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The Journey Through 5th Grade

As Seen Through the Eyes of a Parent & Child

As my daughter Eliana and I ready ourselves for her graduation from 5th grade and transition into middle school, we look back at our years at Ilan Ramon Day School with gratitude, love and an abundance of joy, and look forward to the future with confidence and excitement!

When we moved to Calabasas, I wanted a school that would give Eliana a strong foundation in Jewish education and values, a sense of community, enduring friendships and academic challenges.  We found all of these at our beloved IRDS. TK was nurturing and enriching under the watchful eyes of both Margie and Stephanie.  The “Naming Ceremony” in kindergarten was inspirational and heartfelt, especially as Eliana was named after her maternal and paternal grandmothers.  The art projects under Mrs. Lepp’s tutelage were amazing as were the children’s “Tzadakah Piggy Banks”.

In first grade, Eliana was presented with Siddur cover which was quite emotional since Eliana would have this cover through her graduation.  In second grade, the students amazed us with their “consumer products”.  The parents wanted to purchase everything!  This was an important year for the school as its name was changed from “Heschel West” to its current namesake.

The students in third grade, fascinated us with their song naming all the U.S. Presidents and later that year, each student took on a new persona as part of their “biography” project.  This was also a momentous time for Eliana as she changed her name to her nickname, “Ellie”.

The fourth grade trip to Sacramento was not only educational, but a great bonding experience for the students.  The fourth grade students were particularly lucky in that their teacher, Sarite, matriculated with them to fifth grade.  Lastly, in fifth grade, the students enjoyed their trip to Astrocamp and also enjoyed getting dirty making a “matzah oven”!

Throughout all the years, the friendships have endured.  Some of my favorite highlights were the “Shabbats under the Stars” where the school community and families joined together to celebrate the Sabbath; “Mitzvah Day” making Shabbat packages for hospital patients, Yuri rolling the Torah to the beginning on Simchat Torah and, most recently, the “Passover Workshop” where eighteen women (how befitting for Chai!) came together to learn and cook special Sephardic recipes thanks to Rivka.

Having her part of this community is one of the best decisions we ever made, and if you are still  “on the fence”, begin a journey at  Ilan Ramon and feel the spirit, observe the children’s faces and it will more than blow you away.

Robin Gorelick, Mother of Eliana (Class of 2014)

From Our Alumni Students

Three years ago, I graduated from Heschel West (now Ilan Ramon Day School). My graduating class had only 20 students.  I received one-on-one attention from my teachers. This helped me build a unique relationship with them. When I graduated, I was prepared to attend any type of school. I was strong in math, social studies, reading skills and writing concepts because of the attention I received. I am currently earning straight A’s in my eighth grade class. I am thankful that I was educated in a safe learning environment where I was able to build fundamentals for my future education. In addition, I developed strong social skills and friendships.

Dana Leonard, Class of 2007

During my years at Heschel West (now Ilan Ramon Day School), I learned numerous life lessons and values. I loved the small size classes that created a warm and safe environment, where I knew I could approach the teachers for help and guidance.  Heschel West successfully prepared me for middle school, and now that I am going to high school I feel prepared because of my early years of elementary school.   Heschel West does an excellent job merging general studies with Judaic studies. I learned a whole other language and all about my heritage. I feel part of the Jewish society through my studies of my people’s history. The general studies were also second to none, with the teachers helping me improve in my math and grammar, which were my toughest subjects. This is no ordinary school; it is more of a kehilla or community. I will never forget all I learned at Heschel West, and cannot wait to use my new found learning in my future.

Madelynn Taras, Class of 2007

Heschel West has been such a wonderful experience. I have grown, not only as a student, but as a person and opened up my mind to new ways of thinking. The duel curriculum helped us to uncover our past and learn about our future. Community was another big aspect at Heschel West (now Ilan Ramon Day School). I knew everyone from TK to 5th. The small class sizes made it easy to learn, more one-on-one help, and a closer bond between you and your teacher. This school, an amazing place, is where I spent my elementary years growing and learning every day.

Chloe Wigul, Class of 2009

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