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A Note from the Head of School

August 2015
August 2015

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Shalom EPJA Parents,

I want to welcome you and your children back to school for another promising school year at the El Paso Jewish Academy. As we enter the 40th anniversary of our school, I am very excited about all the new things happening this milestone year of our school. The 2015-2016 school year brings with it several new and innovative improvements to our school. First and foremost, we want to welcome the 13 new students and 3 new teachers. For the first time in over 20 years, we are excited to bring back a  Kindergarten class to the EPJA. We can now offer a complete K-8 education to our Jewish community. Nancy Ferro, just retired from 25 years of teaching kindergarten in the El Paso ISD, and Nili Arusi who has been with us as a Jewish educator for over 15 years, will be co-teaching our new Kindergarten. Teresa Thompson, who is certified in gifted and talented curriculum and experienced in teaching both 4th grade Connections and middle school Science Technology in the El Paso ISD, will be our new Grade 4 teacher. Paula Warnock, with a background in engineering and teaching both math and Connections in the El Paso ISD, will teach Grades 4-7 math. She will bring her real world experiences in engineering at Boeing developing our nation's aerospace programs to the EPJA where students can benefit from the "E" and "M" in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). Along with Donald Thompson, who will return for his second year of heading up our Science department and being our technology coordinator, we are furthering our goal of developing an outstanding STEM program at the EPJA. Beverly Given, who launched our gifted and talented program two years ago in Grades 4 and 5, will move with her students to teach the Grade 6 Humanities program. Patricia Crossett will go from teaching Grades 2-3 to Grades 1-2. In addition, all students from Kindergarten through Grade 7 will have a weekly class in the arts under the instruction of our resident artist and fitness ...


December 2014
December 2014

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...

EPJA students and teachers have been actively involved in community service projects. Each month the school focuses on a particular middot or value to encourage students to carry out those values in their everyday lives. Students participated in a Diabetes Walk-A-Thon and raised over $3,000.00. We received television coverage with Maddie Nadler being interviewed about how the money would be used to help rebuild Camp Sweeney.

The Math Club collected Toys for Tots.  The marines were most impressed with how quickly they filled up the box. On December 3, the marines came to personally thank the students and pick up the toys. The Math Club demonstrated their advanced level math knowledge and received an invitation to tour the USMC artillery facility and see trajectory mathematics in action. The field trip is planned for January.

The Student Council is preparing care packages for marines deployed abroad. One of our teachers, Sherry Grinsteiner, has a deployed son in the marines.  In the Judaics classes, students donated money during the month of November to help needy families with Thanksgiving meals.

The students are rehearsing their song and dance routines for the upcoming Hanukkah program on December 17 at the B'Nai Zion Social Hall. Flyers have been distributed to all parents. Please make sure you RSVP by December 8 so we know how much food to prepare.  We hope to see you at the Family Shabbat services at Fort Bliss on Saturday, December 6 at 10:00 a.m. On Tuesday, December 9, our Grades 5-8 students will be treated to a performance/presentation by Sarah Aroeste at 9:00 a.m. in the library. You are welcome to attend.

Progress reports for the second quarter will be going out on December 12.


October 2014
October 2014

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Everyone has heard of the old three r's... reading, 'riting, and 'rithmatic, but the EPJA has the new three r's....rigor, relevance, and respect. The curriculum goes beyond the core subjects of language arts, social studies, mathematics, and science to include Judaics and Hebrew and the teaching of Jewish traditions, values (Middot) and prayers.

The mission of the school is to provide an integrated Jewish and secular curriculum with a nurturing Jewish environment. Under the guidance of our new administration, we are continuing to improve all aspects of the education that we offer. The Academy recently received the highest accreditation ratings in its history from the accreditation agency, AdvancED. This accreditation is recognized nationally and internationally and assures families that their children are receiving the highest caliber of education and are fully prepared wherever life may take them.  Beginning in August, 2013, the school added value to the middle school courses by granting high school credit for algebra I, PE, and foreign language. That was the first year that EPJA graduates entered high school with three years of Hebrew credit, thereby fulfilling both the Recommended High School and the Distinguished Academic Program requirements for the high school diploma.

The Humanities program (which in the public schools is only for the 3-5 percent of students identified as gifted and talented) was launched in 2013 with the Grade 4 class and is continuing  this year with the Grade 5 class. All faculty have had six hours of training in creative and critical thinking which counts towards their gifted and talented certification. Provisions are made for students in lower grades to take upper grade mathematics if placement tests show they are ready for it with the result that some 5th grade students are taking Pre-Algebra normally taken in 7th grade. Provisions are also made to provide in-school tutoring for those students who could benefit from additional ...


August 2014
August 2014
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EPJA is excited to have 9 new students that come from 7 new families, all with very diverse backgrounds and different age groups. For some of these students, attending the EPJA will be the first time that they are introduced to formal Judaic studies and the Hebrew language. It is our goal to warmly welcome these new members of the EPJA family and, along with our returning students, nourish their love for Torah and Israel.

Just as we have focused on improving our top-notch secular program, our Judaic staff has worked diligently over the summer to reinvigorate our Judaics and Hebrew curriculum. Since our students graduate from EPJA with up to 3 high school credits of a foreign language, it is our goal to further improve our Hebrew language program so that our students surpass the expectations of a typical 3-year language program. Clara Levy, who serves as our Judaics advisor, and I bring our 15-year experience with the Mesita dual language program to enhance the Hebrew program. In addition, through continued professional development,  we are improving our Judaics program to explore our extensive Jewish history, establishing a deep commitment to Israel and focusing on living lives based on the values and teachings that are learned through the Torah. We will continue to build on the Mitzvah Tree that we started last year by having a Midah of the month such as Achrayut (responsibility), Derech Eretz (Jewish ethics in daily life and practice), Gemilut Chasadim (acts of loving kindness) and Kavod ( honor, dignity, and integrity).

Along with our new families, we welcome 4 new teachers, all highly qualified  in their respective fields. One of them is a former NASA space engineer who was involved in building the space shuttle. She is already planning a new Math Club and making connections for our students with Johnson Space Center. Another teacher was trained this summer in the Jewish Court of All Times (JCAT) and will be working with 7th and 8th graders as they engage ...


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