Feature Stories

Back to (Day) School


As the new school year approaches, the Ledger checked in with local Jewish day schools to find out about new and exciting programs that will greet students in just a few weeks.


Hebrew High School of New England

300 Bloomfield Ave.

West Hartford , CT 06117

(860) 231-0317


Rabbi Jeremy Bruce, Head of School


New and Notable Plans for the

2016-2017 School Year:

HHNE is growing! Since 2014, the school’s student body has increased 14 percent.

As well as an increase in students from West Hartford, New Haven, and Springfield, Mass., the school will welcome eight boarders in the new academic year, from Boston, Sharon, and other northern Massachusetts communities. This growth, which includes a record 27 applications for this year alone, follows an extensive recruitment and marketing campaign under the guidance of the Partnership for Excellence in Jewish Education (PEJE) Atidenu program.

The academic and Judaic programs continue to expand with an emphasis on integrated curriculum. Combined-faculty teams have been planning a range of integrated units that ensure that our math and science, and English and history curricula align to provide a robust and holistic education. The Judaic program will include a new service-learning component to embed Judaic values and ideals in the students’ everyday Jewish practice.

HHNE judaic class

Judaics Class in HHNE’s Judaic Library

HHNE already offers an extensive range of 10 AP courses and will be expanding college-preparatory opportunities by offering students in the U.S. History classes the chance to earn UConn credits that can be transferred to other U.S. colleges and universities. This follows the appointment of HHNE faculty-member Lorie Zackin as an adjunct instructor of history at UConn.

The Modern Hebrew course is undergoing a significant enhancement with the adoption of the internationally recognized NETA-CET Hebrew-language program. NETA brings Hebrew alive for middle- and high-school students with cutting-edge print and digital media designed for a range of abilities.

HHNE welcomes three new faculty-members in 2016. Rabbi David Fried joins the school from Frankel Jewish Academy in Detroit as a high-level instructor in Talmud and Jewish Philosophy. Aharon Skoglund, a veteran Judaic teacher with over 15 years of experience, will be teaching Torah, Talmud, and music. Our new AP Biology instructor, Zachary Towne, has extensive experience as a cognitive neuroscience researcher and scriptwriter of scientific videos for the PBS Digital Studios BrainCraft YouTube channel.


Heritage Academy Jewish Day School (K-8)

594 Converse St.

Longmeadow, MA 01106

(413) 567-1517


Michelle Konigsburg, Head of School

Special accomplishments or milestones from the 5776 school year:

Group games with Mrs. Kimball-2

Heritage Academy students play group hames in Mrs. Kimball’s class

5776 was Heritage Academy’s 65th Anniversary. It was celebrated in grand fashion with a weekend of festivities including an evening musical concert and a Sunday community wide performance with acclaimed musician and singer, Sam Glaser and the Heritage Academy students.

  • Highlights of the year included the students in grades 2-5 visiting and developing grand relationships with the residents of the Glenmeadow Retirement Community. The students visited them at their home, Glenmeadow, and invited them to Heritage Academy for Thanksgiving, Pesach, and the annual Heritage Academy Grandparents’ Day.
  • Students in grades 7 and 8 had an amazing Israel Study Experience during a two-week trip with their teachers, the Edrys. They returned with a larger appreciation and love for Israel, and their friendships developed and grew. They presented to the rest of the school about their heartfelt, interesting, and outstanding trip.
  • The middle school students used their STEAM abilities and participated in the Ravsak Technion Rube Goldberg International Competition and ranked in the top ten of middle schools throughout the world. Middle school will learn about physics and create a Rube Goldberg simple machine annually.
  • Heritage Academy students had many presentation opportunities throughout the year: weekly Parsha skits, PJ Library themed plays, after school drama club, holiday performances, and educational Powerful Presentations. Heritage Academy students articulate, enunciate, and educate each other and the community. “We are proud of how our students learn, lead, and succeed,” states Amy Kimball, the 2nd and 3rd grade teacher.

New and Notable Plans for the 2016-2017 School Year:

  • The Board of Directors of Heritage Academy in Longmeadow has announced that Michelle Konigsburg has accepted the position of Head of School for the 2016-17 academic year. Konigsburg, has previously been principal at the Solomon Schechter Day School in North Miami Beach,  Fla., educational director at Temple Torah in Boynton Beach, Fla., and Jewish Educator at the Levite Jewish Community Center in Birmingham, Ala. Her appointment follows a national search conducted by the school’s Board of Directors and is based on her broad experience and successful history in developing and leading Jewish educational programs.
  • Rachel Wesley has been named the new Judaic director aiding her talented shlichim and emissaries in all areas of the Judaic curriculum while additionally instructing her kindergarten and middle school classes.

