AMOS & CELIA HEILICHER MINNEAPOLIS JEWISH DAY SCHOOL

Heilicher@Home Shared Journey: A Weekly Update from Yoni - May 7, 2020

Dear Heilicher Families,

Welcome back to Heilicher@Home Shared Journey, where we can track, together, progress on Heilicher staff’s planning for next year. As a reminder, these updates may include our current decision-making process on both broad and specific matters (for example, ranging from thoughts on graduation all the way to how we will reopen next year), as well as sharing my philosophy on how to approach planning and decisions in the face of significant uncertainty. Most grade-level matters will be shared by your teachers or advisors, but I see graduation as a capstone event that has symbolic and structural relevance beyond eighth grade. 

I hope you continue to find this helpful and, as always, reach out to me with questions, comments, and ideas.

Yoni


Current Approach To Re-Opening In The Fall

Since last week, we have had many discussions, internally and with other schools, regarding plans for the fall. Heilicher staff is also keeping up to date on the latest literature and data on how schools are planning to reopen and what factors go into the decision and planning. Meanwhile, we plan to pursue three tracks:

  • Improving the Heilicher@Home product for students, teachers, and parents
  • Planning for a ‘hybrid’ return, which could include smaller classes, continued distance learning, special schedules, and other factors either required or recommended to open schools
  • Analyzing, broadly, what it means to return next year, even if we were to go back to normal. This includes exploring the best ways to meet student needs following our spring distance learning model.

Ending the Year, Report Cards, and Conferences

Teams of teachers and administrators are working on how to best share information with parents and students about students’ progress this year. Lots of progress was made this week and when it is ready to share, Maia Poling and her team will get information out to families. The goal is to keep Heilicher@Home strong while also preparing meaningful and robust communications to students and parents about their progress. This is a new system in a new world, obviously, and still needs to be mapped out over the coming week or two. 

Graduation
Graduation planning continues and will be communicated, also, over the next couple of weeks. 

Timing On Decisions
In addition to what I mentioned here last week, about being patient and seeing how some things unfold, the most clarity I believe we have seen this week is that we are still pretty far from having clarity on exactly what form Heilicher will take on Day 1 next school year. A number of Minnesota Association of Independent Schools (MAIS) member schools are considering picking an early August date by which they will formally announce how school will look on day one of the school year. I am meeting with a group of these schools next week and will discuss whether independent schools will align on a deadline for this or not. That discussion will be one factor in Heilicher’s decision about a timeline for announcing next plans for fall. I still believe it is too early to predict that timeline and, as a reminder, our primary drivers when making major decisions is to be as prepared as possible, as informed as possible, and as safe as possible. 

Picking Up Your Children’s Belongings At School
This is a bit of a complicated process that will require coordination with the campus and campus partners, as well as require staff support. Our primary goal will continue to be the strength of Heilicher@Home through the end of the school year. A team of administrators is looking at how to coordinate a process for you to get belongings from the school, but I believe that is at least two to three weeks away. I will continue to keep you posted here.
 

More Posts

The Passing of A Year, The Crossing of A Sea

Isn’t it ironic that we celebrate our hurried exodus from Egypt, one in which we did not even have time to let bread dough rise, with a meal that is so full of preparation and organization it is literally called “order”? The seder plate is even laid out from chazeret (lettuce) to charoset (fruit and nut mixture), helping to ensure the order of the meal is followed and no mitzvah is passed over. We scour the house in advance of the holiday, searching for chametz (forbidden foods), and we arrange to sell the rest, as a way to ensure there is none remaining in our possession at sundown on the first night of Pesach. It is remarkable that we remain so devoted to the detailed preparation of a holiday designed to mark when we went from bondage to freedom without time for even the simplest food preparation.