Lunch Lounge & Couchside Coffee Portal
Ongoing Tuesdays & Thursdays
Previous Couchside Coffee
Notes from our 10/17/20 Conversation
Tuesday’s Lunch Lounge was sparsely barely attended which is OK. We’ll keep hosting and you are always welcome to join in. Thursday’s Couchside Coffee continues to be a group of approximately 10-12 and a highlight of the week.
M/T/Th ASA’s were a big topic as several parents shared their child’s great experience being back on campus. We shared how impressed we were with the way students took to the new system. They were patient and flexible and kind to one another. They remained masked and distanced and seemed to embrace an understanding of the responsibility to be safe as a condition of the privilege to be back together in person.
On Wednesday, the 9th grade and 12th grades were welcomed to campus. We had more than 35 9th graders join us from 12:30-2:00 and nearly 20 12th graders came from 3:30-5:00! Next Wednesday, it’ll be the 10th and 11th grades.
We talked briefly about the process for checking in, enjoyed small group icebreakers, and gave an orientation. The kids had choice time for everything from ping-pong to drawing to Q&A, and the kids are bringing more suggestions to us. We’re encouraging our older students to take a leadership role and contribute to the program development by designing and/or leading activities.
The homework tent (big blue at the entrance) was our starting point and each day, we did have some students work quietly in that space. Parents agreed that the change of pace to just be outside and somewhere other than at home was an energizer.
A question came up about Zooming kids for the grade-level Wednesday sessions. The suggestion is to bring those kids along on an iPad and we are going to look into it right away!
Trivia Night with Mr. Linden has been very popular and parents are asking that we share more reminders for this and encourage kids to invite a friend. We understand that some kids might not want to try it out if a parent suggests it, but will happily go if a friend gives them the nudge. Good idea!
COVID-19 testing (both PCR and antibody) started on Wednesday and we had dozens of Kehillah and JCC community members come for testing. This is available (and covered by insurance) for all. Access is from the Fabian Way side of the building.
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 10/8/20 Conversation
The conversation today was like a group of old friends getting together and welcoming some new friends. It’s great to see more people joining in on our session!
The response to the announcement about taking our next step as an outside on-campus after school and Flex-day activity program was very well received. The video that accompanied this announcement was helpful to understand the process and factors that went into this decision.
Some kids are starting to work out with Coach Ryan in the mornings before school. We’ll get that link posted in the eNews so everyone knows how to take part in this great way to fight our sedentary lifestyle.
The conversation about website updates led us to walk through the website together. We heard about some updates we need to make and got some great suggestions to make the user experience even better. One thing we learned after the meeting is that clicking on the Kehillah logo from any page will bring you to the home page!
We had our first Tuesday Lunch Lounge as well this week! Our conversation focused on what we’ve been hearing from other schools and their reopening plans. We’ve heard that some schools are also doing after school programming and some are waiting to announce any further plans between now and December. A teacher from another independent school remarked that they were envious of Kehillah because we’ve announced our plans and they are waiting on pins and needles to hear what their school will be doing.
Shabbat shalom and chag sameach!
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 10/1/20 Conversation
We welcomed two board members, Corinne Lipman and Eric Goldman. Eric also serves on my Head’s Pandemic Advisory Team as our legal and technology expert. Math teacher Ron Schloss joined us again as well.
Our conversation today focused around reopening plans for our after-school, outside, on-campus programming, which will be announced in detail on Monday.
We talked about a research study from the University of Minnesota focused on classroom safety. The takeaway is that ventilation remains important and that no one mitigation strategy is enough but layering mitigation strategies will help us keep ourselves and others safe. What this means is that the combination of ventilation, air purification, masking, hand-washing, distancing, and screening will add up to a much safer environment.
Several parents expressed appreciation for the measured and data-informed approach we are taking in opening safely and slowly. It was shared by some that the voices of those who wish for a slower opening might not be heard as much as the voices of those pushing to open as quickly as possible.
We recognized, again, that nobody is winning here — Everyone wants to be back to campus and back to normal. Every teacher wants to be in the classroom with their students and feel safe doing so.