Ari Powers waving the Israeli flag on Yom Ha’atzmaut





Highlights will include:

  • STEM classes for grades 1 – 8 taught by college professor, Paulette Kofsky
  • After school musical theater club directed by teachers, Amy Kimball, Peter Prewandowski, and Kate Saik
  • Community Service Learning “Tikkun Olam” Middle School Program
  • PJ Library events
  • Leader in Me student jobs
  • Intergenerational holiday gatherings
  • Siddur and Chumash presentations
  • Integrated lessons across the curriculum with project based learning
  • New schlichim, the the Makhanians

Heritage Academy is excited for the New Year, New Students, and New Learning!

  • One year 1/2 price tuition incentive available for transferring students in grades 1-8.


Lander-Grinspoon Academy (LGA)

257 Prospect St.,

Northampton, MA 01060

(413) 584-6622


Deborah Bromberg Seltzer, Principal

Ellen Frank, Executive Director


LGA kindergarten students with Andrea Olkin at the Trash Museum in Hartford

LGA kindergarteners on a field trip to the Hartford Trash Museum

Special accomplishments or milestones from the 5776 school year:

  • During the 2015-2016 school year, Lander-Grinspoon Academy incorporated Project Based Learning (PBL) methodologies, which encourage student “choice and voice” by embarking on a PBL intensive week.  PBL is a teaching method in which students gain knowledge and skills by working for an extended period of time to investigate and respond to an engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge.
  • Students and faculty worked collaboratively to come up with the over-arching question, “How can we make our world/community a better place?”  Each teaching team thought about elements of that question which spoke to them, seemed age-appropriate, interesting to their students, and fit in with each class’s larger educational goals.  They then developed driving questions; Kindergarten – “What is the problem with garbage and what can we do about it?” First Grade – “Why and how do people help others?” Second Grade – “How can we get water to where it is needed on Abundance Farm?” Third Grade – “How have those who have gone against gender norms impacted America and Israel?” Fourth and Fifth Grade – “How can we make our school library more diverse?” and Sixth Grade – “How can we teach others about solar energy?” At the end of each unit, classes shared their learning with larger audiences.
  • Two classes received honors at the 22nd Annual Secretary’s Awards for Excellence in Energy and Environmental Education at the State House in Boston. The sixth grade, along with their teacher Becky Lederman, accepted First Honors for their film explaining how solar energy works, “What is PV?” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yfCPJzxZ6HU) which they produced in collaboration with Northampton Community Television.
  • LGA’s Kindergarten and their teacher, Amy Meltzer, also took home Second Honors for their class’s project, “What is the problem with garbage and what can we do about it?” This unit included a trip the Hartford Trash Museum, a visit to the Northampton DPW, and collecting and analyzing the use of trash in the school.
LGA sixth grade at the State House Bosoton

LGA sixth-graders ar the State House in Boston

New and Notable Plans for the 2016-2017 School Year:

  • The 2016-17 school year at LGA will see an increase in technology education and robotics. Thanks to generous donors, students in grades three through six will have one-to-one use of Chromebooks. This technology will be woven throughout the curriculum. LGA’s teachers spent this summer learning how to use technology more effectively. Technology will be used in the classroom in a variety of ways, including: video editing, computer programming, self-assessing with voice recording in Hebrew, internet safety, google classroom, efficient Internet searches, and comparisons of sources. In addition to continuing to learn cursive, students will also learn typing.
  • Thanks to a generous grant from Diane Troderman, students in Kindergarten through grade two will learn robotics programming through KIBO, a robot kit specifically geared to children aged 5-7. KIBO Robots specifically designed for children ages 4-7 have been purchased for Jewish educators in Western Massachusetts for use in their classrooms. KIBO is different from any other robot kit because it appeals to technically minded kids and those who connect more to arts and culture or physical activity.  With KIBO, children build their own robot, program it to do what they want, and decorate it. KIBO allows children the opportunity to make their ideas physical and tangible—exactly what young minds and bodies need. KIBO does all this without requiring screen time from PCs, tablets or Smartphones.
  • Teachers from grades 4-7 participated in a training held at LGA last spring for educators from all of the regional Jewish schools. LGA’s goal is to prepare students for the 21st century and beyond.


Lubavitcher Yeshiva Academy (LYA)

1148 Converse St.

Longmeadow, MA 01106

(413) 567-8665


Rabbi Noach Kosofsky, Principal

Judi Epstein & Stephanie Zolotor,

Education Co- Directors

Lilia Luzhanskiy, Early Childhood Director



Fifth grade LYA students Eyal Ben Naim, Zev Adelman and Michel Gottleib participate in Leadership Day, which is part of the Leader in Me model.

