Carmel Academy and The Leffell School have many shared values, educational philosophies, and Jewish outlooks, and this has become increasingly true in recent years. The professional leadership and boards of trustees have been collaborating with greater frequency, and the many Carmel Academy students who have gone on to High School at The Leffell School have had very positive experiences. In the context of this strengthened relationship, the decision to incorporate the Carmel community into The Leffell School came about relatively quickly in recent weeks, as we examined the current landscape of financial and enrollment trends.
Why did we make this decision?
Given current realities of finances and enrollment, Carmel’s board felt that the best way to ensure that our students would continue to benefit from a top-quality educational experience would be to identify a partner institution that offers compatible values and educational principles within a larger, more financially sustainable environment. In The Leffell School, we found a partner whose leadership is closely aligned with our own and that is eager to provide a comfortable, seamless transitional experience for our students and families. We are confident that this integration provides the clearest pathway for maintaining the legacy of Carmel Academy, including the PALS program.
What role did the leadership team have in the process?
The leadership team has provided, and will continue to provide, valuable programmatic feedback and support during this transition to help think through continuity and approach.
Will all Carmel students automatically be enrolled/accepted at Leffell? What is the decision deadline?
There will be no formal Leffell School application/admissions process for current Carmel students. Families of rising first- through eighth-grade students for 2020-2021, as well as rising kindergartners who have already been admitted to Carmel, will automatically receive enrollment contracts from Leffell, including tuition assistance awards. We intend to make the financial transition smooth and comfortable for all Carmel families. In the coming weeks, there will be many opportunities for students and families to learn more about The Leffell School, visit the campuses, and become comfortable in the Leffell School community. We expect that this process will enable families to make fully informed enrollment choices for the 2020-2021 school year. The leadership of the two schools will work in close partnership over the coming months to make sure that all of our students and families are well known, understood, and cared for, from day one.
The Leffell School plans to give each family as much time as it needs to make a decision that feels confident and fully informed, recognizing that earlier commitments from families will enable the school to have a clearer sense of its staffing needs.
Will current Carmel families have to apply for tuition assistance at The Leffell School for 2020-2021?
For each student, Carmel Academy families who currently receive tuition assistance can expect to pay the same net tuition that they paid during the 2019-2020 academic year. Families will not be required to apply for tuition assistance for the 2020-2021 school year. A process will be in place for families who would like to request additional assistance for the coming year. Families of rising kindergartners who have applied for tuition assistance from Carmel and have not yet received an award will be asked to go through the Leffell School tuition assistance process.
Will transportation to The Leffell School continue to be included in tuition?
Most Lower School families, as well as some Upper School families, who live in Westchester County will qualify for free transportation provided by their school districts. Other families will have the option of participating in Leffell's extensive, highly subsidized private transportation program.
We are pleased to announce that through the generosity of an anonymous Leffell School donor, we will be able to provide transportation free of charge for families coming from Connecticut for the 2020-2021 academic year.
We do not want cost — either tuition or transportation — to be an obstacle to enrollment for any family.
What will happen to the PALS program specifically?
The Leffell School is committed not only to maintaining the PALS program, but to growing and developing it over time. A transitional team comprising administrators, faculty members, and parents from both schools has been assembled to devise the optimal leadership and staffing structure for PALS for 2020-2021, and we expect to be able to share more specifics in the coming days. We know that the PALS program is reliant upon close, personal relationships of confidence and trust, and one of our top priorities for this process is to begin to craft such relationships between PALS families and the Leffell School leadership.
We invite parents of PALS students to attend a parlor meeting specifically to discuss this topic, to be held on the evening of Monday, February 10 at 7:30 p.m. at a private home. We will shortly circulate the exact time and location to all PALS families.
How will the classroom and student experience change for Carmel students?
The Leffell School's instructional emphasis on differentiated instruction, flexible student grouping, interdisciplinary integration, hands-on learning, and tailored enrichment and support should feel very familiar and comfortable to Carmel Academy families. Leffell's outstanding teaching faculty is enhanced by a robust staff of learning specialists, teaching assistants, deans, psychologists, counselors, and experiential educators — ensuring that social-emotional development is embedded within the academic environment.
The best way to get to know the Leffell student experience is to see it in action, and we will be inviting families to participate in both group tours and private tours of the campuses. There will also be many opportunities in the coming weeks to meet Head of School Dr. Michael Kay and members of the Leffell School educational team.
Will any of my children's Carmel teachers be moving to Leffell?
The Leffell School is enthusiastically committed to welcoming members of the Carmel leadership and teaching faculty to join its professional team. Conversations with certain members of the faculty have already begun, and staffing needs are being assessed as quickly as possible. Leffell is eager to recruit members of the Carmel Academy faculty and staff for any positions that are open or may be created based upon this process.
How do class sizes compare at Leffell?
In the Lower School, section sizes have ranged between 15 and 21 students, and there are three sections per grade. Presently, two grades have 19 or 20 students per class; we envision that these numbers will be lower next year, as even a small influx of students in these grades would necessitate the addition of a fourth section. In kindergarten and first grade, there are at least two teachers in each classroom at all times. In other grades, while each section has primary teachers for general studies, Yahadut (Judaic studies), and Hebrew, there are often multiple teachers working with each section: learning specialists, enrichment specialists, general studies assistant teachers, and Hebrew assistant teachers push into classrooms or pull out small groups of students. As such, instructional groupings are flexible and tend to be small. During a typical fourth-grade math period, for example, one or more learning specialists will work with small groups of students who require extra support, and an enrichment specialist will work with a group of advanced math learners, leaving a group of 8-12 students to study with the primary classroom teacher.