We are considering adding a second conversation time each week — probably at lunchtime to accommodate working parents who are unable to make the 9:00 time.
We are also looking for ways to communicate more often as the group expressed how much the weekly conversations are helping them understand the nuances of managing through this.
Although this was a very positive conversation, we discussed the most difficult truth for our close-knit community: We will never all be on the same page about the “right” response to the pandemic. We emphasized that our focus is on the students and the employees and how we can maximize their experience and their safety while minimizing risk.
We will be sharing details of the parent and staff surveys along with more detailed information about our plans for the remainder of this semester on Monday.
Shabbat Shalom and Chag Sameach!
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 9/24/20 Conversation
Coach Ryan joined us to share the great news that he is going to start some mini-workout morning sessions. He’s also going to look into using the outside workout area at the JCC. More to come on that!
Principal Patti Carbery shared the work that is underway, led by Ryan Greenfield and others to create after-school activities outdoors that prioritize low/no-tech community building, movement, and creativity. More to come on that as well.
The question for many is what the plans are for reopening and what are other schools doing. Daisy referred to Thursday’s Mercury article and her survey of other NorCal secondary schools indicating that many schools are holding off on reopening and, like Kehillah, considering intermediate steps. Concerns about safety indoors, predictions on surges and reclosing, and the preference for stability are part of this calculus. Taking a careful approach to reopening is trending.
Several parents shared positive feedback about remote classes and their change of heart about remaining remote until we know more about how COVID-19 will appear in other secondary schools and in the area at large. For these parents, the stability in a good remote program outweighs the benefits of being in person for classes.
The above notwithstanding, there is fairly common agreement across our student and parent community that outdoor programming (masked, distanced, etc.) would be welcomed. The staff/faculty remain a bit more reticent to return to campus in part because of the reports they’ve heard from their students about unmasked gatherings outside of school.
We reminded the parents that bringing students back on campus in any capacity also requires bringing adults back on campus. With 40+% of our faculty in a high-risk category we want to be mindful of our commitment to Prioritize the physical health, safety, and social-emotional wellbeing of our students, staff, and faculty. (from our Guiding Principles, 7//6/20)
We continue to learn new things about COVID-19 and our response to this pandemic every day. This definitely remains a dynamic and developing situation.
Apropos to this dynamism, a question came up about testing on site. We are doing screening which is considered a part of a testing suite. Currently, we have old-school paper but we are setting up an app that we’ll begin using as soon as possible. We are also in discussions with the JCC to provide PCR testing on site. Nothing has been finalized and a new national report on testing came out today so we have some homework to do!
There was a good conversation about how classes are designed and how teachers make decisions about how to teach remotely and how different classes might look different and what that means for the learning — It started with a question about minutes in class and departmental planning alignment. The important takeaway is that minutes in “direct instruction” (where the teacher is leading/lecturing) don’t determine the quality of teaching or learning. Rather, our teachers match their strategies to the content/skill for each class/unit/course and to the learners. This differentiation and personalization are what makes the learning.
Each week, these conversations provide us with an opportunity to connect in important ways. We are planning an upcoming Q&A parent night with our Pandemic Advisory Team on October 8th from 6:30-8:00. The invite will arrive in your in-box within the next few days.
Shabbat shalom and g’mar chatimah tovah!
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 9/17/20 Conversation
Coach Ryan joined us to hear about online fitness requests for daily “core fitness” or “challenge” exercise to get our kids moving. He also shared some of the planning underway to have more outdoor fitness opportunities on our campus and using the JCC field. It was recommended by a few parents that these short exercise sessions take on a name that attracts teenagers and provides some fun along with the fitness.
Outside Options are still being explored and planned for. We’ve been encouraged by the information about safety outside (18X that of inside) and shared the ongoing planning to provide outdoor small-group activities to support academics, provide no-tech connectedness, activities, and exercise.
