December 27, 2017 | By

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On the 7th day of Chanukah, nearly 100 prospective 9th grade students crammed the classrooms and hallways of Shulamith High School, much as candles that evening would completely fill up  the menorah. They were participating in ShulaMEET, a day-long experience of visiting classes, sampling clubs, and meeting up with current Shulamith students, many of whom, serving as student ambassadors, were also guiding and supporting them. For some prospective students, who had already made up their minds that Shulamith is the high school for them, the day confirmed their choice, while for others, who are actively weighing Shulamith alongside other schools, the visit afforded yet another opportunity to take the measure of Shulamith and see what makes its educational environment distinctive.

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The students had previously visited Shulamith on at least two occasions, once for the Open House, where they had experienced abbreviated, simulated classes, and another time for a tour and interview, during which they had briefly observed real classes in action. This time, however, they attended a full morning of actual classes, where they worked alongside the high school students currently enrolled in these courses – brainstorming in small groups, asking and answering questions, writing, drawing, constructing models, and supportively critiquing classmates’ work.

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In STEM class, they learned about design thinking and then put it into practice, building two iterations of chair prototypes for users with particular needs. In Halacha, they read halachot detailing the origins of various fast days and explored the relevance of those reasons in today’s world. In geometry, they wrote proofs of triangle congruence. In Ivrit, they learned a poem about Chanukah, sang it, and then prepared skits in small groups and acted them out. In public speaking, they listened to student monologues based on characters in Wicked and gave warm and cool feedback. In Chumash, they considered, compared, and contrasted perspectives on the burning bush from five different mefarshim and explored the theological message of each. And in AP Psychology, they read about four theories of learning, applied them to challenging parenting questions, and presented their answers to each other.

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Following a full morning of classes, the guests participated in a club of their choosing, selecting from an abundant array of offerings that Shulamith students participate in every week: Chopped, chess, fashion design, basketball, iMovie, dance, Israel activism, STEM, track, and jewelry making.

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Michal Lipsky, an 8th grader at the Shulamith School, enjoyed her day in the high school: “It was interesting to learn about people’s behavior in AP Psychology, and there were a lot of real-world examples. So it was cool to apply it to real life.” 8th grader Meira Goldstein, also from Shulamith, concurred. She particularly enjoyed the Israel activism club: “We discussed all of the politics of Israel. It wasn’t just like sugar-coating it. It was like, this is what’s happening, it isn’t good, but it’s what’s happening. It definitely made me get into a club that I had been thinking about, and now I’m for sure interested.”

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The high school students enjoyed the day and benefited from the encounter, as well. According to 10th grader Aliza Weizberg, a student ambassador for the day, “I really enjoyed interacting with the 8th graders in my Ivrit and chemistry classes and helping them do the same activities we did.”

When 8th grade students receive their high school acceptances in the coming weeks, those who are admitted to the Shulamith Class of 2022 will have not only a good idea, but also fond anticipatory memories of the rich and rewarding education that awaits them.

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