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Parent Handbook



Students may arrive as early as 3:45 p.m. on Wednesdays to do homework in room 104, play outside on the playground, or relax and have a snack. Our afternoon begins promptly at 4:30 p.m. with a Mincha service in the Youth Lounge.

On Sundays, we encourage you to arrive between 8:45 a.m. and 9 a.m. in order to be on time for Havdalah and Tefillah, which begin promptly at 9 a.m. in the Youth Lounge for kindergarten and up.

Tefillah / Prayer

Every Sunday at 9 a.m. we begin with a K-6 musical Tefillah and Havdalah led by Hazzan Gross. Every Wednesday at 4:30 we will begin with a fun, engaging afternoon service (mincha) in the Youth Lounge, led by Hazzan Gross.

Students become familiar with prayers, learn to lead services, and connect with our clergy and educators. Students are expected to participate respectfully in the service, sit with their classes, and refrain from eating or playing on their phones. Boys are expected to wear a head covering (kippah or hat) and girls may choose to do so.

Students also spend time in their classrooms studying the meanings of prayers, how to read and chant them, and their core vocabularies. The list of prayers each grade focuses upon is located on page

What to Wear

Boys should wear a kippah to class; girls may if they 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. We ask that students dress respectfully. If it would not be permitted in your regular school, it’s probably not appropriate for Adat Shalom either.


For 50¢ to 75¢ per item, students may purchase snacks and/or drinks before school. All snacks are kosher and nut free, and we always have dairy free and gluten free options available. If you would like to send a snack from home, please ensure it is kosher and nut free.

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. 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. Bagels are less expensive by pre-order than at the Shuk. Contact the school office to order bagels.

What to bring to class

  • Tik (school bag) –Returning students should bring their bags with them. New students will receive one on the first day of school. If your bag has torn, please let us know and you can receive a new one.
  • Kosher dairy/parve & nut free snack or money ($1 to $1.50)
  • Money for tzedakah (we recommend 25¢ per class session) so we can make the world a better place.

 What NOT to bring

  • Cell phones (unless turned off during class; they may be used during a break)
  • Hand-held computer games
  • Fidget spinners and cubes (or any other fidget that makes noise and/or can be misused as a toy)
  • Toys, unless discussed with the office

 Books and Supplies

Your children will receive all materials from which to learn during the year. Most materials will remain in the classroom. Homework can be completed using handouts and/or your child’s prayer book (siddur). If your child is in fourth grade or above and you do not have a prayer book at home, please contact the school office.

Involvement of clergy

Our clergy are actively involved and play an integral role in our classes and family education programs. Clergy regularly visit classrooms to teach new melodies, explore prayers, teach varying topics, and answer student questions.

Family Education

Family education opportunities take place throughout the year. Some are grade-specific, and other programs are open to the congregation. More information will be provided on a regular basis ahead of each program.

Teen Madrichim

A madrich is a guide, and our school has an amazing cohort of teens who choose to continue being part of the Adat Shalom community on a weekly basis! Beginning in eighth grade, teens may volunteer or work within the school as teaching assistants, buddies, and office assistants. Teens complete regular training and learn how to best assist the classroom teachers and their students. Madrichim often work with students one-on-one in Hebrew reading, help students with projects, run stations or games, and more.

Home Enrichment

Pre-K: Spend a few minutes each week asking your child about what he/she learned in class. Do something special on Shabbat. Read a Jewish book together. Attend Tot Shabbat each month as a family.

K and 1: Ask your child to tell you a story from the Torah that he/she has learned. Find Jewish objects in your home. Do something special on Shabbat. Read a Jewish book together. Come to synagogue as a family when possible.

2 and 3: Encourage your child to complete his/her 20 minutes of reading each night using PJ Library Jewish books. Encourage your child to practice Hebrew reading for five minutes a day, three days a week. Ask your child to teach you Hebrew if you do not read it. If you need resources, we can help! Come to synagogue as a family when possible. Do something special on Shabbat.

4 through 7: Encourage your child to complete his/her 20 minutes of reading each night using PJ Our Way Jewish chapter books, and help your child practice prayers he/she is learning. We recommend five to ten minutes a day, three to four times per week. Come to Shabbat services (Friday or Saturday) at least once a month as a family and bring your child to Shabbat services, and stay for kiddush. Celebrate holidays together, and have your child help lead blessings and prayers at home.


