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First Semester of 2019-2020 In Review

This first semester of 2019-2020 school year has been filled with amazing accomplishments and many memorable events. As popular institutions release lists with the year in review with the best music, top books and most watched movies, the Gordon School created its year in review list beginning from the summer of 2019. Here are the top charting events, accomplishments and accolades!

June/July 2019

We welcomed four new directors and new staff members! 

This summer we welcomed Miki Dayan, Early Childhood Center Director, Ella Curtiss, Day School Principal, Stephanie Llanes, Tikvah Center Director and Chelsea Friedman, Admissions Director. Each director brings unique experiences to the Gordon School allowing for a diverse, collaborative leadership team. The summer was filled with learning the Gordon School culture, understanding past and present policies, updating procedures, and developing a strong partnership along the way. Not hired together nor never met prior to this summer, the directors instantly bonded. With a collaborative team, there is only success on the horizon. Our four new directors are not the only new staff members we welcomed this year. The Gordon School welcomed Fernanda Fridman, the School Administrative Assistant and new teachers across each division. We are lucky to have Itzel Rodriguez, Grace Garcia, Melody Snyderman, Chaim Lieberperson, Andrea Prince, Carolina Goicolea, and Daniel Venegas sharing their knowledge and expertise.

August 2019 

New Families – Buddies 

Each year we welcome new families to our community. To make them feel comfortable and supported with the transition to a new school, each family is carefully paired with a returning family. This year those buddies transformed into strong friendships among parents and students. By the second week, families were scheduling play dates and new and returning students were hanging out. New families also had the opportunity to attend a breakfast the first week of school. At the Gordon School, we feel it is important that each family feels welcomed and at home. We are proud that the Gordon School fosters a welcoming and positive community environment. Long-lasting friendships have formed from the New Family Buddy Program and the New Families Breakfast. At the Gordon School, we continue to offer ways for families to connect during the school year from the PA cocktail party, PJ Movie Night, weekly Shabbat performances, and more. Keep an eye out for new events coming up in 2020 including Alumni Panel on January 9th, Realtor Night on March 5th and Schmooze and Booze on March 12th! 

Community Clean Up

Prior to the first week of school, the staff members started the school year with a week of professional development. There was a feeling of joy as staff members reconnected from the summer and participated in a week of learning. The teachers participated in a special community engagement event and set an example to the students as leaders in their neighborhood by cleaning streets surrounding their school. We are proud and grateful to work with such a dedicated team! We would like to thank each staff member that helped make this morning of social action so special. Click here to read about our commitment to service in the Sun Sentinel.

Back to School Carnival

Students were so excited to come back for the 2019-2020 school year, they came back a day early! On the eve of the first day of school, students and families celebrated the start of the new school year at the annual Back to School Carnival. New and returning families came out for a day filled with fun! There were bounce houses, food, face painting and games for the entire family. There was an amazing turn out of Gordon School families at this annual event.

Updated Curriculum 

Mrs. Dayan, Mrs. Curtiss and Ms. Llanes had the opportunity during the summer to review the current curriculum. With the students success and the parent feedback in mind, changes were made. The Early Childhood expanded their program to start at 12 months and included the specials, PE, Art and Music as enrichment classes starting at 12 months. It was the Day School curriculum where all classes became a uniform 45 minutes with the exception of Language Arts, which is longer to accommodate for the array of topics covered from reading fluency, reading comprehension, grammar, phonics, and writing. This year, students have more access to Spanish, visiting Senorita Catalina twice a week with new curriculum resources that builds upon previous concepts. Ms. Llanes updated space in the Tikvah Center creating a more meaningful area for play and social time for the students.

Interim Reports and Report Cards

The Day School and The Tikvah Center revised the Interim Reports and Report Cards. The new templates provide a more detailed account of student performance. Educators in each subject area write a detailed narrative identifying students strengths and areas of growth. The Early Childhood updated progress reports to include more detailed benchmarks for all ages. We’ve often heard the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child” and we couldn’t agree more. We value the strong relationships the Gordon school develops with our families. Through detailed informed reports, we are able to provide a more comprehensive look at a student’s progress.

September 2019 

Fairchild Challenge 

As our 11th year as participants, the Gordon School is excited to bring the opportunity for a cross curricular experience to students from Pre-Kindergarten to Fifth Grade.  The challenge encompasses many academic areas including Language Arts, STEM and Social Studies. This allows for our students to engage in cross curricular activities and shows the importance of gaining a deeper understanding of Florida horticulture.  Throughout the year, Gordon School students and students across Miami participate in various challenges. Thus far, students have created ecosystem playing cards, an informational text and fictional story about the plant cycle, and designed an automatic garden for astronauts in space. We are excited to continue to bring authentic learning experiences to enhance our curriculum.