Reopening was a topic of discussion as we see other schools beginning in-person classes. We shared our current concerns with in-building activities due to the known (40+% of our staff are high-risk; 50% of transmission happens prior to symptoms; HS students transmit at adult levels; behavior control is a challenge) and many unknowns (long-term effects are unclear; aerosolized spread is not fully understood, reinfection rates are climbing) of COVID-19.
Slow Roll is the recommendation in bringing kids back on campus, beginning outside, to prioritize social-emotional health, physical activity, and targeted academic support while keeping classes stable in the remote setting. As we retrain our community to adhere to proper distancing, masking, and hygiene practices (in addition to screening) in the relative safety of the outdoors, we will be better equipped to take the next step.
Fred Brown’s ears must have been ringing because he surprised us again with a visit, midway through our hour. He emphasized the importance of incremental steps and guiding our community carefully through the reopening process. He predicts that many schools (and communities) will shut down again after opening this fall in response to higher COVID-19 rates. He also reiterated that our planning should be long-term, considering this disruption to school a multi-year event.
The Changing Nature of the expert’s understanding of COVID-19 makes decision-making particularly challenging. We will continue to rely on the expert advisers and maintain our commitment to the physical health and safety of our students(and their families) and employees. We are also committed to the social-emotional and mental health of our community and the importance of Kehillah’s special sauce of connection. We are confident that we can find a compromise where risk is low and reward is high. We also recognize that every option will have its disappointments.
Air is finally clearing up and the AQI in Palo Alto is great! This has lifted many spirits as we head into the long New Year’s weekend.
Shana Tova! May you and yours have a healthy and sweet New Year!
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 9/10/20 Conversation
Fred Brown, a member of my HPAT (Head’s Pandemic Advisory Team), joined us today and we had a great discussion (after a technical glitch was solved.) Don’t worry if you missed it. He’ll join us for our Coffee Conversation again and we are working on an evening event with the HPAT. Stay tuned!
Some of the highlights from our learning this morning:
HS kids transmit at the same rate as adults so we have an extra challenge to bring our HS kids back to campus safely both in our preparation and our procedures on campus.
School is a difficult (but not impossible) place to stay COVID safe because of grouping, HVAC needs, and the importance of full compliance to safe behavior at all times.
40% of transmissions are from asymptomatic “senders”.
It is 18x safer to be outside than inside.
If everyone is wearing good masks properly, we can reduce the risk of transmission to 1.5%
Masks need to be multiple layers, covering the nose and chin, and worn fitted well. N95 masks are the most protective option but our country has a shortage of N95 masks so it is a personal decision about using them. Fred recommends them if you have underlying health issues that put you at greater risk.
A vaccine should be here by mid 2021 but Fred doesn’t recommend being part of these early trials or signing your children up for a trial at this point. He is concerned about the limitations (taking a vaccine later) being in a trial places on people and he’s concerned about the potential side effects at this stage.
If you have been exposed, you should wait/quarantined for 4-5 days before testing. If you are feeling symptoms you should quarantine and get tested immediately. Unfortunately, this virus is most contagious 2-3 days before any symptoms show up. If you test positive, you should quarantine for 14 days.
DAILY screening is very important before anyone comes to school. Testing is currently not great and the two kinds available are both expensive and take time that make the data less helpful to schools. Fred recommends we wait for home tests that will start to come on the market in 3-6 months. He believes this will change the economics, accuracy, and usefulness of testing.
Personal hygiene is important — Use hand sanitizer throughout the day, cough/sneeze into your elbow even with a mask. When kids come home, have them take shoes off outside and switch into house shoes. Shoes are the most COVID-risky piece of clothing although Fred agreed with us that backpacks might be a close second.
Personal choice is a big part of keeping our community safe.
- Any underlying condition or personal housing situation (like contact with elderly family members) may make a decision to return to campus more difficult for you. In light of this, we will continue to offer a fully remote option even when we are in hybrid.
- We expect your support in taking the right precautions on and off campus and in impressing upon your children that FULL compliance with safe behavior is necessary or we cannot have them on campus.
Again, not to worry if you missed Fred’s visit today. We’ll have him back with our community many more times!
