And We’re Off! The School Year Begins

by | Sep 3, 2020 | Learning, Our Stories

With over 260 students, 79 faculty and staff, 144 ChromeBooks, 50 speakers, 4 tents, 3 rain showers, 4 lunches, 19 cohorts, 4 drop-offs and pickups, and countless containers of hand sanitizer, the Rashi 2020-2021 school year was off to an energetic and exciting beginning.

Our faculty and staff have worked tirelessly to get us to this week. The joy in the building when students arrived was palpable, some seeing friends face to face for the first time since we left the Rashi building in March, seeing beloved teachers, and getting ready to learn and grow in the coming year.

We are practicing the Rashi Big 7: Seven principles that are guiding our health and wellness initiatives in response to the pandemic.

  • We are all responsible for one another (Talmud, Shavuot 39a)
  • Unwell? – Do not come to school
  • Mask – 3-ply fabric/paper, properly worn, at all times, unless directed to remove
  • Distance – maintain as directed, generally six feet 
  • Limit Contact – stay in learning group, cohort, or as directed
  • Hand Hygiene – wash hands well, use sanitizer otherwise
  • Ventilation – airflow and filtration indoors, outdoors when possible

Here’s what our Head of School Adam W. Fischer said in an email to families following our first day of classes:

It was wonderful to see months of planning bear fruit as students and teachers came together here at Rashi. Like the faculty and staff, I trust your children will sleep well tonight!
We’ll continue to be careful, prudent, and flexible and improve protocols and procedures as necessary. A middle school student said today, “I was worried that this would all be complicated, but it was simple.”

Here’s a reflection on what Rashi Remote was like, written by a Grade 7 parent.

UnMasking Rashi Remote

Written by a Grade 7 parent

The Rashi School has spent the past three months planning, preparing, and implementing a wonderful and safe in-person learning program during this unprecedented time. In-person learning was not an option for our family because we are currently living in a multi-generational household with an individual with underlying health issues. We are now on Day 4 of Rashi Remote, and we couldn’t be happier.  

My child feels fully engaged and included with his peers throughout the school day. He starts and ends the day with his classmates rotating in and out of each subject virtually alongside them. He is able to communicate with all of the students and is called on to answer questions by the teacher as if he were sitting in a desk in the classroom. The faculty have been equally attentive to the virtual and in-person students, not to mention that his fellow peers have been kind, caring, and considerate of our family’s circumstance.  

THIS is Rashi and this is why I continue to love the Rashi School! 

Here’s a short summary from a new family on what their first days of Rashi felt like:

By all accounts Chloe and Jacob are having a great first week! They’ve both been very happily chatty about their days and we’ve been excited to hear about new friends and reports on learning about everything from Chagall to volleyball. 

So what has school in the building looked like?

Kindergarten held their first Morning meeting outdoors as a Kindergarten Kehillah Community! They greeted everyone, played name games, and learned about interests/experiences they had in common.

This week in Grade 4 students shared their hopes and dreams for the year as part of establishing their class’s communal rules and values that will guide their year.

Middle Schoolers had their first Minyan of the year and reflected in small groups and in writing on a TED talk called “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable!” 

While desks were spaced apart and socially distant tag with pool noodles replaced flag football, the spirit of Rashi remained: a school dedicated to learning and a strong academic program, steeped in Jewish values, cultivating students’ critical minds and compassionate hearts.