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Upper School News

This Week in Upper School 1/7-1/11, 2019

News Type:  Upper School News Date:  Friday, January 11, 2019 Byline:  Upper School Team
We were excited to be back in school this week and we look forward to a great second semester!
Las Vegas Jewsih Film Festival Premieres Heading Home to AEC Students
On Friday 6th-12th graders engaged in a film viewing for “Heading Home: The Tale of Team Israel.” The film follows the team and shares their journey of competing for the first time in the World Baseball Classic.
Report Cards can be found on Edsby for the First Semester for all US Students.
High School Field Trip:
The High School field trip has been rescheduled for February 20-22. Permission forms were emailed home to families before winter break. You can also fins permission forms on SFO School Forms Online. Permission forms are due by Wednesday, January 30th. We are very excited for our trip to beautiful Camp Ramah with our high school students!
Mount Potosi Trip
Next week Wednesday and Thursday 6th graders will head to Mount Potosi for their class field trip! No basketball practice for boys 5th/6th grade basketball team on Wednesday. 
Shadow Days
We are looking forward to our 8th grade shadow days and we are excited to welcome our 8th graders into our 9th grade core and major classes. Shadow days are set for January 14th, 16th, 18th, and 23rd.
Mock Trials
On Thursday, the two Mock Trial teams in the HS, engaged in a friendly scrimmage round before their competition on February 9th at the Regional Justice Center.
Spelling Bee
Our Middle School Students participated in the annual Middle School Spelling Bee on Thursday. We are so proud of all of our students who participated!
Congratulations to the following students:
School Champion - Jack Kim (winning word "flauta")
Runner-up - Nicole Miller
Third Place - Amber Lovat
Grade Level Winners:
8th: Jack Kim
7th: Ethan Saunders
6th: Jacob Coneh

This Week in Upper School 12/17-12/21, 2018

News Type:  Upper School News Date:  Friday, December 21, 2018 Byline:  Upper School Team
The 6th grade students engaged in “The Show Must Go Epsilon: Seven Plays in the Greek Style.” In small groups, the students selected myths from ancient cultures (their choices included Norse, Chinese, Irish, Babylonian, and Anglo-Saxon) and adapted them into  Greek-style plays. Groups wrote their own scripts following the format of the Ancient Greeks, created masks for each character, and made their own scenery. Their hard work paid off when they presented a very entertaining show! See photos
The Code Make Media class displayed their knowledge they have acquired over the semester to create board games in the Startup Incubator.  Students began by thinking up an original board game idea, they engineered the board using cardboard or wood using the laser cutter. They then created game pieces using Fusion 360 to be 3-D printed, and wrote a game manual with directions.  Following the completion of the game board, pieces and manual, students scripted and produced a commercial for their game using the digital media lab and the green screen. The project culminated with their peers learning and playing their board games together.
7th Grade Social Studies students created their own travel agency to research and market exciting vacations to lesser known destinations in Asia and the South Pacific.  The Sales Expo took place on Monday morning where parents and teachers were able to listen to each travel agent sale their trip to their country with well research information on flights, accommodations, culture and environmental attractions in their country.  There were so many great trips, how was one to decide?
The 9th Grade Humanities class did TED Talks based on the essential question: How can I create a successful TED Talk that makes connections between the three subjects of my Humanities class from first semester?  Students brainstormed topics, researched material, met with the Humanities Triumvirate individually for sources and guidance, wrote scripts, developed visual aides, incorporated textual evidence, practiced presentations with partners, edited, and finally presented their TED Talks to the class as the final exam. Feedback from students claimed that the project was innovative, creative, and allowed for a great deal of student voice and choice in their work. They loved the independence and working with the Humanities teachers one-on-one.
It the midst of exams, projects and presentations, our students were able to take a break each day and visit the library for a little pet stress relief. Our librarian, Ms Nails, arranges visits from therapy dog teams in our community in order for our students (and staff) to take a moment to recharge and refuel in between their midterm exams.
Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to thank our faculty, staff, and families for a successful first semester of learning and inquiry, and we wish each and every one of you a relaxing winter break.