Town Hall Meeting (Livestreamed) with Nora Anderson & Michael Kay
Wednesday, February 5
7:30 - 9:00 p.m. Carmel Academy Campus - Small Gym, Building 14
Leffell School Parent Meeting: Understanding this Process and Welcoming Carmel Families
Thursday, February 6
8:15 - 9:15 a.m.
Upper School Campus
Parlor Meetings with Nora Anderson & Michael Kay:
To R.S.V.P. for one of the parlor meetings below, please click here.
Thursday, February 6
7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Private home in White Plains
Sunday, February 9
4:00 - 5:30 p.m.
N. Stamford/Greenwich Families
Sunday, February 9
7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Monday, February 10
7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Private Home in Riverdale
The Leffell School’s Lower School (K-5) Campus
Monday, February 10 from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Thursday, February 13 from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Thursday, February 27 from 9:30 - 11:00 a.m.
Please click here to sign up for a group tour, or email Director of Lower School Admissions Diana Schutt at email@example.com to schedule a private tour at your convenience.
The Leffell School’s Upper School (6-12) Campus
Wednesday, February 12 from 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Tuesday, February 25 from 9:00 - 10:00 a.m.
Please click here to sign up for a group tour, or email Director of Upper School Admissions Jackie Grosser at firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a private tour at your convenience.
Leffell Lower School All-School Tefilah
Friday, February 28 from 8:30 - 9:00 a.m.
Experience the ruach (energy) of our musical All-School Tefilah!Join Leffell School families and the entire Lower School student body for a musical service to welcome in Shabbat and celebrate the joy of the month of Adar. We look forward to davening with you.
Youth and Family Engagement Shabbat at Beth El Synagogue Center in New Rochelle
Shabbat of February 7 - 8
A family-oriented Shabbat celebration at Beth El, providing youth an opportunity to participate in Shabbat services. The entire Beth El community will come together for a festive Shabbat dinner and kiddush luncheon. On Shabbat afternoon, there will be a learning session featuring leaders from Carmel Academy, The Leffell School, and Beth El Synagogue Center. Registration required through Beth El.
Young Israel Stamford Shabbat
Shabbat of February 28 - 29
Lower School STEAMposium
Sunday, March 15
Program for Students in K-5
8:45 a.m. - 12:00 noon
Students in grades K-5 are invited to join for our PTO's third annual STEAMposium. STEAMposium is a Sunday morning drop-off event designed to further ignite students' passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. During the event, students will participate in organized workshops led by guest expert instructors. Students will also have the opportunity to explore a self-directed Tinker Fair comprising activity booths with drones, slime, 3D printing, and more. Registration will open soon.
Carmel Families program
9:45 - 10:30 a.m.
An informal info session geared specifically toward Carmel Academy families, including an opportunity to meet members of the Leffell School leadership and ask questions about the school and the transition process.
STEAM for Toddlers & Preschoolers
10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
As part of our larger STEAMposium, families with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers are invited to program robots, build structures, and engage in crafts. R.S.V.P. here.
CARMEL ACADEMY TO INTEGRATE INTO THE LEFFELL SCHOOL
GREENWICH, CT (February 4, 2020) — After 22 years as a vibrant independent Jewish day school in Greenwich, CT, Carmel Academy has announced that it will be integrating many of its families and elements of its program into The Leffell School, a Jewish independent school serving approximately 740 students on two campuses in Westchester County, effective the 2020-2021 school year. Carmel Academy plans to wind down its own independent operations at the conclusion of the 2019-2020 academic year.
“Given the current realities of finances and enrollment, we believe that the very best way to ensure a continued, top-quality educational experience for our students is to seek the expanded opportunities and economic efficiencies that come with joining a larger, mission-aligned institution,” explained Nora Anderson, Carmel Academy’s Head of School.
Carmel Academy has an extraordinary legacy of academic excellence, spirited Jewish life and learning, and attentiveness to the needs of all learners, particularly through its PALS (Providing Alternative Learning Strategies) program for students with special needs, which will continue under the auspices of Leffell.
The Leffell School was established in 1966 as Solomon Schechter School of Westchester and changed its name in July 2019. The White Plains campus houses grades K-5, and the Middle and High Schools are located in Hartsdale. The school is known for its rigorous dual curriculum, unique K-12 engineering and entrepreneurship programs, experiential Jewish life (including a two-week trip to Israel in eighth-grade and its capstone Lev v’Nefesh senior experience in Poland and Israel), and strong college placement. Head of School Dr. Michael Kay said that:
“We have long admired the strong leadership and educational offerings of Carmel Academy, whose mission and values are closely aligned with our own. The Leffell School is excited to warmly welcome Carmel Academy families, and our own community will be enhanced through the incorporation of the Carmel community and legacy.”
The two schools have long been guided by a common set of priorities, including a relentless commitment to academic success for all students; celebration of traditional Jewish observance, culture, text, and language; strong character and values; a warm, nurturing community; and open engagement with diverse perspectives. The boards of trustees and administrations of the two schools are working together to ensure a smooth transition. Carmel Academy Board member Pam Feldstein adds, “We are very proud of what we have achieved as an independent school, and at the same time we feel a strong sense of responsibility to provide an experience for our students that preserves the best of what our school has always represented. We have confidence that integration into The Leffell School community presents the best pathway for continuing our important mission and ensuring that the Carmel legacy endures.”
Nora Anderson, Head of School of Carmel Academy, and Michael Kay, Head of School of The Leffell School are available for interviews. Please contact Maria Creanza, Communications Associate at The Leffell School, email@example.com.
Carmel Academy is a private school for children of all Jewish affiliations, serving children from transitional kindergarten through 8th grade.
Carmel Academy is a recipient of UJA Greenwich, the United Jewish Federation of Greater Stamford, New Canaan and Darien, Federation for Jewish Philanthropy of Upper Fairfield County and The UJA Federation on New York.