Parent Handbook

B’ruchim Haba’im ברוכים הבאים

Welcome to our Learning Community


First day of classes 2016-2017 is Sunday, September 11

Please join us for an assembly and the consecration of our new kindergartners at 11 a.m. and a family bbq at noon.



Educational Philosophy of the Learning Community

In the Book of Proverbs, there is a profound statement: “Educate a youth according to his path, so that when he is old he will not stray from it.” Here, we try to put that statement into practice: we try to find out what will help each child succeed, so that our educational process has a long-term impact on each student. Our goal is to make Judaism accessible, meaningful, and relevant for our students and families.


Schedule of Classes

            Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade:  Sundays, 9 a.m. to noon.

            Grades 2 through 7*: Sundays, 9 a.m. to noon & Wednesdays, 4:30-6:15 p.m.


Curriculum Highlights

Pre-K, K, and 1 learn Hebrew letters and vocabulary, developmentally appropriate stories and activities from the Torah, Prophets, and Writings, explorations of holidays, Israel, Jewish rituals and Jewish values.

Grades 2-6 continue learning about all of the topics touched on in earlier years, but begin to more deeply develop their Hebrew reading and writing abilities, as well as their understanding of and facility with prayer. They continue growing their Hebrew language abilities as well through Hebrew Immersion with experienced faculty. Project-based learning, experiential education, and hands-on activities make our classes engaging! Additional focal points include blessings through the Jewish Calendar in Etgar Yesodi for third grade, Jewish identity and life cycle in Etgar Yesodi for fourth grade, Jewish Holidays & Jewish Values for fifth grade, and Modern Israel for sixth grade.

Grade 7 has B’nai Mitzvah Club on Sundays from 9 to 9:30 a.m., where students can receive help preparing their Torah and Haftarah readings and mastering the blessings and other parts of the service. Seventh graders also learn about life in pre-WWII Europe as well as the Holocaust. Their curriculum also has a unit on Jewish values connected to the environment. Sunday mornings from (9:00) 9:30 a.m. to noon, and Wednesdays from 4:30 to 6:15 p.m.

Specialties: All students have art, music, technology (iPads, laptops, and Smart Boards), and other special programs throughout the year.

Special Needs

We welcome children with differentiated needs into our classrooms. An Opening the Doors specialist works with students who have learning challenges and/or special needs, as well as with their teachers and madrichim on methods of inclusion and integration, as well as differentiated learning. Opening the Doors is a program of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit.

Students who need a teen buddy/shadow are provided with one at no cost to the family. These madrichim are specially trained to work one-on-one with students with special needs, and often work with the same child for multiple years. In cases where an adult paraprofessional is needed, please contact the office to discuss arrangements and costs. If the Learning Community determines that your child’s needs are best met via an adult paraprofessional, we will be in touch with you.

We request that if an IEP or 504 plan (or similar) exists, that families provide those to us so that we can aim to achieve the same benchmarks and understand the specifics of your child’s needs.

Involvement of Clergy

In addition to visiting classes to teach new melodies, explore prayers, teach varying topics, and answer student questions, our clergy rotate through our Wednesday afternoon mincha service and attend as many of our programs as possible. Clergy are actively involved and play an integral role in our classes and family education programs.

Family Education

Throughout the year we offer engaging and meaningful learning opportunities for families. Family education experiences are related to the curriculum, and parents learn alongside their children and their children’s teachers. Information is sent home well in advance of any program geared to your family; dates, however, are already on the calendar.

Parent & Adult Education

In addition to family education programs by grade, we offer ongoing adult education and learning for parents.

Finally, classes and programs for adults often take place on Sunday mornings, including Rabbi Bergman’s hamakOHM class, Rabbi Shere’s Bereavement Group, classes focused on upcoming holidays and celebrations, and more. Tell us what you want to learn, and we will do our best to make it happen!