News Type:  Alumni News Lower School News Upper School News Startup Incubator News Date:  Thursday, December 20, 2018 Byline:  Rabbi Joyce Raynor, Head of School
The Adelson Educational Campus is pleased to announce Lilach Bluevise will serve as the Principal of both Lower and Upper Schools for the 2019-2020 school year. For the past 3 years, Lilach has served as the Lower School principal and has done a wonderful job developing teacher excellence, an integrated and rigorous curriculum, establishing trust among parents, and supported student leadership/empowerment. Lilach has amazing school spirit and prides herself on building a strong leadership team, revitalizing the performing arts program, building an organic garden, and establishing a sense of community with Tikkun Olam projects and Jewish values. Lilach also has a lifelong passion for integrating Jewish values and General Studies across all disciplines, which fits perfectly with AEC’s mission and academic program.
Lilach will be working closely with the new Head of School, Dr. David Portnoy, and the leadership teams for both Lower and Upper School to create a smooth transition for our students and faculty. David is extremely excited about his partnership with Lilach and I know that their collaboration will enable our school to flourish. During the second semester, Lilach will be involved in planning so that we are in a strong position next year. 
Lilach has an extremely experienced and well-functioning leadership team in the Lower School and she will still be an integral part of running things, focusing on strategical thinking, providing guidance and mentorship. Lilach builds very strong teams and works collaboratively with them. She will do the same in Upper School working closely with Milly Joyner, Ben Koch and Maria Paxinos to continue the new initiatives we launched this year in project based learning, integrated humanities and targeted majors. 
I have worked with Lilach for nearly 15 years and before she joined AEC the majority of her work has been done with Upper School students. Lilach was the recipient of the Grinspoon-Steinhardt Award for excellence in Jewish education (2008), leading her staff in professional development and promoting excellence in teaching. Lilach holds a B.A. in Political Science and Special Education, a teaching certificate, and a master's degree in Educational Policy and Organization from Tel Aviv University. She was a fellow in cohort 3 of Project SuLam for leadership in Jewish education (by RAVSAK), she is a NETA Hebrew curriculum master teacher, and an expert in Israel Education.
Lilach’s 20 years of experience in both Lower and Upper Schools will provide a streamlined educational experience for our students with natural and comfortable transitions throughout their years at Adelson.  Additionally, it provides opportunities for improved communication throughout our school.  Lilach will provide increased collaboration and a close knit community of students, parents and faculty.
Join me in congratulating Lilach and feel free to contact her with any questions.
Rabbi Joyce Raynor
Head of School