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 9/3/20 Conversation
Observations — We’ve been seeing engaged and excited students and teachers. It was great to hear that you’ve been seeing the same thing at home. Kids are happy to be together, engaging with their peers and their teachers. Kehillah is still Kehillah! Let’s keep working together to make this an outstanding year!
Helicopter/Snowplow/Absentee — What’s the balance with how much I should be checking on my child’s progress? Should I be looking at Schoology every day? Should I get the daily report? When do I intervene? These are really important questions and we talked about finding the sweet spot between being aware of how things are going so we can step in collaboratively and supportively and intruding to the point that we either helicopter (to which kids often rebel, retreat, get sneaky but rarely welcome) or snowplow (clearing every obstacle from their way results in kids who don’t know how to get through struggle, self-advocate, or bounce back– resilience). One parent shared her experience shifting from MS to HS and realizing that she can do HS parenting differently and let her child have more freedom, as long as they are willing to check-in and ask for help if needed. She said they were very relieved with this new approach and she was delighted to be able to shift into this more mature set-up. Great example!
Partnership — As a school, we want to partner with our parents and we know you know your kids best. We share the goal of students using their high school years to become confident learners who know how to manage independently (which includes knowing how to ask for help) and, yet, we all worry about “not knowing until it is too late.” Mr. Schloss addressed this beautifully when he described parent-teacher communication as a two-way backstreet that helps the most important avenue of teacher-student communication. He stressed this primary relationship is where the students will grow as learners but that doesn’t preclude the importance of our communication with you when things are getting bumpy.
Organization – We had a lot of discussion about how to help our kids stay organized and on top of their schoolwork. While we wish there was one planning system that works for everyone, the reality is that each one of us, and each of our children, need to find the system or systems that work for them. Some students keep it all in their heads! Some have multiple planning systems, designed for each class. Some like on-paper systems, others prefer to keep it all on their computers. Teachers can be helpful in conversations about this and we, as parents, can ask reflective questions to help our kids think about how a system might be set up to work for them.
Metacognition – Speaking about reflection, Dr. Wolf and Ms. Paley reminded us of the metacognition cycle and the importance of thinking about how a particular approach worked for us. Developmentally, our kids are in a great stage to be asked questions, rather than being told what we think. When we ask them to teach us about their experience and genuinely seek to understand, they are more likely to open up. This reflective element of the cycle is powerful and empowering.
Teachers Encouraging Breaks? — The question was raised about teachers encouraging time away from screens, outside, movement, etc. The simple answer is YES. Teachers are aware of the need for everyone (us too!) to get screen breaks and body breaks and indoor breaks (assuming the air outside is breathable) and they are integrating this into their classes as much as possible. We suggested purchasing some stretchy bands for your kids to have at their desk so they can move their body in opposition to the standard hunched-over computer position. It’s something we have in our offices and are giving our faculty/staff as well (shhh! It’s a surprise).
Can we change the schedule to start later? — This summer, our Academic Team spent the better part of a week reviewing literally dozens of schedules and schedule options. We thought in the box and out of the box. We will be the first to say that NO schedule is going to work for everyone but the schedule we’ve designed met the criteria of serving our students to the greatest degree possible in a less-than-ideal situation. As we move through the year, we’ll let you know of any adjustments.
On that note, we’ll close with a hearty Shabbat shalom!
Enjoy the long weekend…
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 8/27/20 Conversation
Week 1 has Begun — Patti shared about the week’s activities; 2 days of Kinnus; classes yesterday in a super-schedule and today/Friday in a regular schedule.
KPA Kick-off — KPA wanted us to let you know that their Kick-off will be on September 11th from 8:30-9:30. Details will be posted soon.
Mr. Schloss talked about his experience teaching math and hearing from his advisory about their week. He heard a lot of positive feedback about Kinnus and the initial days of school.
What is Reflective Practice? — This is a required and fundamental part of our program. RP provides options for students to choose an activity that is aligned with our Jewish values. RP provides students with opportunities for thinking differently, more reflectively, and more intentionally about their lives and the world.
