August 8 requires an additional $75 administrative fee per child registration.
Q: Will my child have homework?
A: We understand that your children have a variety of commitments and activities throughout the week, and we do not generally expect students to take Hebrew work home. However, the more points of contact with language that students have during the week, the better their retention. Therefore, we do sometimes ask students to practice reading or reviewing for 5-10 minutes per day.
Q. What is the Immersion track of the ALIYAH Hebrew program?
A. The Immersion track in 3rd-6th grades is for students with strong prior exposure to Hebrew (through ShalomZone, Kochavim, PJA, an Israeli parent, etc.). Students in the Immersion track learn Hebrew in an all-Hebrew speaking environment and focus on all of the same goals as the kids in the Traditional track, as well as more spoken, modern Hebrew. The Immersion track meets during the same hours as everyone else but on a pre-determined day per grade. Please contact us for more information on the Immersion track days for each grade.
Q. Are there Shabbat programs for my child? Is there a Shabbat requirement for our family?
A. Shabbat and holiday attendance is central to Jewish ritual life. Twice a year our K-6th grade families join together for an Erev Shabbat (Friday night) family-friendly service and dinner, including opportunities for youth participation. Each grade will also be invited to attend a Shabbat morning service during the year that honors that grade’s families and teachers.
ALIYAH also hosts Kehilat Noar, a youth-led Shabbat morning service for grades 1-5. Kehilat Noar meets on the 1st Shabbat of each month (at the same time as Tot Shabbat for younger children) at 10:15am. Parents are welcome to attend with their children.
We strongly recommend that every ALIYAH family attend a Shabbat service at least once every month, and a bar or bat mitzvah service at least three times during the year. We have many different styles of services to choose from on Friday evenings and Shabbat mornings. Children who grow up seeing older youth becoming bar/bat mitzvah have a much stronger sense of purpose and clearer understanding of what it means to become a bar/bat mitzvah.
Q. What happens if my child needs to miss a day?
A. We always appreciate communications from parents when a child misses ALIYAH class time due to illness or other commitments. Students are encouraged to make up a missed day by attending during a different section of the week (attending on Weds instead of Monday, for example). If you know in advance that your child will be missing several days of ALIYAH, please be in touch with us so that teachers can provide make-up work as appropriate so that your child does not fall behind.
Q. What if my child has special learning needs?
A. In ALIYAH we are committed to working with every kind of learner and helping each child succeed to the best of his or her ability. We rely on parents to provide us the information you have about your child and his/her learning needs. (See Special Needs/Medications form.) It is very important for us to know if a child has an IEP or learning supports at school, is taking or changing medication, or has been identified with social, cognitive, or developmental challenges. Our teen madrichim are trained to work one-on-one during class hours to support a child’s learning. Our professional educational consultant is available to assess student learning needs and provide suggestions for learning supports when a teacher or parent requests an evaluation. On a case-by-case basis, we may recommend tutoring rather than class time for a student with needs that cannot be addressed in our classes.
Q. What if my Kindergartner cannot manage an afterschool program on top of full-day learning at school?
A. Kindergarten is indeed a big transition for many children. While we encourage all Kindergarten families to enroll for the 2-day program of ALIYAH, we recognize that in some cases afterschool programming is too challenging for Kindies. There is a 1-day option in place for Kindergartners who are unable to manage the 2-day program. Parents should also note that the weekday program does not begin until the end of September—this will give all of our kids the chance to settle into their new school routines before beginning ALIYAH after school.
Q. What are the enrollment and attendance requirements for children at Neveh Shalom?
A. Enrollment and attendance in ALIYAH programming from 1st -7th grade is required for children who want to become bar/bat mitzvah at Neveh Shalom. Children who enroll later or whose poor attendance affects their proficiency in Hebrew reading may need extra tutoring at the parents’ expense.
Q. Is there additional tutoring my child will need for bar/bat mitzvah? When does this happen?
A. Neveh Shalom offers a bar/bat mitzvah tutorial program which includes a full year of tutoring leading up to the child’s bar/bat mitzvah with a trained private tutor who is familiar with our traditions at Neveh Shalom. These tutors work with the child on their individual Torah and Haftarah portions as well as any prayers the child has not yet mastered. Included in this tutorial program is a month of tutoring with Cantor Bletstein prior to bar/bat mitzvah. In order to reduce the financial obligations on families during the bar/bat mitzvah year, we have adopted a pay-ahead program in which families pay half the tutorial fee in 5th grade and half in 6th grade, so that the family is free of that financial obligation by the bar/bat mitzvah year.
Q. What else do I need to know as my child nears the age of bar/bat mitzvah?
A. Every fall we hold a parent meeting for 5th and 6th grade families to provide all of the information you will need as you prepare for your child’s bar/bat mitzvah. At this meeting you hear about the ritual, educational, and logistical sides of the bar/bat mitzvah celebration at Neveh Shalom. We also provide a handbook with additional details, contacts, and information for all families in 5th and 6th grades. If you are unable to attend this meeting, please make arrangements to pick up the handbook and read it; we are available any time to answer questions.
Q. My child is enrolled at PJA. What do I need to know about ALIYAH programming for my child?
A. We welcome our PJA families to participate in our full ALIYAH K-6th grade programming. However, in recognition of the time and commitment you and your children are already making to Jewish education, we only require 6th graders to participate in our Sunday and Shabbat programming with their peers at Neveh Shalom. PJA families are welcome to enroll in an abbreviated Yom Rishon (Sunday) program (10:00 a.m.-12:00) which offers Jewish building blocks, mitzvah project curriculum, and chugim (electives). PJA families are also encouraged to enroll your children in Neveh Shalom’s Youth Activities programs which are more social and less academic, to strengthen your children’s relationship with the synagogue community.
Q. We are new at Neveh Shalom or in ALIYAH. How do we meet other families? Will we get a roster of the other kids in our child’s class?
A. At Neveh Shalom we recognize that making friends and building community is very important to our families—for children and adults alike. Each grade has a room parent who helps to organize at least one purely social activity during the year for the families in that grade. We provide rosters in the fall once our enrollment is set, and are also happy to help connect new families with others in your neighborhood or school district. We encourage families looking to make closer connections to join a new member brunch, invite another family from ALIYAH for a Shabbat dinner or playdate, join a committee or a tikkun olam (social action) project, or participate in any of our adult programs from book talks to knitting or gardening, to Synagogue 101 education programs. You are sure to meet others who are here for the same reason as you!
Q. We are figuring out our transportation needs for ALIYAH next year. Can you help us with carpools?
A. Yes—we are developing a forum for parents to check in with each other to offer or request carpool availability by home and school neighborhoods. Many of our families do have successful carpool arrangements with friends and neighbors, and we are happy to help provide the tools you need to connect with others nearby. Stay tuned!
Q. Now that ALIYAH is only two days/week, are there other options for my child to see his/her Jewish friends or attend a Jewish after-school program?
A. Yes—check out our new ShalomZone after school program, available for 2-12 year olds from 3:00-6:00 p.m. Mondays through Fridays. Flexible options for enrollment and drop-in care are available!
Youth from 3rd grade up are also encouraged to join our Youth Activities program (Jr. Kadima for 3rd-5th grades and Kadima for 6th-8th grades). These youth group programs offer fun and social activities throughout the year plus opportunities to connect with a Jewish youth community from across the Pacific Northwest.