IT’S OFFICIAL – Strelitz International Academy

November 24, 2019

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Strelitz International Academy—A school wearing many HATs!

You don’t have to be Jewish to love Strelitz International Academy. (Still, it doesn’t hurt.)

Hebrew Academy of Tidewater (HAT) has been recognized as an exceptional learning experience for nearly 65 years. Building on its success in promoting an excellent Jewish and General Studies education, HAT, now named Strelitz International Academy, was recently accepted as an International Baccalaureate® Primary Years Program candidate school. This elevates SIA’s brand as an extraordinary educational program worldwide.

What this means for the local Jewish community, and all parents in Tidewater, is the opportunity for preschool and elementary school-aged children of all faiths to enjoy the benefits of SIA’s project-based learning approach. The Strelitz International Academy focuses on shaping active, compassionate, and lifelong learners, grounded by intercultural understanding and respect.

Heather Moore, Head of School, says, “I am really excited about their global and inquiry-based learning approach. The IB® methodology fits so well with our approach to learning. We implemented project-based learning last year in which students drive their own learning for certain projects. The IB program adds a layer which provides us with an excellent framework to seamlessly apply our inquiry-based learning approach, and the rest of our curriculum.”

HAT’s decision to unite its preschool and elementary school, and rebrand itself Strelitz International Academy was made to reflect the Board of Trustees’ vision and the academy’s new IB status.

“At this time, we are the only IB Primary Years Program in Hampton Roads for both private and public schools,” says David Leon, SIA board president. “This is an exciting time for the school as we start our 65th year.”

To sustain itself and grow, SIA must stay responsive and relevant. The advanced curriculum offers the best of everything academically while universal values makes it appealing to all faiths.

“We have such a broad spectrum of Jewish students from non-observant and interfaith to Chabad, Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform,” says Carin Simon, director of admissions at SIA. “Being open to non-Jewish families interested in learning about Judaism is not a significant change in our dynamic. We will continue to maintain our identity as a Jewish school promoting our values: Kavod (respect), Kehillah (community), Tikkun Olam (Repairing the World) and Torah Lishma (love of learning).”

The IB program starts with three-year-old preschool classes and continues through fifth grade. Due to SIA’s nurturing environment, Hebrew language classes, violin, and specialized science program, SIA graduates are better prepared for middle school. They advance to area gifted programs, IB programs, AP classes, and the area’s top private schools.

Jessica Crawford has two children currently enrolled at SIA. “When I drop my daughters off at school, they are both greeted by name, which is very welcoming. Our kindergartener has learned so much since starting with Strelitz, and in the first two months of school is already learning to read, speak, and spell in Hebrew, and play the violin, among so many other academic and social opportunities Strelitz provides her with. Finally, we value SIA’s excellent communication with Strelitz families, including weekly school newsletters, class updates, and prompt responses to messages.”

In addition, SIA currently has the largest infant care center in Virginia Beach. Today, the Strelitz International Academy is boasting one of its highest enrollments in its history. Parents say they appreciate the opportunity to place their children in the nurturing environment provided at SIA—from infant day care, up to fifth grade.

For more information, contact Carin Simon at csimon@strelitzacademy.org.

Lisa Richmon

Letter to the Editor