Keeping Connected with our Ed Director
February 2021 Keeping Connected
Hello School Community Friends,
The transition to being fully remote for a period of time seems to have gone smoothly. Thank you to everybody for your continued support, patience and flexibility.
Our goal is to always create engaging, interactive and informative class sessions. This seems like an appropriate time of the year to remind everyone of best practices for attending remote classes. Please review these expectations with your students to help all of us continue to provide the best Jewish education possible given the circumstances.
- Come to class prepared with textbooks, Hebrew papers, paper, pencil and any other supplies that a teacher might request for a certain week.
- Come to class sitting up right, in a position that shows kavod and the willingness to learn in class.
- Turn on your video screen. It is much more engaging for the teacher and all the students to be able to see everyone and make connections.
- Turn on your audio so that participation in class is able to occur. Make sure that your student is sitting close enough so that they can be heard.
- Clear your work space for class so that there are no temptations to participate in other activities. Put your phone away. Please do not play other games on the computer (or on any device) while in class.
- Respect the use of the Chat room and other Zoom functions.
If you know of another suggestion that will help to create conducive and engaging learning environments, please let me know.More
January 2021 Keeping Connected
As we begin a new calendar year, I have been taking time to reflect on the first half of the school year. As we all know, it has been a school year like no other, filled with challenges, changes, uncertainty and the need for lots of flexibility. I feel great pride for how our students, families, teachers and larger community have met these challenges with great success. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the difficult aspects of the world we are living in that I think we don’t always see the goodness that is also all around us. I have made a concerted effort during this past month to observe and acknowledge these good things. There have been so many but I will share a few (18) here with you in no particular order.
- Our school community and larger temple community pulled together with great generosity and caring with donations made to cover the cost of a Christmas meal for our friends living in Senior Housing in Chelmsford. I was touched and rendered speechless by the outpouring of support for this meal.
- A 7th grader took the initiative to organize the 7th grade class to take a night to light the new BIG Hanukkah menorah.
- A temple family was in the drive-thru lane at Dunkin Donuts. The car in front of them paid for their food. The next time they were in the drive – thru, one of our young students reminded her mother of this, and she and her family paid for the car behind them.
October 2020 Keeping Connected
Religious School and Hebrew School are well underway, having had a successful start to the year. As you know, this year has brought us many challenges that are new to all of us. The teachers and I are continually reflecting on the classes and making changes and accommodations as needed. As always, our goal is to create a fun and engaging learning environment that supports the mission of working towards a lifelong love of learning about Judaism. Thank you to everyone for your patience, flexibility and support as we continue our journey into unchartered territory.
Questions that have come up (or questions you may be thinking about):
How will I know if class is inside or outside on Sunday mornings? – Every Sunday a note will be sent out at 7am that communicates the plans for the morning. In addition, the note includes the links into the classes for the morning. (The links are the same every week, unless you hear differently from a teacher.) As a general rule, if the temperature is going to be below 50 degrees by 9am on class day, classes will be held inside.
Will I get a reminder each week for my Wednesday Hebrew student’s time of class? – No, you will not be receiving weekly reminders. (If you think you need one, please let me know.) As of now, until you hear directly from me or a teacher, the times for the Wednesday sessions will be remaining the same each week. Please mark your calendars so that your students do not miss this important learning time with their teachers and classmates. (The links for these meetings are also the same each week.)More
October 2020 Keeping Connected
L’shana tova to you and your families. I hope the start of the new year has brought you some renewal, joy and a sense of moving forward during these times of unusual circumstances. It was awesome to see so many families join us in our Yom Rishon Parking Lot School kick off and it was really great to tune in with the students on Zoom for the first day of Hebrew School. We are hoping to be able to plan more safe and engaging events for our school community as the year progresses.
It has been a very busy time with the planning and implementing of Religious and Hebrew School. Thank you for your patience and understanding as all the information is shared. Also, thank you for your flexibility with various changes that have and will continue to happen as we forge ahead with some new ways of providing Jewish education for you and your children. A lot of information will continue to be sent to you through email this year to allow us to work together to create a connection and a working relationship with the school and your family. Please take the time to read your school emails.More
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