Student Programs

Activities

In addition to the formal classroom learning that takes place at Akiba-Schechter, students also elect to participate in various extra-curricular activities. Most of these take place during lunch or after-school, on the students’ own time.

When asked which activities they most remember about Akiba, alumni often reply: “Color War,” “the musical,” or “Shabbatons” (weekend retreats). So much of student life happens outside the classroom. We invite you to visit us, join our community, and see a day in the life of an Akiba-Schechter student.

ISRAEL TRIP
Every year, our 8th grade class fundraises for a trip to Israel where they explore the country and practice their Hebrew. It is a great time to build connections with each other and experience the Jewish homeland.
OUTDOOR EDUCATION/CAMPING
Outdoor education holds great significance for Akiba-Schechter students as it offers unique opportunities for holistic growth and enriched learning experiences. By engaging with the natural world, students develop a deep sense of environmental stewardship, fostering a connection to nature and an appreciation for its beauty and sustainability. Additionally, being outdoors cultivates a sense of wonder, curiosity, and resilience, as students encounter new challenges and adapt to different environments.
DESIGN CHALLENGE
Our monthly mishpachot design challenges embody the core of our approach to education. This student-led, multi-age tradition provides space for students to practice creativity, collaboration, effective communication, problem-solving, and perseverance–all while strengthening their relationships across grade levels. Designed and led by 7th and 8th graders, design challenges have ranged from building bird feeders from milk cartons to planning Passover skits to using found materials to recreate our mishpachot namesakes in Israel.

Mishpachot
Grades K-8 and Akiba faculty are divided into 8 family units, or Mishpachot, where they get together for a monthly Shabbat lunch, or team-building events like color wars. Older students are paired up with their younger buddies and mentor them.

“I love being around the school; I wish I could have gone there when I was young. The feeling of love and community that I experience there is honest, never contrived and all too rare.”
John Sefner, Parent

The Buddy Program

One way we create community at Akiba is through our Buddy Program. This innovative program promotes inter-age, authentic relationships between our oldest and youngest students. This pairs 6th-8th graders with 1st/2nd graders; 3rd/4th graders with Kindergarten students; and 1st/2nd graders with 4 year olds.

Mimicking our existing inter-age programs like multi-age classes, flexible ability-groupings, and middle school students teaching the preschoolers about various holiday events, we paired our older students with younger “buddies.” Third and 4th graders are each assigned a buddy in Kindergarten; 7th and 8th graders are assigned a buddy in 1st and 2nd grade. This gives older students an opportunity to develop leadership skills, and younger students get to know an older student better.

Students participate in a medley of buddy activities throughout the year. On Rosh Chodesh, for instance (the beginning of the Hebrew month), older buddies pick up their younger charges from their classrooms and eat breakfast with them. Before Chanukah, they make latkes and decorate the halls together. In the spring, they listen to their young buddies practice Hebrew reading. They even go roller skating together on Shushan Purim (the day after Purim). In return, the younger buddies make special goodbye gifts for the 8th graders when they leave for their trip to Israel.

When we began the buddy program several years ago, we knew it would be reassuring for 1st graders to hold an older buddy’s hand entering Loeb Hall on the first Rosh Chodesh of the year, when more than 100 children have breakfast together. We were pleasantly surprised how beneficial being a younger child’s buddy was for our 7th/8th graders. Before we initiated the Buddy Program, our upperclassmen tended to sit among themselves during Rosh Chodesh breakfasts. What 13-year-old wouldn’t? As older buddies, however, they became leaders for a younger cohort. In fact, when assigned their buddies for the year—a much-awaited and exciting moment—these older students ask all sorts of questions: “What will I say?” – “How can I make a 1st grader feel comfortable?” – “What if my buddy cries?” In essence, they’re thinking like adults. After every “buddy” event, not only do our 1st and 2nd graders look with adoring eyes at their older friends, but our 7th/8th graders also stand a little taller.

Perhaps the best part of the Buddy Program is that top-down scheduled events have encouraged bottom-up, organic relationships between older and younger students, so that the fabric of our school—indeed, our community—is authentic, sustainable, and strong.

Akiba-Schechter Wolves

Akiba-Schechter is the proud home of the WOLVES! Wolves are pack animals who work as a team, much like our athletes both on and off the court!  Come cheer on our Akiba-Schechter Girls’ and Boys’ Basketball Teams!

2022-2023 Girls’ Schedule

11/10 4:45pm @ Lycee Francais de Chicago, 1929 W Wilson Ave, Chicago

11/14 4:30pm @ CJDS, 3730 N California Ave, Chicago

11/29 5pm @ Latin School of Chicago, 59 W North Blvd, Chicago

12/6 4pm @ UChicago Lab School, 1362 E 59th St, Chicago

1/9 4:45pm @ Hillel Torah Jewish Day School, 7120 Laramie Ave, Skokie

1/10 4:00pm @ UChicago Lab School, 1362 E 59th St, Chicago

1/18 4:45pm @ Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School, 3210 Dundee Road, Northbrook

2/2 4:00pm @ Ancona School, CSO Sports Multiplex, 1301 E 47th Street, Chicago

February 23 – February 26: Jewish National Basketball Tournament
Location: Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
Times TBD

2022-2023 Boys’ Schedule

11/10 5:45pm @ Lycee Francais de Chicago, 1929 W Wilson Ave, Chicago

11/14 5th/6th Grade 5:30 PM, 7th/8th Grade 6:30 PM @ CJDS, 3730 N California Ave, Chicago

11/29 6pm @ Latin School of Chicago, 59 W North Blvd, Chicago

12/6 5pm @ UChicago Lab School, 1362 E 59th St, Chicago

1/9 5:45pm @ Hillel Torah Jewish Day School, 7120 Laramie Ave, Skokie

1/10 5:00pm @ UChicago Lab School, 1362 E 59th St, Chicago

1/18 5:45pm @ Solomon Schechter Jewish Day School, 3210 Dundee Road, Northbrook

2/2 5:00pm @ Ancona School, CSO Sports Multiplex, 1301 E 47th Street, Chicago

February 23 – February 26: Jewish National Basketball Tournament
Location: Rochelle Zell Jewish High School
Times TBD