Your children will receive all materials from which to learn during the year. Most of these materials are given on loan and will remain in the classroom. However, Hebrew textbooks and, in come classes, journals, are your child’s to keep. In the event that a student loses a book and needs a replacement, these will be charged at cost. Replacement Hebrew texts are approximately $20 each, and replacement journals are approximately $8 each.

Wednesday Homework Room

Students are invited to come on Wednesdays at 4 p.m. to get their schoolwork done in a supervised room — or to get extra Hebrew help — with our experienced teen madrichim.

Wednesday Tefillah Kehillah Mincha

Every Wednesday at 4:30 we will begin with a fun, engaging afternoon service (mincha) in the Youth Lounge. Our clergy will join us for a short service before we go into our regular classes, and we hope to offer students a great way to not only become familiar with weekday liturgy, but also lead services and connect with our clergy and educators.

Sunday Tefillah

Every Sunday morning, we begin with an all-school havdalah service and tefillah (shacharit) in the Youth Lounge.

Youth Engagement (Youth Groups)

Helping your children feel a connection to other kids and the Adat Shalom community is one of our goals.. Events such as Sunday afternoon youth group activities, Kids’ Night Out, Kids’ Afternoon of Fun, Volunteer Day and other programs create opportunities for your kids to foster friendships that could last a lifetime. 

Snack Shuk

For $.50-$.75 per item, students may purchase a snack and/or a drink on Sundays or Wednesdays before school. Please note that there is an item limit: students may purchase no more than one snack and one drink per day. If your child needs more than that, please send a snack from home.

Bagel Orders

Plain bagels and juice/water will be available by pre-order. Limited numbers of bagels will be available in the snack shuk on Sundays and Wednesdays for 75 cents each. If you want to make sure your child has a bagel, please order in advance. During the first week of school, we will have plenty of bagels and other snacks available for purchase before the pre-orders are processed.

What to Wear?

Hands-on experiential education can be messy. Please send your child in comfortable clothing that can be washed. We have smocks for art projects; you may, however, choose to send a long-sleeved smock specifically for your child to use. Please make sure jackets and sweatshirts are labeled with your child’s name.

Boys are expected to wear a kippah to class; girls may if they so choose. We have extras in the office, but have found that children tend to prefer a special one of their own that they have selected. Teens and Madrichim who have already become bar or bat mitzvah are encouraged to bring tallit and/or tefillin on Sundays.

Supplies for Pre-K, Kindergarten, and 1st Grade

  • Tik (school bag) — We will provide one for you! This year, everyone is receiving a brand new backpack style bag! Please make sure it is labeled with your child’s name, and bring it to school every Sunday. Remember to check the enclosed folder for important papers and communication.
  • Optional Kosher (dairy or parve) & NUT FREE snack or money for a snack and a drink.
  • Money for tzedakah (we recommend $.10 to $.25 per class).

Supplies  for Grades 2 through 7

  •  A pencil or two (we have extras)
  • Optional kosher (dairy or parve) & NUT FREE snack or money for a snack and a drink
  • Money for tzedakah (we recommend $.10-.25 per class)
  • Tik (school bag).
  • Limited bags are available for purchase in the office in the event that you lose yours. These extra bags are $5 each.

What NOT to bring:

Cell Phones: If phones must be brought to school, they must be turned off during class and left in a bag. In the event of an emergency during school hours, please call the office at 248-626-2153 and we will relay the message and/or bring your child to the phone.

Valuable items/Toys: We cannot take responsibility for lost loved or valuable items. Please don’t take the chance! Please leave your personal technology at home. We have enough to go around when we are using it.



Parking Lot Safety

We want to make sure that all of our students are safe.  Please take extra care when entering and exiting the parking lot and during drop off and pick up, watch your surroundings, and drive slowly and cautiously through the parking lot. The 13 Mile Road exit is EXIT ONLY. Cars may enter and/or exit on Middlebelt Road.

