Planning for a New School Year

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.

There are some scheduling components that happen every year and I think it bears mention this year as well. As our recent 7th graders become B’nai Mitzvah, we look forward to welcoming them into our Chai School program as 8th graders, which meets Wednesday evenings.  Last year’s 4th graders, rising 5th graders, finally get to sleep in on Sunday mornings as they join the second session on Sundays, with classes starting at 10:30am. Children that will be in third grade begin the formal learning of Hebrew and begin to attend our school two days a week, on Wednesdays for Hebrew School and on Sundays for Religious School. These developmental milestones are rites of passage in their own way, and important information to have when planning for a new year! With our planning for the new school year, we are hoping to try to stick to a fairly typical schedule, though we are also thinking “outside of the box” and coming up with some new and creative ideas of educating the students of Congregation Shalom. Once a plan and schedule are created, I will be sharing it with you!

If you have still not filled out your registration forms for next year, please do so as soon as possible. Thank you to everybody who have turned in their forms and to those of you who answered the three questions about school next year. Please reach out to me if you have any thoughts about the school for this coming year.

Be on the lookout in the coming weeks for more information about many programs being planned for the month of Elul, as we all prepare for the High Holidays. This year we will be offering a variety of family friendly programs, allowing you to engage in conversation, interaction, exploration, and introspection as we head into the Jewish New Year.

I hope the final month of summer brings you great joy and much health and happiness.