The past few weeks have proven the incredible strength and connectedness of the Schechter Boston community. Following the news of the pandemic and the looming threat of the coronavirus, schools everywhere began closing their doors for the unforeseeable future.
Without a moment’s hesitation, the Schechter faculty and staff jumped into high gear, developing Schechter@Home, a comprehensive and accessible website designed to promote face-to-face interaction and independent student learning, as well as facilitate a daily school schedule.
After a two-day crash course in Zoom and learning online together, teachers and staff were not only prepared, but also excited for the virtual journey. “I have discovered that this disruption will, in fact, spark useful innovation and unleash all kinds of creativity among our teachers and students,” comments Head of School Rebecca Lurie.
Schechter@Home offers Zoom lessons for all of Schechter’s students, from toddlers through eighth grade, with an updated schedule every day, links to family activities and resources such as kid-friendly videos about the coronavirus and articles on how to talk to children about COVID-19.
Parents and children are able to set up virtual meetings with the school counselors, nurses and support staff. Students are also able to participate in all of their usual specials, including music, art, library, science and gym, as well as after-school programs. Moreover, students can feature their own work, from music recitals to personal reflections. Parents especially enjoy the evening virtual parent happy hour.
“Hats off to our school’s phenomenal teachers and administrators for creating an entire online school from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. with only five days’ notice! My kids had a full day of school: homeroom, art, gym, science, math, English and so much more!” exclaims Diana, a Schechter parent.
When Schechter@Home launched on March 18, the feelings of uncertainty and anxiety brought on by this unprecedented situation began to subside and a sense of normalcy was restored. “Mountains were moved to make this happen, and it’s a breath of fresh air in a time of uncertainty for these kids to see their community and have some structure,” expresses parent Ronnie Luria.
The website has even made some parents emotional. “The time, effort and care that went into this is beyond words. All I can say is thank you and go dry my eyes,” posted parent Morgan Sheena on Facebook after virtual learning began.
“I have not been holding it together very well, and navigating working and keeping a child alive (let alone well fed, entertained and, dare I say, educated) was overwhelming. Thank you for giving us structure to our days and taking some of the lift off of us. I so appreciate it,” comments parent Leora Kimmel.
The overwhelming praise from parents, grandparents and even students is a true testament of Schechter pride. “I am humbled by the enthusiasm and pride that my daughters’ teachers exhibit each day, teaching my daughter under the most difficult and unprecedented circumstances. Each class. Every day so far. I’m totally blown away by the love. Just beside myself,” voices parent Marcy Hedvat.
“We are so proud and thankful to be part of this school. Thank you for sacrificing so much time and effort into making this work,” remarks parent Eitan Hersh.
“Thank you so much Solomon Schechter Day School. This has been a fantastic experience of a new reality and a new generation,” commends another grateful parent.
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