Faculty Spotlight: Debbie Alper, Grade 4 Lead Teacher

by | Jan 11, 2024 | Alumni Class Notes, Learning, Lower School

In your 12 years of working here, what are some things that are new at Rashi and what are some things that are the same?


I have been teaching at Rashi for 12 years; ten years in Grade 2 and currently in year two teaching Grade 4. It was my daughter Amelia that brought me to The Rashi School. In 2011, she left public school and became a Rashi 5th grade student. As a life-long career public school teacher I had always been a champion of public schools. I was trepidacious about moving my daughter to a private school. Both Amelia and I fell in love with The Rashi School, and I subsequently jumped at the chance to join the community as an educator. I had never experienced a school that had a soul. Rashi’s soul was immediately palpable as a living and breathing life force of the school. I felt embraced by a community of educators, staff and families that while diverse in many ways, shared a commitment to social justice and Tikkun Olam (repairing the world). While much has changed over the years, the communal work towards creating a better world remains at the heart of the school. Children’s lives continue to be enriched by being immersed in Jewish values, being tangibly connected to the elderly and continually participating in acts of social justice. These things brought me to Rashi. These things keep me at Rashi.


When you think of Rashi Alumni, what words or thoughts come to mind?


I am lucky enough to remain connected to many Rashi Alumni, my daughter among them. Like Amelia, I know many Rashi-bred young adults who continue to look at the world through a lens of continuous learning, helping and justice. Rashi graduates are deep thinkers who become leaders and activists who contribute to the world in meaningful ways. I am proud to be a small part of the legacy children take with them when they graduate from our school.

What are some of your favorite things about being a Grade 4 Lead Teacher at Rashi?


I love teaching fourth graders! Kids at this age are on the cusp of embracing themselves as people and as learners. As part of our Grade 4 focus on The U.N. Sustainability Goal #7 (affordable and clean energy) the children study renewable energy. As they experiment with all types of energy it is exciting to watch them make connections to how climate changes affect all living things on earth. They become inspired to be true innovators to help address many of the world’s problems. As they work towards building and sustaining their own small community of kindness and caring with our classrooms, I can easily envision how they will bring these qualities into all facets of their lives. Teaching Torah, helping them become writers with their own unique voices and watching them develop into thinking historians gives me much needed hope in all of our futures.