Health & Wellness

April 2022

Amanda Kagan

What is your position at Golda Och?
I am a math teacher for 2nd and 4th grades.

What did you do before coming to GOA?
I have been teaching for 15 years! I have taught in Northern Virginia and New York City prior to coming to Golda Och Academy.

What are some of your favorite healthy foods?
Fruit (strawberries, bananas), greek yogurt, Kind Bars, hummus, salads.

What do you like to do in your free time to relax and reduce stress?
I love to run when I have time, I would love to sign up for a race and train for it! I play and walk in the park with my two young kids. Sometimes to de-stress I watch a favorite TV show or cross stitch!

Springtime in the Garden

Director of Aftercare & Funtracks Jul McCormick-Anesh writes, "In our GOA garden we learn how to grow fruits, vegetables and flowers. According to the National Institute of Health, gardening combines physical activity with social interaction and exposure to nature and sunlight. In our garden, students are able to work in groups and independently on every aspect of gardening. Learning to grow things is a skill these students will carry with them for a lifetime."

Here are a few resources about the healthful benefits of gardening:

Seed, Soil, and Sun: Discovering the Many Healthful Benefits of Gardening

7 Benefits of Gardening That Prove It Helps Your Mind and Body
And ... April showers bring May flowers ... Fact or Fiction?

SEL In Action

Recently, Gan has been learning about emotions. After reading the story The Color Monster, students in Gan learned about strategies that can be used to help our minds and bodies calm down when feeling a strong or difficult emotion. One strategy students in Gan have been using is calm cards. Students ​slowly trace the pattern on a calm card to help their minds and bodies slow down.

Students in 2nd grade have been learning about empathy. They learned that you can have empathy for someone, no matter where they live and no matter what their own relationship to the person is. As a fun activity, students created "Empathy Shoes" to remind them of how important it is to take a walk in someone else's shoes.

Lunchtime Poll

How do GOA faculty find ways to lower their own personal stress levels?
Dr. Klein exercises to de-stress. He used to draw and sculpt, but hasn't in a while. More recently, Dr. Klein enjoys researching possible new inventions, and he likes to work on projects around the house.
Mrs. Ulric chooses to read books on her personal time – which makes sense! She also loves to pet her dogs for relaxation.
Mr. Hefetz loves to doodle. He finds peace by focusing on a simple task such as a small drawing or sketch.
Mrs. Smith takes long walks to lower her stress level. She, too, enjoys a good book, as well.
Mrs. Altabef loves to find a good book to escape into. She also practices yoga and meditation at home.
Mr. Ober turns on his favorite music and let’s it soothe his mind.
Mrs. Jankoski knits and crochets to keep calm. She practices a mantra of acceptance. “You can’t control all of life.”
Mr. Anderson exercises on an elliptical machine in the winter, and prefers to jog outside in the warmer months.

Health & Wellness Committee Members

List of 10 members.

  • Photo of Roberta Coopersmith

    Roberta Coopersmith 

    Nurse, Lower School
  • Photo of Danielle Greene

    Danielle Greene 

    General Studies Faculty and SEL Facilitator, Lower School
  • Photo of Lori Jaffe

    Lori Jaffe 

    Director of Student Services
  • Photo of Donna Karp

    Donna Karp 

    Guidance Counselor, Lower School
  • Photo of Ilena Kasdan

    Ilena Kasdan 

    Nurse, Upper School
  • Photo of Robert Klein

    Robert Klein 

    Learning Specialist, Upper School
  • Photo of Diane Kleinman

    Diane Kleinman 

    Judaic Studies Faculty, Lower School
  • Photo of Jason Langer

    Jason Langer 

    Language Arts Faculty, Upper School
  • Photo of Elisa Schenker

    Elisa Schenker 

    Guidance Counselor, Upper School
  • Photo of Gail Shapiro

    Gail Shapiro 

    Dean of Faculty, Upper School