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It’s official! Based on NAPLAN results, Sholem is once again the top ranked Jewish Primary School for academic results in Australia, for the second year in a row.
In a comparison of results from 2017 NAPLAN testing, Sholem students in Years 3 and 5 (the Year Levels for which NAPLAN testing is done in Primary School) outperformed all of the other Jewish Schools in Australia. Sholem also outperformed its neighbouring local government schools, popular with Jewish students.
That Sholem was able to outperform its higher fee charging counterparts came as no surprise to Principal Helen Greenberg. “As a college that specialises in early years and primary learning, these results were especially pleasing. They vindicate our belief that students’ academic results will be their highest in an environment that is focused on primary school education. Furthermore when you look at the amazing success our graduates have in secondary school, with such a high proportion of them gaining scholarships or admission into selective entry schools, it is no wonder that Sholem is such a sought after destination for young Jewish learners – at a significantly lower cost than its counterparts!”
We now eagerly await the release of this year’s NAPLAN data – hoping that a wonderful ‘threepeat’ is just around the corner!
THE LITTLE SCHOOL THAT ROARED: What have Sholem’s alumni been up to?
It is one thing to blow your own trumpet and proclaim how wonderful you are, but much more satisfying when the validation of your wonderfulness comes from outside sources. Sholem graduates have received accolades and acknowledgement of their achievements; academic, artistic and moral.
Of the class of 2017, some 21 students,
– 3 were awarded academic scholarships,
– 1 a music scholarship,
– 1 a sports scholarship,
– 1 accepted into a select entry zoned public school (from out of zone),
– 1 accepted into a select entry accelerated learning (SEAL) program at a public school, and
– 1 accepted into a Content and Language Integrated Learning (CLIL) program at a public school
The class of 2016, some 27 students, were no slouches either.
– 4 were offered academic scholarships,
– 1 a music scholarship
– 2 accepted into SEAL programs at public schools, and
– 1 accepted into a select entry zoned public school (from out of zone).
At the end of 2017, four students received academic excellence awards, one a music award, and one a derech-eretz (good works) award.
Now, in 2018, six out of seven alumni at one school are in the top maths class.
This is by no means a recent phenomenon – students from previous years have been awarded scholarships, accepted into SEAL programs, accepted into bi-lingual programs and represented Australia at the recent Maccabiah games!
There are of course other achievements, neither academic nor as easily quantifiable. (And it is certain that the above list is not exhaustive.) Some students have gone from small classes of less than 10 students at Sholem to schools with a single year level alone of over 200, and found their place with confidence. They have auditioned and won roles in high school musicals (at schools where only those selected may step on stage). They take part in school life with enthusiasm.
Of course Yiddish has remained a course of study for some graduates too. Those who have chosen Yiddish as a VCE subject have mostly completed it by years 10 or 11, thereby having the benefit of experiencing a VCE subject prior to the stresses of year 12.
Sholem Aleichem College may be a small primary school, but what it does, it does well. Its students leave academically prepared, Jewishly imbued and with self-confidence to take the next steps on their educational journey.
Written by a proud parent of an alumni and two current students
SHOLEM RANKS HIGHLY IN STATE AND NATIONAL BENCHMARKS
Sholem Aleichem College has ranked right near the top of the class at both the state and national levels in recent Australia wide surveys and standardised testing. As published in the Weekend Australian on 1-2 October 2016, Sholem Aleichem College ranked 6th in Victoria for all Primary Schools. The College also ranked as the 16th best Primary School in Australia in terms of Reading, Writing and Numeracy based on NAPLAN scores in Years 3 and 5. Sholem was the highest ranked Jewish School at both the state and national levels.
Principal Helen Greenberg believes in an environment where a child feels safe, secure and happy. “In today’s fast paced, hectic, competitive world, we need to allow our children to be children, to lay the foundations and building blocks for their future learning and gain a love a learning.”
There are many factors for the high rankings, and according to Ms Greenberg it is the combination of a number of elements that lead to the success of the school. “One of the most important factors is of course the skill and commitment of the teachers. As a principal I could not be more impressed by the dedication they show, their professionalism, and the close attention paid to each individual child. As a school we have invested heavily in professional development and current educational research programs. The staff, students and parents are all part of what we call “our learning community” and we strive to remain at the forefront of the rapid changes in education. We highly value the close relationship between the school and parents as we believe learning is a partnership, and above all we see the enthusiasm and love of learning displayed by the students as a vital ingredient in our success.”
Ms Greenberg also goes on to comment that while she is of course “absolutely delighted by the results, which vindicate the tremendous success of our academic programs, they must be seem as only a part of the overall picture at Sholem.”
Sholem positions itself as a specialist in the primary sector and maintains primary years and the early years as its focus. “As a high-quality primary school we place importance on the overall development of each individual child, encompassing not only academic achievement, but also creative and sporting pursuits, community involvement and their personal, social and emotional growth. We know that for a child to be able to achieve to the fullest of their academic ability, they must first feel confident within themselves and feel comfortable within their environment. Once this is achieved, then they can truly soar and reach their fullest potential. An example of this was in our recent school concert, ‘Hairspray’. I was amazed at the confidence that our students displayed on stage, and had to frequently pinch myself to remember just how young these children were to be delivering such complex and demanding roles on stage.’
Looking forward, the school seeks to maintain its high rankings, never resting on its laurels, constantly striving to remain at the forefront of educational progress, but never getting too large that it loses sight of itself as a nurturing, specialist primary school where each child is known, cared for and nurtured as both a unique individual and a valued member of a broader school community.
Principal Greenberg concludes by saying, “above and beyond all of the rankings, the most important thing is to be raising happy children, and if it is any indication, the fact that our parents are constantly struggling to get their children to leave the school at the end of the day amidst cries of ‘I don’t want to go home yet’ is the surest sign of all that we must be doing something right!”