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Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year!

Dear Sela Families,

Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year!

I hope the past weeks have provided you with an opportunity to enjoy quality time with your children. While there are still plenty of warm summer days remaining, the start of the 2016-2017 school year is approaching. The first day of school for students is Monday, August 22, 2016. We are ecstatic about seeing the smiling faces of our new and returning students!

First, I would like to thank all of the families that took advantage of the opportunity to share their insights through the end-of-year satisfaction survey sent out in May. I am pleased to report that, overwhelmingly, responses were extremely positive about Sela, with notable praise shared about the caliber and accessibility of our faculty, the safety of our school, as well as Sela’s dual-language immersion program, STEM program, and focus on global awareness. While I was excited to see such a high level of satisfaction about our program, I was also deeply appreciative of the thoughtful and candid suggestions for continued growth. Areas for consideration included expanding our 1-to-1 iPad program to other grades (in addition to grades 1 and 2) and providing additional offerings in our extended learning program. We will continue to distribute the satisfaction survey yearly so that we can continue to provide opportunities for families to share their thoughts about Sela.

A consistent strength across our school is the commitment of our faculty to our children’s social-emotional well-being and academic growth and development. I am ecstatic to report that 100% of our students in Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 have met their end-of-year (EOY) growth targets in the literacy, math, Hebrew language, and social-emotional objectives. Also, 84% of our students in grades K-2 were proficient or advanced in literacy on the EOY standardized assessment and 81% of our students in grades K-2 were proficient or advanced in math on the EOY standardized assessment. In Hebrew, 80% of our students in grades K-2 met the Hebrew language listening and speaking targets.

Our school leadership team has been diligently planning for the upcoming school year. Class schedules, school programming, and our calendar of events are being finalized, and conversations with families and faculty about the upcoming school year are occurring daily.

While life at Sela has been productive and wonderful this summer, the tragic events in other parts of the country and the world that have occurred over the past several weeks have given me pause and darkened a few of our bright summer days. As a school leader and a soon-to-be parent, I know many may look to me for thoughts and possible solutions for how we can support our students as we prepare them to have a positive impact in a world that is truly not equitable, and at times dangerous. I do believe being a part of a community that demonstrates a true appreciation for the feelings of others, a respect of differences, and a willingness to engage in meaningful discussions about those differences in an effort to bring us closer together is an essential component of our efforts to educate our children as we prepare them to be leaders who unite us. Thus, we will be devoting a good portion of our professional development time this school year to deeply exploring diversity (particularly race and equity) in order to better position ourselves to support each other and your children.

We hope you and your children enjoy the remainder of the summer break. We look forward to another amazing school year and welcoming our students on the first day of school, which is Monday, August 22, 2016!

Warm regards,

Natalie Smith, Ph.D.

Head of School

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