Sports — Parents want to be sure kids are getting exercise and have asked about after-school activities from the school. While we’ve heard no update about the league sports, Coach Ryan is working to create the program for this year. We all agree that kids need to move to stay healthy!
Flex Day Question — about the difference between Seminar and Beit Midrash — Seminar is grade-level; Beit Midrash is all-school. We will post the Flex Day schedule in advance each week.
Free Blocks — Free blocks are different from Reflective Practice (RP) and occur throughout the week as a class block without a class. When we are back on campus, there are guidelines for how students use their free blocks. Not all students have a free block but all students do have RP.
Communication — How much should I monitor my child’s work? –We want to scaffold our support up/down as needed but also remember we want to work our way out of a job so our children are fully independent-from-us learners (not that they wouldn’t find their own supports in college) by the time they graduate from Kehillah. Parents can request access to Schoology class accounts. However, we ask that parents refrain from sitting in Zoom class meetings and experiential education sessions during remote learning.
Contact Information — There is a repeat on syllabi asking for preferred contact information and a wonder about the efficiency of the repeats. For some families, however, different parents are the point of contact for different classes. We’ll look into making this request more efficient.
Coach Ryan joined us! — We sent out the bat-signal and he responded right away to share that there are no updates to sports from the previous message about 2 seasons, beginning mid-December. He’s working on finding spaces for us to use when we are allowed. JCC is limiting use to members but he’s hoping to secure some time/space for outdoor activities. The rules around conditioning are in flux and he’ll keep us posted on that. Additionally, some of the sport options are up in the air. Unfortunately, there is a lot in flux and many things are still unclear. Zoom exercise options are being explored. Coach Ryan is planning to host some and he’s organizing some other classes to get kids moving. Next week, he’ll send out information and a sign-up. PE classes have begun and, while we’re still dealing with the outdoor air, it’s getting better. At this point, we are not joining the league for soccer this year but we are open to intersquad play and practices. Coach Ryan will be coordinating with other schools to arrange for play. Baseball has been declining in numbers and that makes it difficult to pull together enough students for a team. Coach Ryan will continue to check in with students as he designs options for this year.
We hope to see you next Thursday!
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 8/20/20 Conversation
We had a small group today but it was a lively discussion! Here are some notes:
Normal – Getting back to the previous world is probably not the hope to hold onto. We need to adjust to a new normal and that may be key to our resilience and the resilience of our students.
Modeling – Our children are looking to us for how to respond to each new challenge and each new day. Parent self-care is especially important now.
Orientation – New students are having orientation on Friday and looking forward to getting to know one another.
Picnic – Tonight’s picnic will be another great connection point. Unlike last spring, we are having to get to know one another remotely this year and that is tough!
Discourse – The importance of supporting civil discourse and supporting our students to learn how to have conversations, especially when we disagree, is something Kehillah already does well and we are looking to develop in this area even more — to share out with other schools.
We look forward to seeing you at our next Virtual Couchside Coffee Conversation Thursday, August 27, 9:00-10:00.
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 8/12/20 conversation:
From Dr. Leaderman — Every corner of our student’s day, students will have opportunities to engage in SEL: https://casel.org/core-competencies/ and increase their ability to encounter challenges with skill and have conversations with others related to the world and to their own experiences. During Seminar and Advisory, as well as throughout classes, support is integrated. The goal is to teach in every corner of school the SEL tools and strengthen the skills to apply throughout this year and beyond. Faculty will be intentional in creating opportunities for 1:1 communication and connection with one another and in engaging support.
Cave Dwellers — Worry that kids are in their rooms all day in school and then in their room playing video games for a break. How do we collaborate, home-school, to encourage them to get up and move and get outside? We are in agreement that this is a concern and we’re working to address this in practical and supportive ways without triggering developmentally appropriate adolescent resistance.
Tension at Home — How do we as parents manage the tension between being home with our kids but letting them do their day as if we weren’t watching over them? Dr. Leaderman reminds us that we can’t force our kids to get out and move but we can integrate more movement into the class day in addition to Coach Ryan’s PE/ Athletics program. We are also reminded that our kids are always watching us so modeling is more important than ever in our always-together-at-home worlds.
