Several members of the staff from HANC’s Samuel and Elizabeth Bass Golding’s Elementary School in West Hempstead participated in the Hidden Sparks Annual Retreat which was held at the Jewish Heritage Museum in Manhattan. Hidden Sparks is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to help children with learning differences reach their full potential in the classroom as well as in life. Hidden Sparks develops and supports professional development programs for Jewish day schools to help increase understanding and support for teaching diverse learners so that they can reach their full potential. This yearly retreat enables all Hidden Sparks participants and coaches to learn and work together as well as share experiences with each other.
HANC’s Elementary School has participated in the Hidden Sparks training program for five years, where staff members have been trained to become internal coaches under the leadership of Hidden Sparks external coach extraordinaire, Dr. Sara Reichman. Through a combination of training courses, plus regular meetings with Dr. Reichman, the teachers are now trained in coaching other colleagues and collaborating with them to develop expertise in creating learning opportunities for each child that will address their social, emotional, or learning differences and enable them to achieve success.
At this year’s retreat, two members of the staff were invited to participate in a panel discussion on how their school is planning to sustain the Hidden Sparks model once the five-year training program has concluded. Barbara Deutsch, associate principal of HANC Elementary School, explained that the Hidden Sparks coaches now meet monthly to discuss issues of concern. This Professional Learning Community examines the children’s learning styles and works together on creating lessons that will enable each child to operate at his/her maximum performance ability in a safe and nurturing environment. Mrs. Nancy Greenberg, HANC’s internal coach coordinator, described the impact that Hidden Sparks has had on the school. “It has changed the way we approach and respond to our students, and has made us more reflective and sensitive educators. The camaraderie and shared ideals have helped us navigate the often challenging moments of teaching.”
The teachers and administrators who attended the retreat found it to be enlightening and enriching, and returned with many new ideas to institute in their classrooms. This year’s contingent from HANC included Barbara Deutsch, Nancy Greenberg, Rivka Goldson, Rebecca Nenner, Barbara Hollander, Miriam Ross, as well as Rabbi Kalman Fogel, principal of HANC’s Elementary School in Plainview, whose staff has just embarked on a five-year training course with Dr. Reichman.
The Hurricane Café at HANC High School
HANC High School students are ending a successful fall semester on a high note and are eagerly looking forward to winter break. In order to lessen the stress of students during their midterms, on Wednesday, January 8, the Student Senate ran their annual Hurricane Café, giving out free coffee, tea, and hot chocolate. This was a great way for students to relax a little as they studied diligently before their exams. Students truly appreciated the student senators’ efforts to help ease their anxieties surrounding midterms.
All In On HANC High School Girls’ Retreat 2019
The HANC High School Girls’ Retreat took place on Shabbat Parashat Vayeishev, December 20–22, at the Heritage Hotel in Southbury, Connecticut, and once again proved to be a highlight of the year so far. Students bonded with peers and teachers and felt an enhanced sense of closeness and connection that the Shabbat experience often brings. The achdut and spirit that the girls exuded was palpable throughout Shabbat and has definitely carried over into school for the week of Chanukah. Retreat 2019, which was attended by almost every single girl in the high school, is certainly a memorable experience which will have a long-lasting impact on all who joined.
The theme of the Retreat was “ALL IN,” and was brilliantly woven through the entire weekend. From Friday’s adventure of See-Run-Build to the grade onegs to the unifying motzaei Shabbat kumzits, the girls took part in inspiring activities and workshops.
The girls were joined for Shabbat by renowned guest speaker Mrs. Jackie Bitton. Her personal story and message captivated and inspired the students, through her engaging talks on Friday night and following seudah shlishit, as well as in an interactive session for the seniors.
The beautiful singing of zemirot led by the heads of chorus, the student-delivered divrei Torah, the workshops conducted by their own HANC faculty and their spouses, and the participation of many teachers’ families, all came together to create an uplifting Shabbat atmosphere.
On motzaei Shabbat, the girls participated in the HANC’s Talent Show, in which many of the students displayed their unique talents on stage, featuring a dynamic performance by the girls’ dance team, individual acts in song and dance, and an entertaining senior video. The entire show was skillfully coordinated by seniors Sarah Ziegler and Sarah Rafael.
Following a delicious melaveh malkah, the students geared up for a spirited chagigah. Led by energetic and dynamic HANC alum (‘98) Naz Aziz, of “iMove with Naz,” the girls danced and sang with incredible excitement and enthusiasm, resulting in a truly spectacular chagigah, followed by an uplifting kumzits. The connections that were created over Shabbat were evident in the way the students danced in unison.
The girls boarded the buses with newfound friends and reinvigorated appreciation for their school, Shabbat, and their teachers. A huge thank you to faculty members Mrs. Leigh Henoch and Mrs. Nomi Zanjirian for spearheading the entire Shabbaton. Kudos to Mrs. Jackie Raofim and Mrs. Rebecca Gordon for all their expertise in organizing the event. Shout out to senior retreat heads, Ali Lenefsky, Stephanie Hoch, and Avital Mahgerefteh, for making this event a huge success.
Museum of Jewish Heritage
The eighth-grade students went to the Museum of Jewish Heritage in Manhattan in preparation for the Names, Not Numbers© Holocaust program. After the students arrived, they received a wonderful introduction from Dr. Paul Radensky, educational director at the museum. Dr. Radensky questioned the group on their knowledge of the Holocaust. Next, the students were split up into different groups, with each group assigned their own tour guide. The tour was informational and incredibly poignant for the students, who will be interviewing Holocaust survivors later this year. As the groups were taken to different floors, the information featured pre- and post-Holocaust stories and real artifacts. There were so many meaningful exhibits, including one which showed the actual structures of Auschwitz. There was one exhibit which featured a red shoe. This was most significant for the students because it reinforced the human nature and loss in the Holocaust. Many of the Jews lost were the same age as these eighth-graders.
After the tour, there was an activity where the eighth-graders were shown an “artifact” (picture) and they connected it to a part of Jewish resistance during the war. Overall, this was a meaningful and imperative introduction to the Names, Not Numbers© Program.