AEC Announces New Head of School 2019-2020

News Type:  Alumni News Lower School News Upper School News Startup Incubator News Date:  Thursday, December 20, 2018 Byline:  Lynn Wexler
The Dr. Miriam and Sheldon G. Adelson Educational Campus (AEC) is pleased to announce Dr. David Portnoy as its new Head of School as of July 1st, 2019. He will take the reins from the current Head, Rabbi Joyce Raynor, Ph.D, who retires at the end of this school year following four years of dedication and leadership at AEC.
Dr. Portnoy brings to the Adelson school a wealth of leadership experience in Jewish and independent school education, outstanding academic credentials, and the enthusiasm and vision to take AEC to its next level of excellence.
“I am thrilled to be joining The Adelson Educational Campus at this time of exciting growth,” says Portnoy, who was impressed, from the moment he stepped on campus, by the vitality, passion, and warmth of the students, teachers, and parents.
“And the facility… it is truly breathtaking. The architecture, the light, the colors, the Jerusalem stone and the quotes from Jewish tradition. What a beautiful and inspirational place to come to each day,” he adds.
He is also impressed with AEC’s exceptional campus security, “the importance of which can’t be overestimated,” he says.
Dr. Portnoy grew up in Baltimore, Maryland and graduated Cum Laudefrom Baltimore’s prestigious Gilman School - a leading boy’s independent college preparatory K-12 school. There he served as president of the Debate Club and the Lancers Boys Club of Baltimore City. He lettered in Varsity Soccer, Basketball and Golf, starting on a Gilman team that won the Maryland Scholastic Golf Championship in 1979. It was at Gilman that Dr. Portnoy got his first taste of close harmony a cappella singing – where the tradition of wearing his now-signature bow tie claims its origins. But more on that later.
In 1983 he graduated from Yale University, again Cum Laude, with degrees in Economics and Political Science.  He completed the Yale Teacher Preparation Program; played soccer and lacrosse; sang in a close-harmony a cappella singing group; and was involved in the Yale Jewish Appeal. (Since graduating from Yale, he has chaired six of his seven 5-year class reunions.) 
Dr. Portnoy proceeded to earn a Juris Doctor Degree from UCLA School of Law, an M.S.Ed. from Johns Hopkins University, and an Ed.D from Seton Hall University. He practiced law and managed a family business, but his heart was always in education. He has more than 25 years of experience as a teacher, coach, principal, and head of school.
He taught at the distinguished Harvard-Westlake School in Los Angeles. He worked in Undergraduate Admissions at The University of Pennsylvania.  He served as Upper School Head and Associate Head of School at Beth Tfiloh Community School in Baltimore for a decade before becoming Head of School at Emery Weiner School in Houston and Yavneh Academy of Dallas (both ranked among the Top 10 National Jewish Schools by ), where he is currently serving in his seventh year.  
Married for 33 years to Rabbi Dr. Shira Lander – a Professor and Director of Jewish Studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas - Dr. Portnoy and his wife are the proud parents of two married sons and grandparents to a one-year old granddaughter.
An avid cyclist, singer, lyricist and reader, Dr. Portnoy is looking forward to discovering the biking trails at the Red Rock Mountains. 
He’s also looking forward to leading the AEC team in building on what he believes is already a very solid foundation of accomplishment. 
“I’ve been fortunate to lead schools in Maryland and Texas that have achieved levels of excellence and prominence,” he says. “The Adelson school strikes me as an institution on the verge of attaining that same stature.”
Dr. Portnoy is also attracted to the mission and culture of the school – particularly its dedication to Jewish ethics, diversity, and, under the leadership of Dr. Miriam Adelson, to student health and wellness. 
“As an experienced educator, parent of two grown sons, and as a new grandfather, I believe there is nothing more important than our children’s safety and well-being.”
As to the iconic sartorial accessory that he has proudly donned for nearly forty-years – it started with the close harmony singing group he belonged to in high school. Their uniform was the classic button-down collar shirt, khaki pants, vest, and of course the bow tie. He’s been dressing that way ever since. “It’s actually very practical attire for a man. When you lean over for instance, the bow tie doesn’t get in your soup or in the way of grading papers,” he shared in good humor. 
Dr. Portnoy will visit the school from time to time between now and July of next year – something he looks forward to. 
Be sure to say hi and welcome him to the community. You’ll know him by his classic and elegant style, his broad smile, the twinkle in his eye, the energy in his step, a warm outstretched hand and – of course – that signature bow tie. If you’re lucky to catch him with a moment to spare, he might even give you a lesson in how to tie it! 