Special accomplishments or milestones from the 5776 school year:

  • Our exciting new Junior Kindergarten began under the direction of Lilia Luzhanskiy, LYA Early Childhood Director in consultation with Ms. Judi Epstein, LYA Educational Co-Director.  This new stimulating program was created to initiate growth and development and was implemented in 2015-16 school year for junior kindergarten students. Parents and students are thrilled with the curriculum that focuses on the individual needs of the children and addresses literacy, mathematics, physical education, science, technology, social studies and the arts.
  • Last summer, LYA made a commitment to pursue compliance with the Zekelman Standards, which revolutionized the school’s approach to its Judaic curriculum and provides benchmarks for Chumash in 1-8 grades.  Rabbi Chaim Kosofsky, Judaic Development Coordinator was selected to research and collect materials to develop resource materials for the Judaic program. Judaic staff meets regularly to network and brainstorm new ideas for the classroom.  Based on the first year’s implementation and ongoing assessments, LYA students have seen tremendous growth and consistent improvement in their studies.
  • LYA updated the technology with the purchase of Smart boards and Chrome books for all middle school students.  All students in grades k-5 have access to tablets, which are integrated into Judaic and secular lessons.  The new technology was made possible through generous private donors and the support of LYA PTO.  LYA plans to further develop its technology program, which continues to enhance the school’s NEASC accredited standard based secular and Judaic studies curriculum.  LYA invites the community to view its new school video on www.LYA.org that highlights the advances in technology that are occurring at the school.
  • Tuesdays have become a very busy place at LYA with the inception of after school clubs, organized by the LYA PTO.   The committee researches different club ideas and organizes surveys for the parents and students. Students enjoyed basketball with Dr. Steve Sobel, art with Liz Woosley, dance, Zumba and karate. The clubs are an excellent example of how parents are taking upon themselves leadership roles at LYA.



Early Childhood students enjoy the music and movement during LYA’s rhythmical Hebrew program.

New and Notable Plans for the 2016-2017 School Year:

  • KIBO robotics is coming to the Early Childhood program at LYA. Directing the robot teaches children sequencing and code, important skills for math and literacy.  Using KIBO offers children the opportunity to ask questions, imagine, plan, create, check results, and make adjustments.  KIBO will be used in the early childhood and early elementary grades across the curriculum further enhancing the technology component at LYA. LYA is especially grateful to Diane Troderman for her leadership in bringing another wonderful program to our community.
  • LYA is planning its tenth Israel Experience in February of 2017 for its seventh and eighth grade students.  Since this is a milestone trip, LYA plans on including the greater Western Mass. community on the trip.  Students will be collecting notes that they will personally place in the Kotel while in Israel.  This will allow LYA to thank the community for their support in assisting the school to bring students to Israel.


  • The growing LYA Early Childhood will be focusing on Movement and Music this year.  Under the direction of Lilia Luzhanskiy, the staff will bring more music into the program.  Students will be introduced to various instruments and will work on creating a mini musicians band.  Field trips to the symphony will round out the curriculum.  This will complement the exciting rhythmical Hebrew program already in place.
  • LYA continues to use the Leader in Me model and plans on re-training all staff in August in the use of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.  In addition to experiencing a rejuvenation of the model, this training will allow staff to explore more ways to integrate the Leader in Me into all parts of the day at LYA. An example of this integration occurred last year when LYA held student led conferences in the spring for middle school students.  Students met individually with teachers to plan for the conferences and complete information based on their successes, strengths and areas for improvement.  The feedback from students, parents and staff was extremely positive and LYA plans to continue to use this model.




50 Pamela Road

Framingham, MA 01701

(508) 620-5554


Rav-Hazzan Scott Sokol, PhD, Head of School

metrowest gala

Rising 5th graders at last year’s MetroWest Day School’s Gala fundraiser.

Special accomplishments or milestones from the 5776 school year:

  • This past year, students settled into MetroWest’s new home on Pamela Road.
  • Metrowest also expanded its program to include pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.

New and Notable Plans for the 2016-2017 School Year:

  • MetroWest Jewish Day School is implementing a new math curriculum called Math in Focus, using the Singapore Math Method. MWJDS teachers have been working on professional development and lesson planning during the summer and we are eager to introduce Math in Focus to our students this fall.
  • Metrowest computer

    Rising MetroWest 3rd graders working on a project together using a MacBook laptop.

    In addition, MWJDS is expanding its ChromeBook program to build on last year’s successes. In 2015-2016, MWJDS purchased ChromeBooks for all of the students in grades 5 through 8 so that each student could have access to a ChromeBook computer for their academic work through out the day and at home. This year we are expanding the ChromeBook program to all students in grades 3 through 8. Students also have access to Google for Education. This program gives our students access to all of the Google Apps, such as Docs, Sheets, Gmail and Google Classroom both at school and at home. Our teachers and our parents have been thrilled with the results, as most homework has been made electronic and has improved collaboration and communication between students, teachers, and parents.

  • This year, we have also expanded our technology to have a 1 to 1 ratio of devices to students so that computers are available for all of our students when they need them.
  • We will be hosting an Open House on Sunday, September 25, from 2-4 p.m. Together we engage, we inspire, and we excel.



Beit Ahavah celebrates 20 years in Northampton
Shanah Tova
Western Massachusetts Celebrates Israel@70!

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