Coffee Chats

Mrs. Curtiss and Ms. Llanes invited parents from each grade level to “chat” over the course of several mornings. This offered the opportunity for parents to hear the wonderful happenings in each grade level and to come together as a Gordon School family.

Back To School Night

A record breaking amount of families visited their child’s classroom and heard from the new directors. The parents had the opportunity to learn more about the curriculum in their child’s class and participate in an activity left by the student’s. It was a fun night filled with so many happy faces. Thank you for your continued support and dedication!

High Holiday Celebrations 

This year we celebrated the high holidays as a community, engaging all students with schoolwide activities across all divisions. Rosh Hashanah began with reading buddies. Fifth and Fourth Grade students read High Holiday stories to their younger peers in the Early Childhood, Day School, and Tikvah Center. As leaders in their school, they felt proud to have the opportunity to act as role models. 

At the Gordon School, the importance of Jewish rituals and values are taught to the students in meaningful ways throughout the year. This year, due to not having a nearby body of water, students were able to represent their casting of sins with bubbles on the field. It was a light bulb moment in which you saw students make meaningful connections truly understand understand why, as Jewish people, we continue this ritual. 

Symbols in Judaism are seen throughout all holidays. It is symbolic to eat a round challah to symbolize the New Year. Students practiced and enjoyed making their own personal challah. This year, we started a new tradition by welcoming parents to school for Breakfast in the Sukkah. Students enjoyed a delicious breakfast and welcomed the opportunity to shake the Lulav and Etrog, further developing students’ understanding of holiday symbols and customs. Thank you to all families that helped make this event special by bringing in yummy treats! Some Gordon School students even cooked pancakes and muffins for their peers and parents to enjoy. 

Simchat Torah ended our high holiday celebration as we celebrated the conclusion of the Torah readings for the year. The students celebrated at night with dancing, new student recognition and ice cream. They learned fun facts about the Torah as they played word scavenger hunt within the scripture.

October 2019

Breast Cancer Awareness Event

On Friday, October 18th the Gordon School wore pink and raised funds for Breast Cancer Awareness. The Gordon School, the Women’s League of Beth David Congregation, and Sharsheret collaborated to assemble forty care packages to deliver to patients diagnosed with cancer. Students from the Fifth Grade class visited Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to deliver the care packages. This was a great opportunity for students to partake in all aspects of community service and the chance to give back to those in need. 

November 2019 

A Day in the Life of Kindergarten

The Gordon School invited the Pre-Kindergarten parents to spend a Day in the Life of Kindergarten. Parents learned about the Kindergarten program at the Gordon School. The morning started with words from a fifth grade student who felt as though the Gordon School Kindergarten laid his foundation and “gave him a personality”. The parents also heard from a current Day School parent who feels as though the Gordon School is home. The morning concluded with hearing about the curriculum from Ms. Snyderman, the current Kindergarten teacher and Mrs. Curtiss, the Day School Principal. Parents also had an opportunity to meet and hear more about all enrichment classes offered in the Day School. The parents learned the many parallels that exist between our Early Childhood and Day School, while also learning about some changes, such as new specials classes, once their child enters Kindergarten. 

Open House

We welcomed many prospective families to see the Gordon School’s amazing program offerings! The morning started off with coffee and treats while prospective families learned more about the Gordon School from the three directors, Rabbi Julie, Jennifer Dvorkin, the School Board Chair, Annette Yellin, a Synagogue Board member, and a former Gordon School student. Afterwards, parents split up with each director to learn more about the three divisions at the Gordon School. We look forward to growing our community. 

Heroes Thanksgiving Breakfast

The Gordon School students honored and thanked local heroes at a Thanksgiving Breakfast on Tuesday, November 26. The school welcomed Commander Ellington, Captain Ortiz, a local Fire Station and Police Officers to eat breakfast with students and families. Students had the opportunity to meet the heroes before breakfast began and thank them for their service. Students read thank you letters aloud to the community leaders and presented class pictures with a thank you note. After the breakfast, the students visited different areas of the school to learn about the many responsibilities of the police officers and firefighters. When a fourth grade student was asked to share her favorite part of the day, she couldn’t choose just one moment, instead noted that her “favorite favorite part was meeting Axel and Claudine”. This was a truly meaningful and informative event for our students! They loved the experience to meet local heroes, learn more about their civic duties and thank them for their service to the community. This was the school’s inaugural Heroes Breakfast. We look forward to continuing this breakfast and creating a new Gordon School tradition.

Give Miami Day

Thank YOU for your donation and support for Give Miami Day! We raised $203,847 and came in among the top place of 760 non-profit organizations in Miami. This could not have been possible had it not been for your love and dedication to the Gordon School!