This Week in Upper School 12/10-12/14, 2018

News Type:  Upper School News Date:  Friday, December 14, 2018 Byline:  Upper School Team
December Mensch of the Month:
Sarah Blank: This young lady makes a big effort to work with others during class. She seems to really understand the value of teamwork and the importance of community building. She always is one to learn material quickly, but it’s so nice to see her teach others that material, encourage others to apply that material, and then work together to achieve common goals.
Leanne Steward: This young lady is always sweet, polite and kind - all the qualities of a Mensch!
Project Chesed and Senior Prom
This week the 9th graders in Project Chesed took a field trip to visit Silver Sky Assisted Living. Students spent the first half of the time talking with and getting to know the older adults. They then brought out a Karaoke machine to provide the residents with a little musical entertainment. The residents enjoyed putting in song requests, and had a fun time singing along with the 9th graders. A few of the residents even joined the students on stage and decided to lead some songs as well! Both the students and residents had a lot of fun, and a second field trip is already in the works for second semester.
On Thursday, Upper School Assistant Principals, Mr. Koch and Ms. Joyner met with 8th-grade students to share about the Visit Day program coming up in January.  On four dates, small groups of 8th graders will spend a day in the high school experiencing classes, such as humanities, biology, foreign language, and one of our offered majors.  Ms. Garrett, Mr. Wilde, Mr. Philippus, and Ms. Sherman discussed the challenging coursework that Adelson high schoolers are taking on in the Pre-Med, Tech and Entrepreneurship, Communications Arts, and Pre-Law majors.   Students submitted interests forms that will be used to tailor a customized experience for the program in January.

High School Shabbat Sing Along with JK & 2nd Grade
This week our High School students welcomed the JK & 2nd graders to our Friday High School Shabbat for singing, dancing, and a fun time! We were fortunate to have DJ Sinai from Temple Beth Sholom lead all of our students in a sing along that was made up of six different songs. The Lower School students brought their noise makers and scarves, and gave the High School students a taste of what a typical Lower School Friday Shabbat looks and feels like. All students had lots of fun, and we hope to continue implementing activities that bring the Upper School and Lower School students and staff together. The Upper School would like to thank the JK and 2nd grade students and teachers for a great time, lots of smiles and laughs, and some wonderful memories.
Our Upper School students have been diligently preparing for semester exams next week.  We know this can be a time of increased stress and anxiety, and parents often question how they can best help their child through this time.
Please know that all of our teachers, counselors and educational specialist will be available to meet with students during exam week from 12:30-3:10.  Students can make individual appointments with their teachers to take advantage of the extra assistance and support.

This Week in Upper School 12/3-12/7, 2018

News Type:  Upper School News Date:  Friday, December 7, 2018 Byline:  Upper School Team
This week, some of our sixth-grade students were in for a special treat when their Judaics teacher in Israel, Rabbi Tal Segal, took them for a tour of the Jewish Quarter of the Old City in Jerusalem.  The students were excited to see the festive lights for HanuKkah and even sang traditional songs with a street musician. Another special surprise was when their teacher went into a donut shop to buy a donut and then "shared" a donut with the students here in Las Vegas!   On a moving note, students recited the Al HaNisim blessing with candles near the Western Wall before the end of the field trip. This was all possible thanks to special coordination with our faculty here in Las Vegas and the teachers in Israel with the Bonim B'Yachad program.
The annual tradition of Open Mic Night continued with many talented acts on display.   The event was held on the 3rd-floor landing which was transformed to resemble a café. All were invited to wear their ugly sweaters and enjoy an evening of music and talent.  Hot chocolate, coffee, tea, and cookies were served. The 2018 Open Mic Night Performance Winner was Jacob Granados and the 2018 Open Mic Ugly Sweater Winner was Monica Zhong.
A few of our middle school students were fortunate enough to have a Friday seminar taught by two of our AEC seniors, Mordechai S., and Dana B.  These seniors taught and engaged students in the concept of supply and demand using interactive games, technology, and real-world applications. What wonderful mentors our upperclassman are!
Mensch of the Month for High School:
Taylor King (12th grade) was nominated for putting so much effort into the Grad Night idea and spending her own time organizing the service event.
Sean Atias (1oth grade) was nominated for always being a hard worker who perseveres when obstacles present themselves.  He always strives to be a better student every day.
Mensch of the Month for Middle School:
Kenley Gowdy was nominated for always volunteering to help out in the classroom without being asked. Chris Chakryan was nominated for his continued drive to learn, participate and support his peers when they need help.
The student service team will offer special workshops for upper school students next week during exam review week.  Mr. Hemsworth, the Upper School Educational Specialist will provide a workshop on Test Taking Strategies and Counselors, Ms. Paxinos and Ms. Pagel will conduct a workshop focusing on Managing Test Anxiety.  Please encourage your student to attend these workshops.
First semester exams are fast approaching, so here is some helpful information to help you prepare!  


