20 Adar 5780
March 16, 2020
Today, all ICJA teachers were in school attending one of four professional development sessions (- to ensure social distancing), making final plans for tomorrow’s big day – our new virtual version of ICJA. I thank Rabbi Binyomin Segal and Mrs. Olivia Friedman for their exceptional efforts in preparing staff for online learning.
As I explained in yesterday’s email, tomorrow’s class schedule will be as follows:
Period 4: 9:30 – 10:10a.
Period 5: 10:15 – 10:55a.
Period 6: 11:00 – 11:40a.
Period 7: 1:00 -1:40p.
Period 8: 1:45 – 2:25p.
Period 9: 2:30 – 3:10p.
In order to attend your classes, you will need to enter the “video classrooms” of your teachers. Attached is list of all ICJA teachers and their Zoom Meeting IDs (the list is also available here). These IDs are links that will allow you to find your classes. If you have a few moments tonight, I encourage you to click on the links of all of your teachers to make sure that your technology is all set to go.
Beginning tonight and for the next two weeks, if you encounter any challenges please contact Rabbi Segal (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mrs. Friedman (email@example.com). Please watch this brief video refresher on how to access Haiku/PowerSchool. You will learn how to log in, where you can access your virtual learning schedule, how to find the link to access each teacher’s Zoom classroom, and importantly, how to hand in assignments to your teachers using the Dropbox function within Haiku.
Finally, we are planning some “fun” things for the coming weeks, from a kumsitz on Friday to some after-school activities and even some ICGC programs. Please stay tuned for more information!
On a different note, over the past couple of days I have been receiving a number of questions about the coming weeks. The following is a brief summary of these FAQs
“ICJA VIRTUAL” – FAQs
Q: On March 25th we were supposed to take the SAT. What is happening with that test and other SATs we are scheduled to take?
A: The Illinois State Board of Education has informed us that they are working with the College Board (the agency that gives the SAT) and they are hoping “to extend the testing window”. In other words, we don’t know yet, but hopefully things will work out and you will be able to take the test at a later date.
Q: Will attendance be taken in our new video conference classes?
A: Yes. In fact, beyond being “virtual” we expect all students to report to class on time and participate fully.
Q: What is the dress code for virtual classes?
A: We are moving to “relaxed dress code” – which means that uniforms are not required, but students need to be dressed appropriately.
Q: Are the 9th grade machshava classes meeting?
A: No. We will resume those classes after our return to school.
Q: What should I do if I am having technical difficulties and cannot get into one of my classes?
A: If you have enough time to address the technical problem, contact Rabbi Segal or Mrs. Friedman. If not, please email your teacher before class begins. It is the courteous thing to do!
Q: Will there be tests and quizzes?
A: Unfortunately, the virtual environment we are using is not ideal for tests and quizzes. Instead your teachers will be using alternative assessments – everything from reflections to portfolios.
Finally, please remember that we are all in this together! Your teachers want to make sure that they are doing their utmost to make your learning meaningful and impactful, and we expect you to be engaged and learning.
Of course, we also want your feedback, because we are all new at this! Please share you ideas with your teachers or with me. As Rabbi Chanina taught (Taanit 7a): הרבה למדתי מרבותי, ומחבירי – יותר מרבותי, ומתלמידי – יותר מכולן – “I have learned much from my teachers, and from my colleagues even more. But from my students – I have learned more from than anyone else!”
May our learning, and tefillot continue to serve as merit for those who are ill, and may the precautions we take and the grace of G-d protect us from this pandemic!
Rabbi Leonard A. Matanky, Ph.D.
Dean, Ida Crown Jewish Academy