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 STATE OF THE SCHOOL ADDRESS

By: Dr. Cindy Dolgin, Former Head of School July 31, 2017
 

HISTORY - The Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County was established in 1967, the Solomon Schechter High School of Long Island was established in 1994, and the combined entity was renamed, “The Schechter School of Long Island” in 2012. During the 2016-17 school year, the entire community celebrated the 50th Anniversary, with the theme, “Celebrating our Past.  Inspiring our Future.”  The Class of 2017, representing students from Suffolk, Nassau, Queens and Brooklyn, was proud to be the 20th graduating class of our esteemed high school and are now off to top colleges and universities. SSLI remains the only NYSAIS-accredited K-12 Jewish Day School east of Manhattan.

The finest academics in both Judaic and General Studies are the raison d’etre for our existence as a school. We offer the best Jewish and secular education a Jewish child can receive, with co-curricular programs in athletics, performing and visual arts, Jewish and American legal systems, and Tikkun Olam. The proof is in the quality of our graduates who go on to be activists on behalf of the Jewish people, mankind, and a healthier, more sustainable world. At SSLI, Jewish children are prepared to become accomplished and successful in their career pursuits and joyful and responsible within their families and communities. 

 

At SSLI, our students learn to think deeply and critically, and to navigate the world with a level head, good judgement and a strong sense of being part of a multigenerational community that supports them. Our students are firmly grounded in the traditions of the Jewish people and committed to the well-being of the State of Israel. They are loyal and patriotic Americans and are cognitively, emotionally and spiritually prepared to embrace the future.

 

What has SSLI Accomplished this past year?

The 50th year of our school has been a year of which to be proud. Below are but a few of the highlights: 