This Week in Upper School 11/26-11/30, 2018

News Type:  Upper School News Date:  Friday, November 30, 2018 Byline:  Upper School Team

HS Adventure Dome: Our High School students had a great time at Adventure Dome this past Wednesday! There were so many smiles, and so much laughter. It was wonderful to see our students having such a great time outside of school with their peers and teachers. We are looking forward to the overnight High School field trip that was rescheduled for second semester, and appreciate your flexibility and understanding with this change. 

Modern Israel classes’ Streams of Zionism PBL project presentations occurred this week.  In order to understand the complexity of Israel today, it is important to understand the different ideologies that came together and created  our current Israel. Students choose a philosophy of Zionism and highlighted the main ideologies of those leaders in order to create a utopian Israel.  Students had to critically devise, create and present what utopian Israel would look like today if there was one prevailing Zionist ideology. In their creations, some students used the Start-Up Incubator to create 3-D printing models, some used their experience in Israel this summer, and some integrated knowledge they are currently learning in a Civil Law class.  
A Message from the College Counselor:  As we anxiously await the results of the Early Decision and Early Action applications for the Class of 2019, it is important that all remaining college applications be submitted prior to the start of Winter Break, 12/21. For the Class of 2020, I anticipate PSAT results to be released next week, and I invite parents to schedule a time to meet with me to discuss those results and begin planning for spring SAT and ACT examinations. And a reminder, juniors should be working on their resumes! Please contact Mr. Girard with any questions or to schedule an appointment:

24 Upper School students went to the Three Square Food Bank alongside Student Council and Ms. Moyal to serve in the Backpack for Kids Program. We packed 3,700 bags of food for students who do not have enough to eat on the weekends. 



This Week in Upper School 11/19-11/21, 2018

News Type:  Upper School News Date:  Wednesday, November 21, 2018 Byline:  Upper School Team

We wish all of our families a most Happy Thanksgiving.  Among our many blessings is the joy of teaching your children and getting to participate in the growth of our students.  We hope you have a restful break and look forward to seeing you back on Monday.
A special thank you to our Care, Share and Inspire community partner Dr. Master for her presentation about being a veterinarian.  Our middle school students discovered all of the science necessary to be a veterinarian and asked thoughtful and insightful questions.  Thank you to veterinarians like Dr. Master who help keep animals healthy for us to enjoy.
The entire school was treated to a Q & A with some of the cast of “The Lion King” today!  It was exciting to hear about their experiences with the show, their favorite numbers in the show, and about their respective journeys from high school to Broadway. And if that wasn't exciting enough, the dance captain called some of the cast of AEC’s production of “Annie” to come on stage to learn one of the dances from the show.  After, the high school performing arts majors were treated to a Q & A with the cast during their class. Special shout out to Ms. Dingle and Mr. Philippus who have also worked on the show and brought them to us today.