Working Out – Can parents organize a workout pod? Even virtually? While the school cannot organize any gatherings at this time, parents are not restricted to the same level. Our ask of you, however, is to be very safe. Yesterday, we learned from one of our advisors that, when exerting to a point where wearing a mask is uncomfortable (such as running), we need to space at least 20 feet apart. Individual health and safety is the only way we can be safe as a community.
Will PE happen? – Yes and Coach Ryan is designing some creative ways to stay healthy and fit this year whether we are on or off campus.
Reducing screen time for balance — As we move through this year in remote settings, our teachers are increasing their tools for directing times off screen and engaging with content in low-tech ways within this highly-technological environment.
Aiming for Authoritative Parenting — In comparison to authoritarian, passive, or neglectful parenting styles, authoritative parenting includes setting boundaries for the family and the kids in a way that comes from a place of developmental care and the support of their growth (even when that includes challenge/difficulty) rather than power-over.
Wednesday Flex Days — When we are able to be in person, Wednesdays will include community building without screen time. While remote, it’s about building that toolbox of tech-environment teaching and learning to reduce screen time while staying engaged.
After-School Activities — We will have after-school activities/clubs as we can throughout the year. When we are able to have students on campus, this will ramp up, but we will have some options in remote as well. We love it that Kehillah allows for student agency in many ASA’s so these will be unfolding as students return to school.
Focused Support — Dr. Leaderman will continue to provide 1:1 support and small-group support throughout the year. These are not therapeutic meetings but can complement the work in outside therapy. Dr. Leaderman is often in communication with outside clinicians and can provide resources and referrals for ongoing outside support.
Summer Mailing — Coming tomorrow! Please be sure to go to the links and fill out the forms so we can build our school directory.
Communication — We need to be in conversation– parents, students, teachers in a more dynamic way this year to be sure we are letting one another know. Parents shared that the Virtual Couchside Coffee Conversations have been good and we are committed to continuing these until they are no longer needed.
We look forward to seeing you at our next Virtual Couchside Coffee Conversation Thursday, August 20, 9:00-10:00.
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 8/6/20 conversation:
Remote Engagement – We discussed many practical approaches to engaging students when remote. Dr. Wolf demonstrated the use of JamBoard in the classroom. Mr. Schloss talked about ways he engages with math students through Zoom.
Flex Day – How this day will best support students to allow for more personalized time with teachers was brought up as both a concern and a hope. Patti shared the importance of having dedicated time for teachers to reach out to students as well as students reaching out to their teachers.
Community – Parents are looking forward to the summer mailings, especially the lists of students and their contact information. There was a confirmation we cannot have any students on campus. Of course, parents are welcome to connect with other families on their own. We recommend discipline regarding safety guidelines including staying outside, masked, and distanced by more than six feet. Some parents raised questions about how we will welcome new students into the community. The New Student Orientation program takes place on Friday, August 21 at 9:00 am. For new parents, you will have a New Parent Orientation on Thursday, September 3 at 7:00 pm.
Kinnus – Sarah Canfield-Dafilou, our Director of Experiential Education, is creating an awesome online Kinnus experience for our students. We will be sharing details about this in the coming weeks.
Support – Next Thursday at our Virtual Couchside Coffee Conversation, we’ll hear from Dr. Jared Leaderman, our Director of Health and Wellness. He will share the work he and his team are doing to create social-emotional and mental health support in proactive and preventative ways this year.
We look forward to seeing you at our next Virtual Couchside Coffee Conversation Thursday, August 13, 9:00-10:00.
Daisy & Patti
Notes from our 7/30/20 conversation:
Above are some of the topics that came up during our latest discussion. If you weren’t able to join, we wanted to share the meeting notes.
(Below this you can find notes from previous Couchside Coffees.)
Stress and Seniors – There is concern about seniors who are stressed already and worried about how their year will go. The college application process adds to their load. The college counseling team has worked seamlessly this summer as we said goodbye to Eric Sherman and welcomed Susan McGuire.
