Welcome Back to Schechter Manhattan!
As we welcomed students back to school yesterday and today, so much seemed different from the start of any previous school year. Daily health screenings and temperature check, masks, 6 feet distance, distance learning, plastic desk shields, and desks in rows. At Schechter Manhattan we never had rows of desks– always other furniture arrangements that placed students in close physical proximity and facing each other. So, as I walked through the building, those rows really stood out to me.
And yet, I also saw much in these first days of school that felt very familiar. I saw enthusiastic students, happy to be in school. I could see students’ smiles in their eyes, even as their mouths were covered by masks. As students arrived one by one, on a staggered schedule so as to keep distanced, they greeted me with the same excitement I recognize in Schechter Manhattan students every year. When I looked into classrooms, I saw the smiling faces of students in the distance learning program projected on large screens in each classroom, also glad to be back in our school community. Schechter Manhattan remains a school of happy kids.
Students are glad to be at Schechter Manhattan in no small part because of the amazing Schechter Manhattan faculty. The teaching I saw these first days was also the same as in past years- caring, student-centered, and engaging. I saw teachers helping students build community, learn new routines, and set goals for themselves in the year ahead. I saw teachers reaching out to their students to nurture the positive relationships that will be the foundation of trust for the coming year of learning together. While the classroom structure and routines are different, the approach to teaching and learning is the same as it has always been at Schechter Manhattan. I am filled with pride in our hard-working and skilled teaching faculty.
And it was great to see some of the terrific Schechter Manhattan parents, dropping off and picking up their children at school. The Schechter Manhattan parent community continues to be the involved and supportive group it has always been. Parents who saw me expressed their gratitude, how appreciative they are for all the school has done to reopen in person and to include distance learners as well. They asked me how they could help. They told me that they are so happy that the school community is coming back together.
So, while this school year is surely like no other before, my first days reminded me that the students, faculty, and parents of Schechter Manhattan are the same great people. And that fills me with excitement for a wonderful year ahead of learning and growing together.