If you would like to celebrate your child’s birthday at Adat Shalom during class hours, please let your child’s teacher know in advance. There are many nut-free, kosher treats available. Class lists with mailing addresses will be made available shortly after the school year begins, and we encourage you to invite the class to your child’s birthday celebration.

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 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. We encourage participation in area youth groups and experiences.


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, and differentiated learning strategies. 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 teens 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.

IEP/504 Plans

We request that if an IEP or 504 plan 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. The more information we have, the more successful your child will be.


Shabbat and Holidays for Families and Youth

Tot Shabbat takes place monthly from September through May year with Hazzan Gross. Youth and Family Shabbat will take place on a Friday evening in May and will highlight our students’ accomplishments and growing facility with prayer from the bimah.

During the High Holidays, we offer family services as well as youth activities. On Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot we offer a PJs & Stories program during which preschoolers and kindergartners can take part in an engaging story and project – and, of course, wear pajamas to shul!

Parent Committee

If you are interested in being part of our parent-teacher committee, please contact Geula Rapp, head of the education committee, at

Adult Learning and Engagement

Throughout the year our clergy and guest speakers offer an array of adult learning opportunities for you to learn and grow, enrich your life and deepen your soul: weekly Torah Study, regular Soulful Yoga, lectures and parenting classes. In addition to a wide variety of learning opportunities, volunteers create and arrange programs to meet the interests of the congregation. Sisterhood, Men’s Club, Young Adult Group, Social Action Committee, and Tikkun Adat provide a link to the synagogue community through social, cultural, educational, spiritual and volunteer opportunities.



Every week during the school year, usually on Tuesday night, 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 regularly.

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.


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.

Classwork and Flyers

Please check your child’s bag for notices, classwork, and class updates.

Remind App

Reminders and cancellations are sent out via text message on Remind. You may download the Remind app onto your smartphone, or text the message @adatsh to 81010, and you will receive text reminders. This is a great way to make sure you don’t miss out on special programs or announcements about cancellations! You can also reply directly to Melissa Ser through remind, or ask questions about messages you have received.


We want to make sure that all our students and teen drivers are safe.  Please take extra care when entering and exiting the parking lot 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

DROP-OFF: Please drop your child or carpool off at the Canner Entrance near the office. This is the only entrance which will be open during drop-off. Be mindful of children and adults crossing at the entrance, and of icy conditions during the winter months.

CARPOOL LINE PICK-UP: Please use the Kaufman Entrance (the circular drive near the playground). This door is exit only. Do not leave your car unattended in the circle.

IN PERSON PICK-UP: Please park in the parking 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.

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

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


Allergies/Medical Conditions

If your child has an allergy or medical condition, we must have an emergency protocol and current emergency medications, epi-pens, and/or 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 shared equipment with tree nuts or peanuts”). We do have students in the school with airborne nut allergies. Thank you for keeping all our children safe.

All food served at school and family education programs is nut free, and Shabbat morning Kiddush treats are from Bake Station (nut free/dairy free). However, food at synagogue-wide programming may not be, so always ask!


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 or 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!


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  Mondays and Wednesdays.

Cancellations will be posted on our school Facebook page as well as on local news sources, and will be sent out via email and Remind 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.


Pre-readers will learn prayers by heart and also have Hebrew Immersion on Sundays. As students develop their Hebrew reading skills, they will progress from the reading primer (twice weekly) to prayer reading on Sundays (Mondays for 7th grade) and Modern Hebrew on Wednesdays.


Setting the Bar or Bat Mitzvah Date

Synagogue Members: When your child turns 8 years old or enters 3rd grade, you may call Denise Gallagher, the booking coordinator, at 248) 851-5100 to schedule a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date. This date will be scheduled on or after the child’s 13th birthday (12th birthday for girls) on the Hebrew calendar. Denise will gladly assist you in determining the Hebrew birth date. There is no booking fee for members.

Non-members: You may book a Bar/Bat Mitzvah date two years prior to the date of your child’s 13th birthday (12th birthday for girls) on the Hebrew calendar, although it is not confirmed until one year prior to the date. There is a non-member booking fee.

B’nai Mitzvah Connections

You and your child will receive an invitation to B’nai Mitzvah Beginnings with Hazzan Gross. Following that introductory session, you and your child will need to attend each of these four workshops during the 12- to 18-month period leading up to your child becoming a bar or bat mitzvah. Each workshop takes place twice per year. For questions, please contact Caren Harwood at