Stress and all Students – General concern about supporting the mental health of our kids. We want to be responsive to our students throughout the year and will begin listening groups after school starts to check in with students. By co-constructing the conversation about support we are sending the important message that they have agency in taking care of themselves, one another, and advocating for additional support. Dr. Leaderman will play a critical role in designing support systems for this particular time.
Stress and Parents – There are opportunities to provide support for our parent community and Daisy is talking with KPA about this.
A/B Split by Alphabet – We understand that, while some families are happy with the alphabetical split of our student A/B groups, some families were hoping for a split by grade level. While there are several compelling reasons for the choice we made, the variable that tipped the decision was health and safety. With the COVID capacity limitations of our classrooms, we cannot safely accommodate many of the classes in person if we were to have an entire grade on campus for academics at the same time. We have many classes that could not safely “fit” on campus in one room under COVID restrictions.
What does Remote Learning Look Like? – We discussed the irony that educators have spent more than 25 years learning to integrate technology into their classrooms in meaningful ways and now we have the challenge of reducing screen time while still supporting high-quality learning in a remote environment. Our teachers have been learning over the summer (and will continue throughout the year) to design the best possible program within these parameters. We are considering the suggestion to have a special back-to-school session to share more.
Teachers and Technology – A question was asked about our teachers and their access to good technology this year. We are working to be sure our teachers have the technology they need to do a great job. This is one of the extra COVID expenses but we feel confident that we will be able to provide for them throughout the year.
Flex Day – There is still some misunderstanding about Wednesday Flex Day. This day allows us to fully engage students in a variety of different sessions to build community, explore special topics, and provide extra touch-points with teachers, and allow for weekly professional development and faculty collaboration time.
Summer Mailing – The summer mailing has understandably been delayed and it will be sent as soon as it is ready. This mailing will include information, forms, and updates on the 20-21 school year. Student schedules and book lists are slated to be shared by Monday, August 3.
Shabbat shalom! We hope to see you at our next Virtual Couchside Coffee on Thursday, August 6, 2020 – 9:00-10:00 AM
Notes from our 7/23/20 conversation:
Above are some of the topics that came up during discussion. If you weren’t able to join, we wanted to share the meeting notes.
• Check-in — We are all doing OK. The novelty of this pandemic has certainly worn off but we are each adjusting to the long-haul in our own ways.
• Silver Linings — Amidst the challenges, we are seeing our kids develop perspective, resilience, and we’re having fun together as a family. People are gardening, getting outside more, hiking with their kids, and finding ways to make the most of this unexpected togetherness.
• What’s App — SWe heard aboutome graderade-level groups that have a What’s App going and we will be checking in with the KPA to see if there is a way they can support organized connecting for all of our families.
• Book Lists — We will communicate book lists with student schedules by the end of July.
• Book Exchange — We have health guidelines and space limitations on campus that make it nearly impossible to hold significant numbers of extra books. We encourage parents to organize book exchanges with other families off campus if there is interest.
• Lunch — We are currently exploring kosher options for boxed lunches. We will keep you updated as we have more information.
• Food on Campus — To provide access to all tables for all students, we made the decision many years ago to follow Kashrut. If we are able to be on campus this year, we will continue this tradition.
• Screening for COVID symptoms vs. allergies/other symptoms — We will continue to consult with our health experts on the specifics of our screening protocol. Talia Anders, our Director of Health & Safety, will be sharing more information on this as it develops, including the screening app we plan to use if able to return to campus.
• Social-Emotional Gatherings — It is clear from both the Governor’s mandate and our conversation with the California Association of Independent Schools that, while Santa Clara County remains on the watch list, we cannot organize any student gatherings either on or off campus.
• Parent Evenings with Dr. Michael Thompson — Stay tuned for several parent evening conversations with Michael Thompson. A clinical psychologist, educator, NYT bestselling author, and child development expert, Michael works with independent school communities around the world.
• Communication — We will endeavor to communicate at least weekly and at any point that we have updates. We know how important it is that you hear from us directly. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have additional questions or concerns.
Next Virtual Couchside Coffee Thursday, July 30, 2020 9:00-10:00 AM