Category: News Archive

ATT Mechanchim Kollel

ATT is excited to announce a pilot program that started after Pesach. Over the last two summers, ATT ran a very successful summer Kollel with Rabbeim from the day school community. In an attempt to build from that program and its success, the ATT partnered with Rabbi Steinmetz, Rav of Kehillas Meor Yisrael in West Rogers Park, to create an afternoon Mechanchim (Educators) Kollel. There are 10 Rabbeim learning each weekday afternoon, Monday – Thursday, 4:00-6:00pm.

In addition several times a month, the Rabbeim attend required professional development (PD) sessions providing them with skills and information enabling them to grow in their profession. ATT Superintendent, Rabbi Avrohom S. Moller, is overseeing the PD courses offered.

ATT looks forward to introducing more programs like these to positively impact the educators of our community.

REACH Hosts Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) Tier 2

REACH hosts over 40 educators, therapists, and administrators gathered for a 3-day intensive Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) Tier 2 training hosted by REACH. Facilitated by Master Trainer Jordan Spikes of Think: Kids, this advanced concepts training course aims to further develop skills at all phases of the Collaborative Problem Solving® approach. It, additionally, enhances implementation in the real world.

Participants deepen their skills by learning strategies for using the approach in the most challenging situations using real-life examples from their experiences. Attendees, from across the spectrum of the Chicago Jewish community, engaged in meaningful learning and practice together.

Community raises $750,000 for REACH

Thanks to the generosity of the Chicago Jewish community, as well as supporters outside of Chicago, the REACH team raised an unprecedented amount of money in only 30 hours on a Causematch campaign. Nearly 400 donors, matched by several generous REACH donors raised $750K for REACH. We at REACH, as well as at the ATT staff are humbled and grateful for the generosity of the community that we serve.

REACH is Chicago’s coordinated effort to build Jewish day schools’ capacity to support students with a wide range of needs in an inclusive way. Our vision is to ensure that all Jewish students can attend the Jewish day school of their choice.

Executive Director Julie Gordon, MA says, “REACH has had unprecedented growth, and these funds will enable us to sustain the high quality services we provide.”

These services include the following:

  • Direct services to students
  • Partnering to develop best practice systems, strategies and protocols for the needs of each specific school
  • Professional development, training and coaching 
  • Community collaboration

Thank you to the families who laid the foundation for the REACH program to grow and have such an impact on our day school community: 

  • Oscar A. & Bernice Novick
  • Crain Maling foundation
  • The Walder foundation
  • Rabbi Morris Esformes
  • Gayle (z”l) and Eric Rothner
  • Robert and Debra Hartman
  • Robinson Family Foundation
  • The parent body that spearheaded the growth of REACH led by the Broner and Sheinfeld families. 

One of the most exciting parts of running this online campaign was hearing the stories that came in from our teachers, parents and partner schools.

Thanks to the generosity of hundreds of donors, REACH has the ability to continue doing the important work of ensuring that every Jewish child has the opportunity and tools they need to succeed in the day school of their choice. When one child in our community is empowered, our whole community is lifted up.

REACH is an affiliate of the ATT and a partner with JUF in serving our community. Learn more about REACH here.

2023 ATT Awards Presentation and Annual Meeting

The ATT thanks the community for its enthusiastic support of its 2023 Awards Presentation and Annual Meeting, An Evening with the Stars, held May 17th. Close to 300 people gathered together to honor ATT students as they received various awards and scholarships. Following the presentations the celebration continued with more photo ops of the awardees and delicious refreshments.

Big Breakthrough for ATT Schools and Title I Funding!

Due to the efforts of the ATT, and specifically those of Mrs. Chani Friedman in representing the Chicago Orthodox Community’s Day Schools, ATT is happy to announce that students who live in the Peterson Park area are now eligible to receive Title I services in their school!

What does this mean? Students who live in Peterson Park (Solomon School District) now generate Title I funds and are eligible to receive resource help across our schools.

Increase in Title I Funding — CPS (Chicago Public Schools) designates federal funds for use by private schools within public school districts. There are different types of federal funds, each with specific rules regarding the generation of funding for a private school. That means every student can potentially generate money for his/her school to use in arranging support services for students. Title I funding is specifically designated for students who need academic help in school. Previously, students in Peterson Park were not counted as students who generate Title I funds. Now, however, due to ATT’s persistent efforts and advocacy, over 500 additional elementary school students in our Jewish day schools are now eligible to be counted towards receiving these CPS funds. That means potentially hundreds of thousands of additional dollars becoming available to use by our schools!

