On Thursday, I attended a phone conference where the Governor Gina Raimondo announced that, based on current medical advise and review, she announced that “All schools will be closed for the rest of the year.” In my letter below, I will outline our continued “distance learning plan."
Welcome back to virtual school. I hope that you and your children are doing well. These past few weeks have been most challenging for parents, children, and staff. Over Yom Tov I had the opportunity to see many of you on your socially-distanced Yom Tov strolls. As I pass by occasionally on the street, I am proud to say that most of our children are practicing social distancing while taking advantage of a needed stroll. When I look at the list of hundreds in the tristate area who have lost their lives, I am forced to remind all families to continue following the local advice of the governor and medical experts so that we can help our local families to stay safe.
The challenges we face include hearing about and praying for various cholim every day, and unfortunately sharing words of nechomoh, condolences, with many families that have lost a loved one. The entire day-school family worldwide suffered the loss of the Novominsker Rebbe, Rabbi Yaakov Perlow z”tl, who was an outstanding mechanech and member of the Torah Umesorah Vaad of Roshei Yeshivah. His finger was always on the pulse and his advice to schools was legendary – yehi zichro boruch. Our families also send condolences to the entire Kushner family and to Brittany and Cynthia on the passing of their father over Yom Tov. At shivah the girls shared many stories of their father’s commitment to Torah and mitzvos. His memory is a source of inspiration to us all and we wish the girls a complete nechomoh.
I would like to thank Mrs. Weiner, Rabbi Lapin, and Rabbi and Mrs. Brown for their extraordinary help in doing the impossible – preparing packets in less than a day for the entire school. Special thanks to all the teachers and Mrs. Frazier, who are giving themselves b’lev vonefesh, heart and soul, for the school to create the safest and best learning environment for our students. The approach of the entire staff is working with each other “all hands on deck” toward a common goal.
As I am working remotely, I am on the computer most of the day. Please feel free to contact me if you want to share feedback, if you have any questions, or if your children can check in for a minute and say hello.
Rabbi Scheinerman virtual office – daily 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.:
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 786 7436 1762
I am also available by email at [email protected].
Distance Learning Update
Over the course of Yom Tov a team of lay leaders and I worked with our IT professional to procure devices that were hard to come by, as they were not available for purchase. We in turn found units on Amazon and purchased units one by one or in groups from multiple vendors. Many have arrived and the balance should be here by Sunday, where they will be prepared for deployment. I would like to thank NEAT Inc. for donating more than fifty Chromebooks. I am immensely grateful to several other parents who have donated funds toward helping us reach our goal of one hundred computers that are needed. All donations to this fund are greatly appreciated. We have learned much from other schools on how to run the safest, most secure, and most meaningful environment for our students.
Mrs. Weiner and Rabbi Lapin will be sending you your Zoom schedules. Monday will be a staff development day with packet / recorded learning arranged for students. We will also send out a schedule for pickup of your next educational packet, as well as your Chromebook order.
Distance Learning Guidelines
Please be aware that each of these units costs the school $300 to purchase, license, and set up. These devices will be on loan, and each family will have to sign a contract accepting responsibility for them. The contract will outline that in the event of breakage you will be responsible for a fee of $300 to replace the device. When distance learning ends – hopefully soon – you will be required to return the Chromebooks to the school. We are training our teachers, and total implementation and the utilization of all features will take continued time, training, and practice.
We are preparing a digital citizenship policy for all students that outlines our goals and expectations for their attendance in our online distance-learning program. Some of the most important rules are that after logging in:
- Upon entering Zoom, students must write their full names in order to be admitted to the class and attendance will be taken at every class.
- Your video must always be on during class.
- You must be appropriately dressed for class.
- Student behavior on screen is crucial so that there is a conducive learning environment for all students. Many classes will be muted for all students. To ask a question students will use the raise hand feature to be acknowledged but each teacher will have their own set of rules for their class.
- We advise all families purchase or use an inexpensive headset, which can be purchased at the Dollar Store.
- Any additional items will be listed on the student contract.
With the best of filtering, our IT professional and all schools remind parents to be watching their children and ideally students should always be working in open and visible spots. We will be running a parent training as well, once units are in your hands. We will also be sending you a log-in direction sheet.
Mrs. Schochet Counseling and Support
If you or your children would like to schedule a slot with Mrs. Schochet on Zoom for Tuesdays, please contact her at [email protected]. We are still trying to arrange for the counseling interns to be available as well.
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Best wishes for a meaningful and relaxing Shabbos!
Rabbi Peretz Scheinerman