AJA's Academic Excellence

April 26, 2018
11 Iyyar 5778


Dear AJA Community,

If I could summarize my role as a parent into one overarching wish, it would be: to give my children even a little more than I had and present them with more opportunities in their lives to be happy, successful and good human beings. I’m sure we all share those goals and dreams for our children. At AJA, we work daily to make that happen for our students.

Last week I shared the first in a series of “what makes AJA unique”. This week I want to highlight for you a cornerstone of our school. All of the work we do, comes from the assumption, supposition, and foundation that we are a school of academic excellence. This is not to say that there are not areas for growth - we are always working tirelessly to continue to improve. Yet, I am here to say that I don't think we spend enough time bragging or sharing outside testimonies and recognition about the quality of our AJA education. So, with your permission (thanks!) let the bragging begin.

As you may have heard - our graduating Seniors are getting into INCREDIBLY selective colleges, universities, Yeshivot and seminaries - even with this year’s record low acceptance rates. Just some highlights (full list at the end of this email!): Emory University (x4!), Princeton University, Georgia Tech (x3!), Yale University, Brandeis University, Johns Hopkins University, Boston University and SUNY Binghamton (x2!) and our students were awarded over $600,000 in scholarships - pretty impressive for a graduating class of 22 students!

Yasher Koach! I’m so proud of the Class of 2018 - today I want to focus on the secret sauce that opens up these opportunities for our students.

A 21st Century education means that we need to acknowledge that memorizing vocabulary words, fluency in math facts or history dates is not sufficient. To succeed in this world, our students need to understand concepts behind the subject and how to use them. I’d like to use Math to articulate my point. (Stay tuned to future Thursday Thoughts for examples from other subjects.)

Math Literacy begins in our ECD. The children are exposed to Math in an organic fun, playful and very visual way. This foundation paves the way for them to head into the Lower School feeling comfortable with numbers.

In 1st Grade, we don't just teach kids Math - we illustrate the meaning of and how to raise money. They learn firsthand about quantities, tracking inventory, goods & services, needs & wants - and all in the context of raising money for their special overnight trip to the zoo. Our teachers brought math alive by helping the students run a business to sell bookmarks – and they are over halfway to their goal! I have to believe that this incredible Math foundation leads our 1st Graders to consistently score above National Norms on the MAP test.

The learning continues as the students grow. Our 2nd – 4th Graders were able to use their problem-solving and thinking skills when they competed in the Nationwide Continental Math League. Out of all the students, three of our AJA math geniuses brought prizes back to AJA! Bess Krasner, Amitai Sadinoff and Micah Lembeck made us so proud.

Our Middle School Math department will introduce an incredible new math program “Big Ideas” to the school. It uses STEM concepts and connects math to science in an innovative way. Our Math & Science teachers have also banded together to coordinate units to emphasize the relationship between math and science. STEM day will be celebrated in our Middle School on May 4.

Did you know that many of our Upper School underclassmen are encouraged to take higher level US math courses (not usually open to underclassmen) based on their acumen! Our average SAT math score is an impressive 655 - and our average AP Statistics Exam score is 4.0!  We offer ten Upper School Math options so that all AJA Upper School students can be challenged at the appropriate level of challenge and take their math skills as far as possible. 

We want our students to stretch.
We encourage them to stretch
We are a small, yet nimble school and encourage growth, success and the opportunity to be pushed when it’s appropriate. Again, this math trajectory is just one example of academic excellence at AJA...stay tuned for more insights into other AJA academic fields.

One community. One school. This cohesiveness and connection allows us to offer these opportunities to our students – starting with our little ones and reaching all the way to our graduating Seniors who are are being offered the most top notch post-graduation options! (and are menches, too)!

Thanks for taking this math journey with me.


Rabbi Ari Leubitz


But wait...there’s more!

  • Edye Cohen – Power of One honoree
  • AJA received the National Early Engagement Exemplars Award at the AIPAC Policy Conference. Maayan Schoen, Sammy Frankel, and Nicole Dori accepted this award on behalf of AJA and the Israel Advocacy Club.

  • Margalit Lytton and Shiraz Agichtein competed in the Junior Division of the Fulton County Regional Science and Engineering Fair.Margalit placed second in her category. Shiraz placed first in her category - her project was one of the two highest scoring project in the Junior Division and she represented AJA at the state fair in March!

  • Upper School Science Instructor, Catherine Brand, was selected to participate in the CDC Science Ambassador Fellowship - out of 174 applicants from 34 states and 5 countries.

  • National Honor Society - 20 new inductees this year!

  • Teachers Ella Bains and Jill Mainzer were selected to participate in the well-regarded Ayeka, Soulful Education group.

  • Jemima Schoen, won third place at our regional Spelling Bee. She was the alternate for the Atlanta area representative to the statewide competition.

  • Zac Agichtein represented AJA at the regional Technology Fair in January with his stop-motion animation video.

  • Upper School Model UN Team participated in the Yeshiva University Model UN Summit for the first time.

  • Five of our 8th graders are taking Honors Geometry in the Upper School along with 9th and 10th graders.

  • 7th graders, Adam Berkowitz, Eva Beresin, Ayla Cohen, Sara Goldberg and Jemima Schoen entered the Creative Communication poetry contest in November and were selected out of thousands of entrants to be published in their anthology, “A Celebration of Poets”.

  • Current list of college, university, yeshivot and seminary acceptances: Aish Gesher ● Arcadia University ● Ashreinu ● Baer Miriam ● Bar Ilan University ● Barnard College ● Binghamton University ● Boston University ● Brandeis University ● Brenau University ● Columbus State University ● Derech Etz Chaim ● Emory University ● Eretz HaTzvi ● George Mason University ● Georgia Gwinnett College ● Georgia Institute of Technology ● Georgia State University ● Israel Defense Forces ● Ithaca College ● Johns Hopkins University ● Keshet Yehudah ● Lev HaTorah ● Lynn University ● Machon Maayan ● McGill University ● Mevaseret ● Migdal Oz ● Midreshet HaRova ● Midreshet Lindenbaum ● Michlelet Mevaseret Yerushalayim ● Midreshet Moriah ● Midreshet Torah Va'Avodah ● Midreshet Tehila ● Mount Ida College ● Muhlenberg College ● Netiv Aryeh ● Oglethorpe University ● Orayta ● Princeton University ● Quinnipiac University ● Randolph-Macon College ● Reishit ● Rutgers University-New Brunswick ● Shaalvim for Women ● The University of Arizona ● The University of West Georgia ● Tiferet ● Tomer Devorah ● University of Chicago - pending ● University of Cincinnati (Engineering) ● University of Georgia ● University of Maryland, College Park ● University of New Haven ● University of North Georgia ● University of Oregon  ● University of Pennsylvania - pending! ● University of Pittsburgh (University Honors College) ● University of Tennessee, Knoxville ● University of Vermont ● Yale University ● Yeshiva University

    Yasher Koach, all! Keep it coming...
    we love to share good news!