Increased Eligibility — ATT has advocated on behalf of our students that everyone, regardless of where they live, should be eligible to receive resource help if they need it. Today, we are one step closer. Due to this breakthrough, hundreds of students who may have been struggling in school and yet were not able to receive services due to the fact they live in Peterson Park have now become eligible for services such as one-on-one Instruction, academic coaching, school counseling and more.

How did this happen? — Mrs. Chani Friedman, ATT’s Government Funding Liaison, is an expert on CPS rules and federal regulations. Mrs. Friedman realized that although non-attending private school students living in Peterson Park (Solomon School District) do not affect the overall poverty level which decides a public school district’s eligibility to receive Title 1 funding, these students can still tip the scales due to details in the mathematical poverty index formula. While others may have admitted defeat years ago, Mrs. Friedman continued to diligently provide Peterson Park student data to CPS in hopes of one day tipping the scale. That day finally happened last week as the numbers finally added up! This was a breakthrough for our students and schools and showed the power of unified advocacy on behalf of the community. Through Mrs. Friedman’s efforts in pooling the data of students across the Chicago Orthodox Jewish Day School system, ATT was finally able to tip the scale and achieve eligibility for students living in Peterson Park. The other Chicago school districts where ATT students live already have been recognized as Title I attendance areas due to ATT advocacy many years ago. This now completes the picture and will allow for added services for more students.

ATT has always been focused on maximizing the funds and services available for all of our schools and students! We thank Mrs. Friedman for her steadfast efforts for our day school community.

ATT event honors teaching excellence

Nearly 500 educators, community members, friends and lay leaders gathered on Tuesday, February 21 to make this year’s ATT celebration of educators an inspiring evening celebrating Jewish education in Chicago.

At the event held at the Ateres Ayala Simcha Hall, the Hartman Family Foundation Educator of the Year Awards were presented to the following outstanding educators:

Mrs. Malka Loterstein, (Arie Crown Hebrew Day School)

Rabbi Ephraim Kletenik (Yeshivas Tiferes Tzvi)

Mr. Chaim Safier (Hillel Torah North Suburban Day School)

The award and selection process are designed to highlight the outstanding and innovative efforts of our educators. The ATT and Hartman Family Foundation hope that through the awarding of this prize not only three of the most outstanding teachers in Chicago are recognized, but the award also further elevates and ennobles the entire profession in the eyes of our community.

Awards are selected by a committee of educational consultants and community members. Selection criteria for the Educator Award include exceptional instructional skills in a nurturing environment, commitment to one’s students’ success, superior communication skills with parents, students, and peers, commitment to continued professional development, and contributions to one’s school’s learning community.

Mrs. Loterstein’s award is sponsored in memory of Gayle Anne Herwitz. Watch a video featuring her contribution to day school education below.

Watch a video featuring Rabbi Kletenik’s and Mr. Chaim Safier‘s contribution to day school education below.

The evening concluded with an auction for RebbeimMoros, and Teachers only. The ATT looks forward to continuing to find ways of showing our hakoros hatov to all of the dedicated educators in our city.

The program also highlighted ways the ATT team are proud to support teachers, administrators and students.

The ATT has over a 90-year history of supporting Chicago Jewish day schools.

Thank you to the ATT staff and lay leadership who made this year’s annual dinner such a success.

Midwinter break update

In recent years, many ATT schools have scheduled midwinter break in January to provide teachers and students a well-deserved break during the long winter. Each school has important considerations regarding which week is scheduled. Unfortunately, this past January break presented challenges for families and teachers who have children in multiple schools.

At a recent ATT Principals Council meeting, the principals agreed to prioritize the communal need for a coordinated midwinter break, and therefore, resolved to implement a uniform calendar for 2024 in which midwinter vacation will be scheduled during the week after Martin Luther King Day is observed.

We acknowledge and applaud this decision and appreciate the effort made by our schools’ leadership to accommodate this communal need. 

Please note that this will not change the school schedules in schools that do not have a January midwinter break.