Carpool and Drop-off/Pick-up

Preschool, kindergarten, and first grade students must be walked to and picked up from their classrooms by a parent or an older (3rd grade and up) sibling, unless you give other instructions in writing to the teacher/office. Students may not be given permission to wait outside the building unattended, however.

DROPOFF: Please drop your child or carpool off at the Canner Entrance near the office. This is the only entrance which will be open at the time of drop-off.

CARPOOL LINE PICKUP: Please use the Kaufman Entrance (the circular drive near the playground). A faculty member will be on duty from the end of class for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, any remaining children will be brought to the school office.

IN PERSON PICKUP: Please park in the lot and enter through the Canner Entrance to pick up your children. Children will not be permitted to wait outside at the Canner entrance. There is a convenient lounge at the entrance for you to use while waiting.

Please do not park in the fire lane or leave your car unattended at the Kaufman Entrance.

Allergies/Medical Conditions

IF YOUR CHILD HAS AN ALLERGY OR MEDICAL CONDITION: We must have an emergency protocol signed by your child’s physician and, if needed, emergency medications/epi-pens/inhalers in our office. 


Our school environment is nut free (you may not bring food that “may contain tree nuts or peanuts” or are “processed on a shared line or shared facility with tree nuts or peanuts”). Thank you for keeping all of our children safe. We do have students in the school with airborne nut allergies.

All food served at school programs is nut free. Food at synagogue-wide programming may not be, so always ask!

Food at School

All items brought into the school building must be kosher (dairy or parve) and nut free.  Food may be purchased at school for a nominal fee.


If your child is not feeling well during school hours, we will call home so that you can arrange early pick up. If your child is sick, has had a fever within 24 hours, is vomiting or has diarrhea, please do not send him or her to school until the symptoms have resolved.

We understand that winter colds will be prevalent for much of the year, and as long as      your child is able to focus and take part in class (and it’s just a sniffle), you may send    him or her. Signs to stay home: deep, productive cough and fever. Please send extra tissues and a personal hand sanitizer!

When in doubt, stay home. Your child needs the rest, and can always catch up!

Snow Days & Cold Weather Closings

We check the weather reports carefully during actual or anticipated winter storms, and while generally we are closed when Farmington Public Schools have closed for storms, we are not necessarily closed when the schools close for cold temperatures. We understand that you need to make arrangements for your children on snow days, and will do our best to make a decision by 6:30 a.m. on Sundays and by 1 p.m. on Wednesdays. Cancellations will be posted on our school Facebook page as well as on local news sources, and will be sent out via email as well.

Of course, the most important thing is safety: when in doubt, don’t venture out. If we are open but your streets are not passable, err on the side of caution please. 


Email Communication

Every week, usually on Tuesday, we send out a Constant Contact mailing over email to all addresses in our system. These emails contain important highlights of the coming week, dates to remember, special notices, information about upcoming programs of interest, and any changes to our regularly scheduled programming. In addition, teachers send out emails approximately twice a month AND update the Online Learning Center.

If you do not receive teacher emails, please contact your child’s teacher directly to be sure he or she has the correct email address. If you do not receive Constant Contact mailings, please make sure we have your correct email address and that you have not opted-out of emails from us.


Parent-Teacher Dialogues

If you would like to schedule a conference with your child’s teacher, or if your child’s teacher feels a conference is necessary, these will be scheduled at a mutually convenient time.


We have a closed facebook group, called “Adat Shalom-Beth Achim Learning Community.” Please request to join! You can also “like” Adat Shalom Synagogue’s facebook page to get updates on synagogue activities and items of interest.

Contact Information

Dr. Melissa Ser, Director of Congregational Learning,
Jodi Gross, Director of Adult Learning and Youth Engagement,
Debi Banooni, Jewish Family Educator,
Sammi Shapiro, Administration & Youth Programs, 
Direct Line to Learning Community Office: 248-626-2153