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School News

Scheck Hillel Students, Faculty Recognized at Int’l. Tech Conference

Scheck Hillel Community School was represented by some of its youngest engineers at ISTE19: the 2019 International Society for Technology in Education Conference in Philadelphia June 23-26 for nearly 23,000 educators, education leaders and corporate representatives from around the world. The theme, Bold Educators Activate Change, perfectly described Scheck Hillel’s presenters.

Rising first grader Sophie Kravetz ‘31 presented alongside Jake Kravetz ‘26 and Ellie Esquenazi ‘24, as well as faculty: first grade teacher Cheryl Cooper, fifth grade teacher Jenna Kraft and Nancy Penchev, I LAB Instructor and Lower School Technology Coordinator. 

Jake and Mrs. Penchev shared Scheck Hillel’s use of Padlet with about 45 conference participants. Padlet founder and CEO Nitesh Goel praised the presentation and applauded how Scheck Hillel uses his technology: an application to create an online bulletin board to display information and collaborate on any topic. 

Ms. Kraft and Jake welcomed a steady flow of traffic to their poster presentation about leveraging student interest to improve classroom engagement. They showed their use of Minecraft in math, reading and science, as well as examples like Battleship Math, Final Four Math and Oregon Trail. Students and teachers across disciplines were inspired, eager to build upon these ideas in their own classrooms.

Sophie and Jake presented “Robots We Love: Why and How We Use Them.” Sophie was a first-time presenter and Jake was showcasing his knowledge at ISTE for the third consecutive year. “From the coding to the creativity, Osmo, Ozobots and Wonder Workshop loved the sister-brother presentation,” Penchev said.

“I was so happy to share what I’ve learned at school with everyone at ISTE,” Sophie said.

Ellie and Mrs. Penchev shared the astounding success of Scheck Hillel’s Girls Building STEAM program, which teams Lower School students with Upper School mentors to investigate ecological issues specific to the South Florida environment.and received prestigious grants from the Greater Miami Jewish Federation and the The Technology, Education, Research & Redesign Alliance (TERRA, Inc.)
One teacher all the way from Canada gushed about Ellie’s presentation via Twitter: “My favorite part of meeting @eHillel #fashion #sustainable programs, outside of the community supports is that students like #ellietalksSTEAM@iste #ISTE19 are part of securing the grants and leading the interviews #studentvoicematters.” - Luke Persaud of Toronto

Ms. Cooper and Mrs. Penchev featured Scheck Hillel’s social studies lab activities with more than 70 teachers and received tremendous feedback. 

“We made many connections to share our learning with classrooms in Jewish and public schools across the country,” Penchev said.

All three teachers also collaborated to present an interactive lecture with administrators, teachers and leaders about the power of blended learning. 

ISTE is home to a passionate community of global educators who believe in the power of technology to transform teaching and learning, accelerate innovation and solve tough problems in education. Scheck Hillel is honored to participate in and contribute to ISTE’s teaching and learning community. 

About Scheck Hillel’s Lower School I Lab & Design/STEM Curriculum
I Lab is a dedicated space for inspiration and innovation, designed to extend classroom learning in an environment that promotes collaboration and experimentation. In the I Lab, they engage in developmentally sequenced activities focused on STEAM concepts. The I Lab is equipped with 3-D printers, a green screen and a maker wall: a storehouse of re-usable materials that students can use as building blocks to turn their ideas into prototypes.

Students in Kindergarten-Grade 2 explore and create based on topics from their academic curriculum. They first learn coding offline, gradually moving into gaming and robotics coding, and incorporate robots in their social studies labs. Grades 3 and 5 work on coding principles and robotics all year. Grade 4 students embark on a space-themed mission to design, build and code robots. This is part of a CAJE grant linking several area day schools with the Yerucham Science Institute in Israel. I Lab and the science laboratory work hand-in-hand to reinforce curriculum. Grade 4-5 students learn the fundamentals of computer science through a hands-on introduction to programming logic. Once they have mastered the basics of coding, they advance to more complex challenges through code.org and CS First. Students also learn from parent speakers who use aspects of STEAM in their careers. Grades 4 and 5 also visit the I Lab for social studies extended learning.