Keeping Connected with our Ed Director
September 2020 Keeping Connected
Some things change and some things stay the same. As in every September, we find ourselves preparing for the start of a new school year. This is the same each year. Unfortunately, for this year, there are so many changes involved with the idea of school for our students. Families are struggling with decisions about what is best for their situation. Schools are working through ways to best continue the education of our youth while also being guided by the health and safety of our communities. These are no small tasks and not to be taken lightly.
The planning for the reopening of Congregation Shalom Religious and Hebrew School began the moment we finished up classes last spring. Many people have been involved in this process, ending up with a program that we are excited to implement in the coming months.More
August 2020 Keeping Connected
During this time of working from home, I have actually had the great pleasure of working from a room in my house with windows that look to the outside from many sides. From my desk, I can see squirrels, bunnies and chipmunks exploring in my yard. I often get an inside view of the travels of our resident groundhog, as it forages around for something good to eat. I see and hear the birds flitting about and catch glimpses of my people running, walking and biking. I have the best view of a summer rainstorm. These have been difficult months for many but enjoying these simple pleasures each day really help me to find some joy and comfort during such an unsettling time. I hope that you and your family have been able to find some time during this summer season to rest, relax, spend time together with friends and family and count your own blessings.
Meanwhile, time flies … when you are busy planning for a new school year! So many people have been working together to figure out the best plans for our school for the new year, though at the time of this writing, there are still no specific plans in place (though we are getting closer!) I can assure you that the planning process considers, first and foremost, the health, safety and well-being of our entire Congregation Shalom community. I also can tell you that we will continue to strive to create an environment that encourages the love of learning, supports our students socially and emotionally, and sets forth an atmosphere of enjoyment and celebration.More
July 2020 Keeping Connected
I hope you have all made a smooth transition into the summer months. There are two things to remind you about before you become too comfortable with the relaxed feelings of summer days and nights – School Registration and Hebrew Practice!
School Registration Packets for next year had a requested due date of July 1, 2020. If you have not returned your registration forms yet, please do so. Download Registration Packet from our website here. This will allow us to move ahead with plans for the next school year. I understand that so many pieces of our lives are up in the air and no one really knows what next week, next month or next school year will look like. I can assure you that I have been hard at work figuring out the plans for school. I have been participating in numerous programs with many other Jewish educators who are sharing thoughts and ideas with deep thinking, care and concern. I am working closely with the Rabbi, along with the School Committee, teachers, parents and other educators. We are coming up with some new and creative ways of continuing to share learning experiences with each other. We will create a program that meets our temple’s mission statement with a strong commitment to education. Though it will look a little different, I am really excited for next year. Plans will be shared with you as soon as possible.More
What a great way to end the school year! Everyone’s contributions and support of this year’s tzedakah project helped us to surpass our goal for the year. Our school community ended up raising well over $1000 to be donated to the NEADS organization. This money will help to train puppies to become service dogs and will help people to be able to obtain a service dog. Great work everyone!
Our Religious and Hebrew School programs have ended for this year with great fanfare! One Sunday morning near the end of the year, our entire school community gathered together for a big Zoom assembly in which some students shared their talents, we celebrated our tzedakah project and enjoyed all being together. It was a very moving morning for all. We ended Hebrew School with the traditional Torah Passing, from the 7th graders down to the 6th graders! This is a tradition at Congregation Shalom and we continued it this year, with a new twist. The Torah was passed down through a virtual video that was put together, allowing each 7th grader to pass down words of wisdom (and a Torah) and each 6thgrader receiving the Torah and sharing their hopes for the future. We also finished the year with a whole school spirit week from afar. Students and staff dressed up during the week in various themes and shared photos online. It really did feel like we were together with great spirit even while we were apart. All in all, it was a very successful school year. Thank you to the students, families, staff and larger temple community for working together to create a year of great joy, learning and laughter.More
May 2020 Keeping Connected
“Can you hear me?”
“Would you unmute yourself?”
“We can’t hear you, you are still muted?”
“Can you see my shared screen?”
“Can you hear the video?”
“Would you please move your camera so that we can see your face?”
“Would you please repeat that? You are breaking up.”
“Sorry. Only one person can talk at a time.”
“I can’t hear you. Please get closer to your microphone.”
“Is that your cat walking across your desk?”
These phrases are probably not unfamiliar to any of our students or to you. Teaching remotely has certainly taught us a lot about patience, tolerance, and kindness with each other. It has also brought us a lot of joy and laughter, as we would not really be able to do this remote teaching without a bit of a sense of humor to help us through each class and each week!More
April 2020 Keeping Connected
It is ironic that we are all supposed to “stay-at-home,” yet the Congregation Shalom students and teachers have been “zooming” in and out of Religious School and Hebrew School for the past few weeks! As you know, our school has rolled out our own version of Distance Learning and I am pleased to say that it has been a very successful beginning. The teachers have worked so hard to get this program up and running. They have put in countless hours to implement this new way of teaching and learning. The families have been incredibly supportive. We have seen joy and enthusiasm from the students during the virtual classes. It is lovely to hear the students saying hello to each other as their classmates’ faces pop up on the screen. One of our favorite quotes of the week was when a young student was just about to end his virtual learning and said, “This was the best Hebrew class EVER!” I have already communicated a lot with you over the past few weeks about our plans but please bear with us as we continue to make changes here and there to create a smooth program for everyone. Many many thanks to everyone!More