Below are the materials submitted by The Silver Academy for the 2020 Joint Agency Annual Meeting edition of Community Review, including a State of the Agency report, Award winners, and Board list.
State of the Agency
The Silver Academy 2019-2020 school year was a memorable one indeed! We began our school year by marking our 75th Anniversary. What a remarkable achievement to have continued Rabbi David L. Silver’s vision of a Jewish day school in Central Pennsylvania for 75 years. Thank you to our school founders, board, leadership, donors, supporters, families, students, alumni, faculty, staff, and volunteers. We stand today as a testament to your commitment and support.
Although we were unable to hold our planned community celebration of our 75th Anniversary and we concluded our school year remotely, we had a wonderful year filled with so many lessons, activities, highlights, and memories.
Our students enjoyed a wonderful Back to School Picnic, Scholastic Book Fair, and 100th Day of School hot chocolate party courtesy of our PTO. We hosted guests in the school for our monthly Rosh Chodesh activities, Kabbalat Shabbat, Torah readings, Kid Writing, Soup in the Sukkah, Grandparent and Grandfriend Day, Celebration of Light and Learning, Megillah Reading, and Purim Carnival and BBQ.
Students attended performances of the Harrisburg Symphony and Third Coast Percussion. We hosted the Gretna Theater and Oneg Shemesh for performances and invited our friends from the ELC. Our Middle School students visited Gettysburg National Military Park to conclude their unit on the Civil War and gave speeches to the school as they ran for Student Council. Our students performed at the annual Chanukah celebration at the State Capitol. Students conducted a winter clothing drive for donation within the Harrisburg School District and it culminated in our annual Mitzvah Day where participants donated their hair to Wigs For Kids.
Like so many schools across the country, the conclusion of our 2019-2020 school year presented new challenges that required the collective support, flexibility, and collaboration of the entire Harrisburg Jewish community. As our world faces so many uncertainties during this unprecedented moment in history, The Silver Academy has become more essential than ever in the lives of our students and families. For this reason, it seems fitting that the theme of the 2020-2021 school year is Areyvut: Communal Responsibility.
Areyvut is perhaps one of the most important lessons we can learn from the COVID-19 pandemic, as it teaches our children how the actions of one can affect the lives of many. Communal responsibility is one of the most important Jewish values we can impart on our children; by teaching students to behave not simply in their own best interest, but rather, for the benefit of society at large, we shape them to be the kind of empathetic, compassionate leaders that will shape the future of our Jewish communities.
During these challenging times, areyvut guides the decisions our students make every day, from practicing social distancing, to wearing masks and sanitizing their hands often. These choices have helped our students to build not only their sense of social responsibility, but also their resilience; when faced with a new set of challenges, they have unfailingly adapted to change with bravery, strength, and grace.
But perhaps the greatest asset of The Silver Academy is its ability to provide daily, in-person learning. Silver Academy students study a multitude of subjects in the classroom, from the secular studies of Reading and Math to the Judaic studies of Hebrew and Torah. But unlike so many of our nation’s students, who are currently learning remotely, our students are incredibly fortunate to be able to learn together each day. This year we have the opportunity to educate 58 children and our numbers continue to grow.
One of our school’s guiding educational philosophies is that students learn best not only by reading, listening, and practicing, but also by observing. Each day, our students have the opportunity to learn by watching their teachers, the essential, irreplaceable role models who have such a significant impact on shaping the lives of our children. Observing the actions of teachers, especially as they model areyvut, provides an invaluable impact that simply cannot be captured remotely.
Most importantly, The Silver Academy reinforces our children’s sense of community. During a time when many are suffering the effects of solitude and isolation, students at The Silver Academy are reminded that they are never alone, but rather, one essential part of a greater whole.
Thank you very much to everyone for their continued support of The Silver Academy! Your ongoing enthusiasm and support enables the education and development of our future Jewish leaders.
Samara Sofian Emily Halper
Head of School Board President
Teacher of the Year - Mrs. Kate Carpenter
The Silver Academy is so proud to recognize Kate Carpenter as our Teacher of the Year! At the conclusion of the last school year, Mrs. Carpenter retired after 23 years of teaching at The Silver Academy.
Mrs. Carpenter’s career began at The Silver Academy in 1997 where she brought her peace-based curriculum focused on teaching peace through movement, music, and dance. Mrs. Carpenter had a huge impact on the children in her ability to help them express and control their feelings. She incorporated techniques of the Responsive Classroom and among other things, Kate taught her students to confront issues directly, articulate them clearly, and make "I statements" when speaking to others. She also served as the "Mother Duck" in her class, fiercely protective of her ducklings and their well-being. Her classes would begin the process of Kid Writing in the fall and by spring were writing extensive stories about the imaginary land of Imagica.
During our remote learning environment this past spring, Mrs. Carpenter went above and beyond to ensure her students' needs were being met and keeping them engaged in a new type of learning. We cannot thank her enough for her adaptability and willingness to take on and learn new technologies.
Mrs. Carpenter stands for justice, peace, love, and equality. Her impact on her students has been felt in the Harrisburg Jewish Community for the last 23 years. Mrs. Carpenter is a testament to educators committed to lifelong learning and growth in an effort to be the best possible teacher they can be for their students.
Thank you Mrs. Carpenter - you will be missed!
Parent Volunteer of the Year - Irit Goldman
The Silver Academy is so happy to recognize Irit Goldman as our Parent Volunteer of the Year!
Irit takes on any task asked of her with determination and grace. She enthusiastically answers the call when volunteer opportunities arise and is eager to help wherever she can.
Last year, Irit envisioned, coordinated, and executed The Silver Academy Latke Fundraiser which was a huge success and enjoyed by many in the community. Thank you Irit for your time, talent, and support!
Silver Academy Board 2020-2021
Immediate Past President