This Week in Upper School 11/12-11/16, 2018

News Type:  Upper School News Date:  Friday, November 16, 2018 Byline:  Upper School Team
Poetry Slam 2018
We were thrilled to welcome back Clark County Poet Laureate Vogue Robinson and Battle Born Slam Emcee AJ Moyer to our campus for the fourth year in a row. During their brief residency, these visiting poets guided Adelson high school students in creative writing workshops over two days that focused on craft, structure, content and performance. Our guests then hosted a poetry slam on the third day of their visit, with all high school students and faculty present in the audience. Once again, we were all wowed by the students’ confidence and commitment to their writing and performances. We could not be more pleased with the event this year, and thank all of those who were responsible for making the workshops and performance an Adelson tradition. Congratulations to ninth-grader Jonah Tecktiel, who won the slam!
Veteran’s Day Program
A unique Veterans Day presentation gave students the opportunity to learn how animals have been used in warfare and how dogs are used in the military and in other security settings today.  Mr. Harrell of Off the Leash K9 Training spoke to our Upper School students about his experiences as a dog handler finding mines in Afghanistan and Iraq. He shared how his skills have transferred to civilian life and gave a lively demonstration with a local hospital guard dog.
Care, Share and Inspire
Mr. Oliver Lovat presented to our high school students: An introduction to Strategic Thinking: How businesses get you to buy their products, and how you can be smarter than the average customer.  Mr. Mark Bodner shared Information Matters: Revolutionizing the Construction INdustry through Adoption of Technology.
9th Grade Project Chesed
Students enjoyed some time in the sunshine will decorating our sidewalks with all the things they are thankful for this year. 
Banking Guest Speakers
Two Branch Managers from nearby Chase Banks visited seniors in Mr. Hemsworth’s Financial Math class today.  Over the past two weeks, students researched Banking & Checking Accounts and were eager to meet banking professionals.  Many students were excited to learn they could become bank tellers when they turn 18! The class also discussed the pros and cons of credit cards, what affects a credit score, and even learned how the bank vault is opened!  

MS Spirit Week 

This week Middle School students enjoyed Spirit Week hosted by the Middle School Student Council.  Events were Games themed, with “Cards Day”, “Game Character Day”, and “Clue Day”. The highlight of the week was Game Night on Wednesday.  Student Council members Noa Lovat, Michael Harouni, Ash Abrahamson, Britohn Blank, Jack Kim, Te’yah Graham, Nicole Miller, Jadyn Garshofsky, and Alex Amid displayed their skills as game show hosts as student teams competed in “Family Feud” and individual students showed their musical knowledge in “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!”.  The highest scoring team of “Family Feud” consisted of Justice Reisman, Molly Finkel, and Alyssa Falkenshammer. The winner of “Don’t Forget the Lyrics!” was Emily Rahim, who displayed an impressive knowledge of popular songs from the 50s, 60s, and 70s!


This Week in Upper School 11/5-11/9, 2018

News Type:  Upper School News Date:  Friday, November 9, 2018 Byline:  Upper School Team

On October 27, the Jewish community was attacked by an anti-Semitic perpetrator, murdering 11 innocent lives, at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Multiple schools across the nation participated in wearing all blue to school, spreading awareness about antisemitism. We made this a Tikun Olam project, by asking all students who chose to wear blue free dress, donate a dollar. We raised a total of $450, that will be donated to the Tree of Life Synagogue.
If you would like to donate to this cause and are unsure where to send your donation, AEC Student Council would be happy to take care of it.  Please contact Bailey Kermani, Student Council President at

A group of AEC teachers are now visiting the Lauder Javne Iskola in Budapest, Hungary to launch the High School Morim Limmud program with SOS International. SOS International is an educational travel experience with the goal to bridge and establish a network between American Jews and European Jews through educational programming.

View the SOS International BLOG



MIDDLE SCHOOL SEMINAR: American Artist Wayne Thiebaud
This week, Middle School students learned about American Artist Wayne Thiebaud, best known for his nostalgic confection paintings. After learning about Thiebaud's subject matter and style, students were asked to draw a confection of their choice using his same likeness using oil pastels on black paper. Students then built a 3D version of their rendering.
The art assignment requires students to:
1. Choose a confection to draw: cupcake, cake, pie, ice cream, etc.
2. Use a pencil to plan out single drawing on paper. Use ellipses, triangles, and other shapes to create similar effect to Thiebaud. Plan additional decorations: icing, cherries, designs, etc to enhance sweet. 
3. Use oil pastels to draw and color in confection.
4. Recreate a mini 3D version of your creation.
See the results ----->>
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