Hausner Code Fest Brings Students and
Parents Together to Learn to Code
Palo Alto, CA, December 8, 2017Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School celebrated Computer Science Education Week by holding many maker events. This included the Hausner Code Fest, held on Sunday, December 3rd, with two sets of fifteen concurrent sessions ranging from sessions for preschoolers to Artificial Intelligence, Physical Computing, and traditional computing languages. Younger students worked with their parents while older students worked independently.
Additionally, the Hausner Makerspace was open every day during lunch for students to program robots, code, deconstruct computers and just be creative. Each grade level worked on a special activity, several of them tying their activity to Hanukkah, which starts on December 12. Kindergarten worked on creating stories in Scratch Jr and programming Dash robots through a maze. First graders got to work on Makey Makey, which also taught them the basis of electronic circuits. Second graders worked on an unplugged activity, simulating a CPU, ALU and Display, creating four different images linked to Hanukkah. These will then be put on sturdier material and the students will attach LEDs. Third graders worked on a Scratch-Hanukkah light up project. Fourth graders worked on a Scratch-Hanukkah project, Microbits and Makey Makey. Fifth graders worked on Raspberry Pis and Microbits. And sixth graders worked on creating a Hanukkah light sign on a Raspberry Pi Sense Hat.
Preceding all of these events, students learned about Grace Hopper, in whose honor Computer Science Education Week is celebrated. The entire week of ongoing events were produced by Hausner’s Director of Technology and Innovation, Smita Kolhatkar, and was designed to encourage more students to learn about computer programming and show that anyone with a willingness to learn can create innovative computer programs.

Hausner 7th Grade Students Donate Over $50k to Non-Profits
Students Learn to Be Informed Philanthropists
Palo Alto, CA, May 26, 2017 – All Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School K-8 students participate in service learning programs in order to build a lifelong commitment to educated charitable giving, or Tzedakah. The 7th grade Avodah La’Olam (work of the world) program focuses on the exploration of ethical and moral dilemmas from a Jewish perspective, and takes place during their Bar/Bat Mitzvah year. These students research non-profit organizations during a weekly class beginning in August. Through a guided process, students discover what values are important, and what social issues are of concern to them. Students then choose a non-profit organization that they feel passionate about helping, interview a representative of that non-profit, and write a research paper defending their findings. In March, students give oral and visual presentations about their chosen agencies or causes during class. Then, as a Board of Directors, the 7th graders vote to allocate funds to the various non-profits. This year, 25 nonprofits were represented including Camfed, IsraAID, and Camp Kesem. Students raise donations throughout the year, beginning with the full amount of what they would have given each other as B’nai Mitzvah gifts.
The culmination of this process is the Celebration of Tzedakah, held on May 24th this year, where the students announced their allocations, and representatives from many of the 25 nonprofit organizations came to campus to accept their donations. The students raised over $50,000 this year, and distributed checks ranging from $1,250 to $3,800 to each organization. Many of the nonprofit representatives gave thank you speeches where they noted how impressed they were with the student’s research and interview methods during their months of preparation. It was a meaningful and moving ceremony.
Upon receiving a donation on behalf of IsraAID, Talya Feldman, their US Office Senior Director of Operations, and Hausner Alum, noted, “I remember sitting in your seats and getting attached to an organization that I had researched and put so much energy in to.  And now, I have the privilege to be on the other side and take all of the things that I have learned in the 7th grade, and all the other years at Hausner, and turned it into a career where I can continue to be doing the work that you have started.”

Hausner Students Win Grand Prize at Synopsys
Science & Technology Championship Event
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Students Learn to Solve Real World Problems
Palo Alto, CA, April 27, 2017Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School students took home many accolades at this year’s Synopsys Science & Technology Championships awards ceremony this month. Additionally, Hausner science teacher, Liat Baranoff, received a Grand Prize Teacher Award and Certificate of Achievement from the Association for Computing Machinery, San Francisco Bay Area Professional Chapter!
Ten students who entered the competition came away with Grand Prize placement, several cash prizes, and an A1 Foster Award for Excellence! One 7th grade pair earned a Grand Prize placement, the largest award Hausner has received to date, for their “creation of a system that will free a dog during a fire.” Another received a BBC Microbit development kit for their automatic dry dog food dispenser. One student received a cash prize, plus the Bob Zeidman Award, for his Voice Swap project. A trio received cash awards and letters of recognition for their apple preservation project under teacher Megan Babat’s advisement. Lastly, a pair of students receive the Al Foster Award for excellence and creativity in their team project, a motorized egg cracker, under teacher Genevieve Greene.
Assistant Head of School for Academics, Carol Piraino, Ed.D. notes, “Hausner had an impressive 18 projects accepted this year, many more than most public and independent middle schools in the area. I continue to be impressed and amazed by how much they have learned, and I have no doubt that they will be leaders of science and innovation in the future.”

Hausner School Kindergarteners Build a City of Peace

Students Learn Through Hands-on Construction Following Their Study of MLK
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Palo Alto, CA, Feb. 9, 2017 – On Wednesday, January 25 students from Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School welcomed Jeff Rosen, Santa Clara County District Attorney into their classroom to discuss what it means to have a peaceful city and how they can work from this model once they are grown. Last week, architect Randy Popp, AIA spoke with the students about how to design buildings, and on Friday, Feb. 3, Karen Alter spoke to the class about electric cars, car design and public transit. Following their study of Ezra Jack Keats and Martin Luther King, Jr., along with the input from their distinguished visitors, Hausner kindergartners worked on designing and building their own peaceful city, which they call Ir Shalom, or City of Peace.
David Zimand, Head of School welcomed parents to Ir Shalom at today’s ribbon cutting ceremony and noted, “Being crowded together as we wait to cut the ribbon for Ir Shalom gives us a nice reminder of what our tradition teaches us: that in peaceful places, we have room for everyone, even when we feel crowded.” The children and parents together explored the cardboard city, which included roadways, traffic signs, grocery stores, apartment buildings and more – all following standard city guidelines.
Students apply math, design, and creative skills to construct buildings, vehicles and city signs. This Project-Based Learning (PBL) model allows students to develop practical life skills through investigation, research and decision-making.