Report cards! As one of those kids who liked to sit near the front of the classroom, I always looked forward to my report card arriving in the mail. These days, we know that report cards are only one way of evaluating how a student is doing in the classroom but it’s in that spirit that I’d like to offer up a bit of a group report card to all of you: our extended Talmud Torah family. If I could award you a collective report card for the past year, it would definitely be an A!
Here are some of the reasons why:
Our teachers! The teachers of Talmud Torah have such a wide range of life and classroom experiences. They ALL embraced a full year of teaching via Zoom in engaging ways.
Our families! Week after week, our students showed up. Sure, “showing up” isn’t the typical benchmark that one might use to judge success, but it’s a start. I know from listening to my own two kids, that there was singing, there was coloring, there was Hebrew reading, there was Israel pride, there was cooking – and most of all, there was Jewish community.
Our leadership! Often in the background, I can’t express enough the critical leadership played by our Head of School, Rabbi Hazzan Lipton. Melding an incredible blend of leadership acumen and sheer determination, he was the “man behind the screen,” often in conjunction with a raft of our Madrichim (high school staff), tutors and other staff who ensured Zoom programming continued flawlessly. He coaches our teachers, he meets with key community members, and he sets up the entire program for success.
Our board! We have a roster of 18 dedicated, voting members, plus five ex-officio members, along with an impressive cast of past presidents. They contribute valuable ideas, skills and hands-on work to maintain the fiduciary stability of Talmud Torah, establish and enrich connections between families, look at new ways to improve and enhance the school, and more. A special thanks to three members who just completed their terms: Herb Cohn (Treasurer and Finance Chair), Ron Feldman and Jason Rose. If you ever have interest in being part of our dynamic team, please reach out to me or any other of our current board members for more information. See our board members here.
Our partners! We are grateful to everyone who has shown their support to Talmud Torah in this past year. With 44% of our budget being covered by donations, we could not do this without each and every one of your contributions. Thank you.
As we enjoy summer break, I also wanted to share a few additional important updates and reminders:
Financials: Talmud Torah maintained a balanced budget, plans to keep tuition rates stable for the 6th consecutive here, and even announced a new multi-student discount.
Family Feedback: In a recent survey of families, 84% told us they were very satisfied or satisfied with the quality of instruction during this past year of distance learning. A sample of comments is below:
I think it is great to keep the kids’ Jewish education going...stay connected to the community and their Jewish friends, while learning.
For my younger kids there has been a lot of cooking, activities and art, which has been good.
Engaging kids with hands-on projects, asking them to share Jewish items they have at home to make it more interactive; and the 5th grade Living Museum was even more meaningful, I think, than when attending in person because of sharing more personal stories with grandparents and parents.
The teaching really is great! My son has learned the Aleph bet, how to read Hebrew, and quite a bit about Israel and the holidays.
My son loves tutoring and the chance to see his friends online. The family programming outside of class time is nice too.
A Look Ahead:
We know how much students missed the in-person element of Talmud Torah this past year. As we make plans for the fall, Talmud Torah is carefully evaluating safety protocols and the plan is to be in person, following the most up to date safety guidelines and procedures. Knowing some families may still feel safer at home, and thanks to the advances we have made in technology over the past 16 months, a blended synchronous distance option will be provided, allowing students to “join” their classmates and teachers who are gathered together in person. With that in mind, registration for the 2021-2022 school year is now open to ALL incoming 2nd through 8th graders! You can link to it here. It is critical for registration to be completed as soon as possible to ensure we have the appropriate classroom space for this fall.
If you know of anyone who may be interested in Talmud Torah, please have them email firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be put in touch with Rabbi Hazzan Lipton or myself.
Thank you again for helping to make the past school year an “A.”
Please continue to support Talmud Torah (our new fiscal year begins on September 1). If you would like to create a fund to support our programming or to honor a family member please contact Rabbi Hazzan Lipton, at email@example.com
Have a wonderful summer!