Why So Much Testing? – Parent Workshop

We had an insightful and informative parent workshop with Dr. Richard Cuenca, head of the Posnack School system. This event provided useful insights into the different types of assessments and the role that they play in education. At the Gordon School, we are dedicated to providing instruction that is both meaningful and challenging. 

We are honored to have the opportunity to support your children’s growth and collaborate with you to develop a solid foundation for learning. A strong parent partnership is an essential element of student success in school. One way that we cultivate this relationship is by sharing our expertise and insights into education with our families.

December 2019

Book Fair 

Our Arctic Adventure Book Fair was on campusMonday, December 16 to Friday, December 20. All divisions came together on Monday to kick off the week with a Read-A-Thon. Students across grade levels read chapter and picture books. Students, especially the ECC Two’s class, were excited when the Pete the Cat made a special guest appearance at the Book Fair. Throughout the week, students visited the Book Fair with their classes to purchase books for themselves and their classrooms. It was an amazing success, with many sales to the students and book donations to each classroom!

Field Trips

Third and Fourth Grade enjoyed an interactive day of STEAM learning at the Young At Arts Museum in Davie. Meanwhile, ECC’s Pre-K classes took their first field trip to Wynwood’s Moonlighter Makerspace to use tools and machinery for making Hanukkah gifts.

Hannukkiot Contest 

Congratulations to our Hannukkiot winners! There were so many amazing, creative menorahs, it’s no wonder there was a tie for the most original hannukiah. From LEGOS to a tree branch to mugs, the materials used were certainly original and creative.

Science Night

With over 30 students, Science Night was a lot of fun! Dr. Richard Cuenca, head of the Posnack School system returned in December to lead a night of innovation. The parents and students engaged in completing over a half a dozen science experiments relating to various science topics. The students expanded a balloon using baking soda and vinegar, created dancing colors on a plate of milk, created slime and slimy worms, and many other experiments. The highlight of the night was when students made it snow in Miami! Students and families enjoyed playing with snow on the field before enjoying pizza and sufganiyot. This is just some of the fun we have here at the Gordon School.

Hanukkah Show

The Hanukkah Show brought me to tears. It was a beautiful send off to winter break. Students in Pre-K through Fifth Grade performed small skits, traditional Hanukkah songs and a parody on Bohemian Rhapsody. As a surprise at the end, three of our talented teachers performed alongside Rabbi Julie in the finale. We are beyond proud of our students’ hard work. We are honored and thankful to have Rabbi Julie lead this wonderful tradition with our devoted Hebrew teacher, Morah Rachel. Thank you to our amazing parents for joining us in this beautiful performance! The students were so proud to show off their hard work and dedication to the ones they love most. 

Throughout The Semester

Weekly Blog Updates

Follow our blog for weekly updates! Learn more about what happens in our classrooms as I meet with students across grade levels and divisions. Students share their interests, likes and plans for the future. I will continue to update the blog with news and pictures of fun events that happen on campus.

Social Media 

If you’re not following us on Facebook and Instagram then you’re missing out on Gordon School’s daily happenings! There are cute smiles and fun times on our social media! 

Shows by Grade

Continuing a Gordon School tradition, students from each grade level perform Friday morning during our weekly Shabbat Assembly. Families are welcome to watch and participate in our weekly assembly. This allows our students to gain confidence in performing and speaking in front of an audience, a lifelong skill they will carry into adulthood. 

Parent Engagement 

We value parent involvement throughout all ages and grades. Parents enhance students’ learning experience. The Gordon School engages all parents through workshops, assemblies, classroom participation and school wide events. Parents are invited as mystery readers and as active listeners of their child’s hard work. Each classroom has a designated room parent allowing for a closer collaboration of community and school events. Beyond the classroom, the Parent Association encourages parents to play a role in their child’s learning. We appreciate our parents!

Mystery Reader

Growth in the ECC

In our continuous effort to grow and offer a meaningful early childhood experience for children and families, the ECC is adding two new classrooms for the second semester of the year! A Toddler One’s and Two’s age classroom are now open for more families and students. We are excited for the opportunity to support families and children for life with meaningful learning experiences. Spanish Immersion will be starting throughout the ECC with Spanish-only classes in vocabulary, phonics, songs, activities and hands-on projects that will support the ever-important development of a bi-lingual brain.

Some Events Coming Up In 2020…

Alumni Panel on January 9th 

Cultural and Heritage Day on January 24th

Generation’s Day on February 14th 

Realtor Night on March 5th 

Schmooze and Booze on March 12th

Annual Gala on April 4th

We cannot wait to reflect next year on all the wonderful accomplishments and events are to come ahead!

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