As students and teachers wrap up their year of work together, we celebrate all that has unfolded while welcoming all that is to come. This past week has brought so many moments together that bridge between ending this school year and launching the next. We celebrated our eighth graders with a special lunch, honoring their becoming alumni. On the same day, we welcomed our incoming kindergarteners, who spent an afternoon in the classrooms and Sukkat Shalom, wide-eyed and excited, creating, exploring, dancing, and singing. Later in the week, we welcomed back members of the Class of 2012 and their parents at a five-year reunion. Some of them had not been back since they graduated, and we caught up on their lives and shared with them how much we value our relationship with them as alumni members of our kehillah.
As you saw in my letter last week, the end of the year always brings farewells and welcomes on the faculty side as well. I love hiring because invariably candidates leave their visits to Rashi so impressed, eager to teach our students, and partner with our faculty. This is a very special place to work, and finding the best people to help us keep growing as a school is always an exciting process.
Over the summer we will frame our formal goals for next year. We know already that they will continue the work we have engaged in
so deeply this year, including challenging every student, understanding our community, and strengthening our connections with each other. Our parent survey and the exit interviews we have begun to do this spring have given us excellent feedback to think about the family experience at Rashi. We will continue to explore how best to share the vibrant, rigorous work of our classrooms with parents; what times are best for parents to come into school; how to share the less visible work of our Board, and our long-term planning.
We are excited next year to extend our pilot math approach
from third through fifth grade into second grade. The flexible groupings across the grade have allowed our teachers to challenge every student at the right level for each topic, and the collaboration among our teachers with the learning specialist grounds their observations and planning in data.
The work we began this year with the whole faculty on the use of essential questions
has permeated every classroom at Rashi. We look forward to continuing that dialogue and to articulating for our students ever more carefully the “big ideas” that guide the curriculum. On our April professional day, educators from Facing History asked us some essential questions and gave us some tools for structured conversations that have continued to resonate with our teachers. We look forward to extending that work as well.
Our partnership with parents
is so important to all of us at Rashi. One of the things I try to communicate to new parents is how much Rashi wants to hear from them - about their hopes, their questions, their ideas - so that together we can help their children have an extraordinary childhood and education. As you start your summer, please keep in touch with us! I hope your children spend time reading, playing, exploring, creating, and celebrating the opportunities of a different kind of time. We look forward to welcoming you back in September!