Safety summit for schools

On January 25, 25 administrators and staff from eight ATT schools gathered for a half-day “mini-summit” focused on abuse prevention and safety in our schools. ATT, JCFS and Upward Community have partnered creating a coalition of Chicago organizations that will continue to improve practices and education in our community about this important topic. The partners each bring resources and experience in this field including relationships with national organizations that have expertise which can be accessed by our schools. 

The facilitator for this session was Shira Berkovitz, Esq., the CEO of Sacred Spaced, a national organization that has developed hiring resources, policies, and practices, called Aleinu. These are used in hundreds of Jewish institutions, schools, and shuls, and they are now available to our schools with ongoing support.

The participants had an opportunity to hear what a fully implemented system of abuse prevention looks like. They looked at some case studies and discussed several practical aspects of prevention and responses to incidents. The main point was to continue this renewed effort in all of our schools and to empower our schools through best practices and education so that they can enhance their current student and parent education and safety practices.

This effort is a continuation of ATT’s longstanding role in the “Safer Schools” initiative which is support by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago. ATT and its partners will be reaching out to each school individually to follow-up on this event and to make sure that this area of school practice remains highly visible and updated.

Raising Committed Children

In November, 200 attendees joined the ATT for their 36th Annual Rabbi Isaac Mayefsky Memorial Lecture featuring the captivating speaker, Rabbi Ephraim Eliyahu Shapiro. His presentation, Raising Committed Children in a Materialistic World, focused on strategies for effective parenting. His practical suggestions to help parents and teachers keep children focused on Torah values and stay firmly rooted and committed to Hashem, each other and themselves included:

1. Parents, day schools and Yeshivas need to make the home/place of learning a haven filled with Torah values where our children can connect to Hashem and grow and bond with each other. 

2. He defined the word אלה as our reason for being, our goals, our exuberance, and pride in accomplishment. And then questioned, “What would our children say about our אלה, since our actions will influence them as they grow and mature into Torah committed Jews.

3. Steps to connect spiritually with one’s children. 

  • Show undivided attention by shutting out all distractions when interacting with them.
  • Never underestimate the power of prayer. Daven to Hashem for help in this endeavor. 
  • Speak in a way that the child understands.
  • See things from the child’s perspective.
  • Use recreational compatibility to bond with one’s child.
  • Show your child your warmth and emotion. Let them know how much you care – that you are always accessible – and that you mean it! 

This lecture is part of the ATT’s expanded program designed to address the challenges of creative teaching and rewarding parenting.  Over the years, it has become an excellent resource for parents and teachers of children of all ages.  To listen to the presentation, click here.

Summer learning kollel for professional development

Fifteen rabbeim from across ATT schools recently gathered together at Congregation Adas Yeshurun to learn Torah for the second annual ATT Summer Kollel. The program took place in the evenings for three weeks and in the day time as well for two weeks.

The kollel includes Torah learning as well as professional development to learn best practices in teaching Judaic studies.

For the Torah learning portion, participants were able to delve deep into topics like the laws of shemitah and cooking on yom tov. The program gives teachers an opportunity to review material and network with educators in schools across the Jewish day school system.

Rabbi Dovid Greenberg says interacting with colleagues enhanced the experience. “It was an opportunity to hear ideas from the presenter and interact with our colleagues.”

The teachers also learned about the concepts of Universal Design for Learning to create a learning environment where every student can succeed. Teachers gained specific tools for activating student knowledge and processing information after students have completed a lesson. They also looked at different ways to make use of chavrusa learning, supporting students at every age to collaborate with their peers.

One participant, who wishes to remain anonymous, says, “I have found the educational instruction of this program to be very beneficial. Although I’ve been a rebbi for many years, I am sure to gain from the professional insights and ideas that were presented. Thank you for bringing in Rabbi Binyomin Segal who gave a great demonstration on how to prepare class lessons…Also, although we’ve already been using the chavrusa system in our classrooms, Rabbi Gold’s showing us how to do it successfully was very insightful and helpful.”

Connecting with colleagues in different schools to learn Torah and to gain new teaching skills led to insightful conversations around classroom practice as well.

The program will continue in some capacity so that rebbeim can work more together on Gemara instruction throughout the coming school year.

The  participants left the program with renewed motivation to enhance instruction.