  • National Moot Beit Din Winners – Two teams of SSLI high school students came home with trophies, one 1st place and one 3rd place, from the national “Rabbinic Mock Trial” competition, held in Houston, Texas. Said the Moot Beit Din Coach and School Rabbi, Rav Yosi Cirlin, “I'm most proud of our students, not because they placed in the competition, but because of their commitment to Torah and to each other. They all worked extremely hard, and treated each other well, with a wonderful sense of humor. It has been so great to advise for the past 3 years. I feel so fortunate to have come on this/these trip(s) with you and to watch you grow and to use such thoughtful application of Torah to real life situations. In my opinion, it's the pinnacle of what studying Torah in a day school can be.”
  • SSLI High School takes Silver Trophy at Young Engineer’s Convention – At the New York Hilton, sponsored by the Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education, over 30 high schools from the Northeast participated. SSLI came in second place in the overall competition, based on the average score of ALL projects submitted per school.
  • Two SSLI High School Engineering Students take Bronze for their project at Young Engineer’s Convention – Two 10th graders in the Bio-Engineering class took home the Bronze Trophy for their invention of a smart shopping cart that scans for price, calories and allergens, while eliminating the need to stand on line to pay.
  • Lower School Computer Programming Champs - SSLI Lower School’s 2 computer coding teams were the only teams in New York State, and the only Jewish day schools in the country, to place in the top ten of the National Computer Coding Competition, sponsored by CodeMonkey. Hundreds of teams from 35 states competed.
  • More about Lower School Computer Programming – For the 5777 school year, computer programming began as early as Kindergarten, thanks to the introduction of Bee-Bots to our curriculum. This system of instruction is a fun way to teach block coding and develops multi-step logic in young minds.
  • Noetic Math National Competition Champs - Noetic Learning Math Contest is a national mathematics contest for elementary students to encourage students' interest in math, develop their problem solving skills, and inspire them to excel in math. More than 32,000 students representing 763 schools across the country took part in this spring’s contest. Three Students from SSLI made the National Honor Role, scoring in the top 10%. One student from SSLI earned the highest score in New York State.
  • High School AP Course Selection Expands – For the first time in SSLI’s history we offered a course in AP Computer Science. Computer Science is now a 2-year sequence for high school Juniors and Seniors, and both are taught remotely by a computer scientist in Jerusalem. AP’s offered this year included: American History, Art History, Biology, Calculus AB, Calculus BC, Computer Science, English Language and Composition, English Literature, Physics 1, Physics 2, and Statistics. In 2017-18, we will also be offering AP Music Theory and AP Psychology.
  • ARTs Awards – Once again, SSLI’s 5th graders dominated at the Annual Arts Competition at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County.  In the Prose category, 2 SSLI students won 1st place. SSLI swept 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the Painting/Drawing category, and also swept 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in the Multimedia Category.
  • Write-Steps K-5 – This past year, a powerful new writing curriculum was introduced in the lower school, grades K-5. Evidence of the magnificent quality of writing covered the walls & bulletin boards of the Jericho campus. 
  • All School Full-Color K-12 Yearbook – For the first time in school history, one yearbook was published as a full-color K-12 memento.
  • ASK Program – After School for Kids has taken off in the lower school with strong participation in sports, chess, theatre, and piano clubs.
  • STREAM DAY – Science, Technology, Research, Engineering, Art and Mathematics were fully explored at the lower school, with assistance from middle and high schools students and faculty. A Maker-Space was constructed for a full day of creating and making. All students in grades 3 through 5 presented their original scientific research without the use of notes, and fielded clarifying and probing questions from visitors to their exhibits.
  • All-School K-12 Evening of the Arts –SSLI’s Evening of the Arts included a full complement of bands and choirs representing each of the 3 divisions. For the first time in the school’s history, our high school Klezmer band performed.
  • Shinshinim Bring Israel to Schechter – As part of Schechter’s partnership with the Israel Center of Long Island, 4 young Israeli emissaries brought Israel to life for our students and faculty at both of our campuses. Two Shinshinim worked each week at the lower school while 2 others worked at the upper school, running outstanding programming from arts and culture to politics, cuisine and security. They are heading home this summer to begin their army service. 
  • SSLI pilots iTalAM, new International Hebrew Language Curriculum – SSLI continues to be the main beta test site for a Hebrew language, Torah and Jewish heritage program. being developed by an Israeli team of 40 language educators, computer programmers, and graphic artists. The developers highly value the quality of teaching at SSLI and the fastidious feedback for debugging and product improvement. On beta tests of student performance, the students in Schechter outperform their peers at the other pilot schools in North and South America and Europe.
  • Five Full-length Theatre Productions – Once again, each division produced an outstanding full-length musical. “Aladdin” in the lower school; “Bye Bye Birdie” in the middle school; “The Mystery of Edwin Drood” in the high school. In addition, the high school’s fall drama, “You Can’t Take It With You,” and the Senior Hebrew language production of “The Troupe” were critically acclaimed.
  • SSLI High School students dominate Youth Leadership in the New York Metropolitan Region and on International Board – United Synagogue Youth (USY) continues to be led by SSLI n the METNY region (NYC, Nassau, Suffolk, Westchester and Rockland) and in the Long Island and New York City divisions. Of a total of 18 Board positions in the region and 2 divisions, 15 of the seats are held by students at the Schechter High School of Long Island. International Vice President positions for Religious Education and Membership are currently held by SSLI Alumni.

What’s Ahead for 2017-2018?

  • B.Y.O.D in Grades 9-12 – “Bring Your Own Device” is coming to SSLI’s High School. All students will have their own laptop or Chromebook, allowing for increased “blended learning.”
  • Entrepreneurship through “Virtual Enterprise International” – SSLI Seniors will be able to opt for a full-year business start-up experience, launching a full-service virtual company and competing internationally for virtual investors.
  • Extended Mathematics Instruction – all students in grades 9-12 will have an additional 73 minutes of math instruction per 6-day cycle, increasing time for review, acceleration, and applied mathematics.

 

Celebrating our Past.  Inspiring our Future

Through a series of special events, and through the publication of our history, “A Thread of Gold,” the Long Island Jewish community marked the 50th year anniversary of the Solomon Schechter Day School of Nassau County, the Solomon Schechter High School of Long Island, and our combined entity, the Schechter School of Long Island. At the Annual Gala, we honored all of the past presidents of the Board of Trustees, and in some cases, their surviving spouses or children. Our legacy lives on throughout our current and future scholars.  We wish “Derech Tzleicha” – well-being on the next steps of your journey – to our recent high school graduates, and we welcome all incoming kindergarteners and their visionary parents to the Schechter LI Family.

 

 

 

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