Dear Ezra Families,
The past week has been a difficult one for all of us, yet never have I been so proud of belonging to the Ezra Community. The students, parents and most of all, our amazing faculty and staff have been functioning seamlessly. We had our last day of school last Thursday. On Friday morning, at 8:30, school began online!
Now truth be told, we had been planning for the past few weeks, anticipating, but hoping against hope, that we would not need to use any of our long distance learning plans. Well, thank goodness we were ready. Unlike other schools and school systems we were up and running from the work go. This did not come about easily. I want to give credit where it is due. Our teachers have been working long, arduous hours to morph their teaching styles, curriculum and ideas about teaching and learning into this new format. We are all a bit exhausted but at our faculty meeting yesterday, I feel it is safe to say, all were feeling as though they had accomplished just what they had set out to do. We are delivering an engaging, enriching and consistent education to our students.
And, as for all of you, well you have been equally enthusiastic and a true joy to work with. Parents are completely supporting their children, making sure they are at their screens when it is called for, and even supervising PE, music and art classes! They are helping us by giving us feedback on what is and is not working for their children and we are using that information to alter and tailor our programming for the students. Our students, as always, are what make it all worthwhile. They are having the opportunity to show us their resilience, their commitment to their learning and to making the most of a difficult situation. I do believe that our online learning is, in many ways, a relief and provides continuity and purpose to their lives in an uncertain time.
I would like to share some of the highlights from our first week of distance learning;
Last Friday Ms Murray introduced her cat Charlie to everyone and then all of the sixth graders ran to get their pets to show on screen. Matya Wygodas's first Torah reading was scheduled for this week. Ilanot had a lovely tefillah on line and then Matya read his Torah portion. Most of the teachers joined into this Zoom session and there was not a dry eye in the house. Rebecca Slossberg, a college senior and Ezra Grad, and Tal, our emissary, joined into one of Morah Amalya’s Hebrew classes. Hebrew classes. Li’on, our other emissary, joined the 7th grade for their Israel class. In Keshet’s Kabbalat Shabbat, Noga Moaz, who is under quarantine in Israel, joined her former classmates online!
The 7th grade took a virtual field trip, in Science, to the Perot Museum in Texas (currently closed but the staff is there) and visited via YouTube live and zoom with a scientist who was part of the team working at the rising star cave in South Africa. She took us through this exhibit: https://www.perotmuseum.org/
In math Students explored interactive video graphs that showed the spread of a contagious virus. We also examined the concept of "flattening the curve" and how variables like social distancing and voluntary quarantine affect curves that represent infection over the course of time. For the first time I think many of my students really connected the use of "math" as we learn it in the classroom with how we can understand and analyze important events in their own lives. In one 8th Grade Math class we used our understanding of exponents and exponential growth to analyze an article from the Washington post (link found here: https://www.washingtonpost.