As we gathered together for tfilah on Thursday morning, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students were already in their seats when the 2nd grade arrived. As the 2nd grade students made their way into the room I was touched to see many of the older students calling to them, “Come sit by me! There is a place right here!” Nothing I could say or do would send the 2nd grade students the message that they are valued members of our community in the powerful way that the welcome from their older peers did.
Over these first few days of the school year, it was truly wonderful to be a part of the special Schechter Manhattan community. I felt proud when I saw all of the students, faculty, and staff so naturally establishing the positive norms of care and respect that create the safe learning environment necessary for students to take risks and achieve at high levels. Nurturing our welcoming community is the foundation for the learning and growing that will take place in the months ahead. And it is this quality of our school that parents tell us they most appreciate.
In the Parent Survey completed in May 2018 (click here to read a summary of the results), when asked what about the school they are most satisfied with, the most repeated response was the school community. Here are some sample comments from the parent survey…
What are you most satisfied with in the school?
- Sense of community and the warmth of that community.
- Warm, caring community
- Warm, welcoming community
- The sense of family and community
- Everyone has been extremely welcoming and open.
- That my son feels at home when going to school.
- Provides wonderful community. Sense of belonging.
- The school has become our community.
It is extremely gratifying to get this feedback, as it is part of our school mission for students to “engage, support, and challenge one another as members of a collaborative, caring community.” That effort is supported and strengthened by the Schechter Manhattan Parents’ Association, who seek to extend the warm community within our classrooms to the parents and families of our school. An amazing group of parent volunteers plan programs in and out of school that create opportunities to get to know each other and gather as a community.
The first PA event of the 2018-2019 school year is this Sunday, September 16. The annual PA Picnic will take place from 11:00am-2:00pm. Click here for details. I encourage all Schechter Manhattan families to join us. It is always a fun time, including a chance to meet new members of our community and reconnect with returning families.
I also encourage all parents to get involved in the PA. There are many volunteer opportunities to help us sustain our community. Contact PA Co-Presidents, Jennifer Abrams and Lisa Schmutter, at (firstname.lastname@example.org) to volunteer.
The partnership of the Schechter Manhattan faculty and staff with the Schechter Manhattan Parents’ Association is sure to continue to build and strengthen our wonderful community, in our classrooms and beyond. I look forward to the great year ahead.