At Hillel Academy we aim to maintain a safe, challenging, and nurturing school environment in which students develop a strong sense of integrity and respect for others by promoting a school-wide Culture of Chesed, Kindness. The Talmud says [you cannot even begin to learn until your actions are all representative of derech eretz]. Derech eretz means the “proper way” of civility to one another. Students, faculty, staff, parents, and visitors are all expected to be honest and showcase appropriate language and interactions with each other at all times. We believe that our students are watching the adults all around them as role models and as such a Culture of Chesed can only begin with all of the adults leading by example.
A gift of Hillel’s Culture of Chesed is the graduation of young adults who are empathetic, compassionate, appreciate of diversity in their community, and can lead by example.
Throughout the school year Hillel Academy students will explicitly and implicitly learn and experience a Culture of Chesed through the role modeling and teaching of a variety of midot, values. These values include and are not limited to: Kavod (respect/honor), Chesed (kindness), Kehillah (community), Emet (truth), Tikun Olam (repair for the world / making the world a better place), Tzedaka (charity / support for those with less or in need of support), Ahava (love), Limud (study & learning), and Shalom (peace).
Partnering with our Culture of Chesed is the adoption of the school-wide culture program called Responsive Classroom. The Responsive Classroom approach is a way of teaching that emphasizes social, emotional, and academic growth in a strong and safe school community. Developed by classroom teachers, the approach consists of practical strategies for helping students build academic and social-emotional competencies day in and day out.
Tikkun Olam - Repairing the World
Hillel Academy’s Culture of Chesed also teaches our students to be stewards of the society in which they live. School-wide social action and/or tzedaka projects include or have included:
- In partnership with Tampa Urban Benefit (TUB) Farms, a hydroponic garden yielding hundreds of pounds of vegetables that are donated to those in need
- Pillow and feminine hygiene products collection for The Joshua House
- School supplies collection for schools in northern Florida ravaged by Hurricane Michael
- In partnership with Emmi Grace’s Angels, a teethers and soothers collection for cancer-stricken babies at St. Joseph’s Child
- Holiday toy collection for patients and siblings at Johns Hopkins Children’s Outpatient Center
Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service
At Hillel Academy, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a day of school and a day of service. Students spend their morning completing social action projects for the community, they then learn about the important civil work of Martin Luther King Jr. and that inspiration driving civil work today, and our students end their day with beautifying our own campus.