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Beth-El School Happenings

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These photos show some of the Inquiry Action Fair activities on the final day of Religious School.

This past year we have been able to extend our Inclusion Program at the Religious School through the support of a generous grant from the Rachel B. Banks Youth Fund of Richmond Jewish Foundation.

During the previous two school years we focused on making our classrooms more accessible for student with non-neuro-typical learning styles, giving teachers more tools with which to reach a broader scope of Jewish learners in our school.

Over the course of this school year, we used an “inquiry to action” model to have our students find out about disability and inclusion in our Temple Beth El Religious School Community and for them to use critical analysis to assess, and then address issues they notice.

First, they learned about disabilities and how they are represented in books and media. They noticed if representation was present or missing.

Next, they engaged in inquiry by exploring our Religious School. Students identified examples of physical features that could potentially be improved to expand school inclusion, such a lack of ramp to get to the multi-purpose room stage and Braille writing on door labels that are above child height level.

They practiced how to find out what someone wants by asking them questions. This is a great foundation for asking people with disabilities about their preferences before assuming they need specific accommodation or help!

 

We welcomed guest speakers from Sportable, an organization that makes sports accessible and inclusive for individuals with physical disabilities and visual impairments. Sportable representatives came three times to our school, including during our closing program, demonstrating tangibly to students how adaptations for sports are made.

Students learned about diverse ways to take action and planned our own mini-inclusion projects that can make our community more inclusive for people with disabilities.

We offered the students opportunities to submit micro-grants to the Religious School Director. A number of students took the initiative to do so and had their project items ordered. Several projects were particularly insightful.

One group initiative centered on providing noise cancelling headphones for students’ use with chrome books to provide better focusing tools for a noisy classroom.

Another group project proposed providing a comfort space in the school for students who may be needing a quiet place to center emotionally and equip the space with items such as plush animals, blankets or fidgets.

During this year of making critical analyses of our physical space, we also looked at our school’s nature center and low -ropes course. We noted that one structure in particular, our horizontal rope bridge was intimidating for our younger students to navigate both on and off.

Safer access and egress steps and ladders were built for the structure.

Our students learned that Torah calls us to “remove the stumbling block” before others and to treat others with honor as we would ourselves.

They learned they have the ability, not just to understand what our Jewish tradition teaches us, but that they have the ability to act and make changes in what they observe that needs improvement.

Lastly, the students prepared science boards to display their inquiries and proposed solutions for the Inclusion Fair that took place on May 12th, our final day of Religious School.

Their excitement and anticipation was palpable as the day approached. Parents attended the Inclusion fair to see the thoughtful and insightful action projects designed by our students and to hear their presentations.

Additionally, we were all treated to our youngest students (pre-K, K and Grade 1) singing the Song: Building a Better World, complete with their ideas on how to make it a better place for all!

Beth-El Religious School is Hiring!

Seeking teachers for Sunday and Wednesday Religious School. Positions available – Music Specialist, Judaic/Hebrew teachers, and B’nai Mitzvah Tutors.  Teaching salary starts at $25/per hour.

If you would like to be a part of our dynamic team for the 2024-2025 academic year, email Ramona at r.brand@bethelrichmond.org.

Prospective Religious School Families:  TBE school is available for touring.

Considering Religious School for your child?  Our vibrant religious school offers a quality Jewish Education for students in grades Pre-K – 10. Interested in a school tour?  Contact r.brand@bethelrichmond.org

Religious School Registration

Religious School registration for 2024-2025 will open June 24th.

To register visit https://www.bethelrichmond.org/school beginning 6/24/24