This Week in Upper School 11/24/2020

Upper School Notes


Post-Break Re-Entry Plan: AEC will conduct two, live synchronous remote learning days following Thanksgiving break, on Monday, November 30 and Tuesday, December 1. These are required school days conducted via Zoom and students should be wearing their uniform tops with their cameras turned on. We will then see everyone return to campus on Wednesday, December 2 (assuming state directives have not been issued to the contrary). Please note that on regularly-scheduled school days, there is no opt-in for remote Edsby or Zoom learning. The Adelson Educational Campus is a face-to-face instructional institution. Only students who are ill or have been quarantined as designated by our protocols, our COVID Response Team, and our school nurse may participate in remote learning.


Students and teachers getting a COVID test must show a negative result on a PCR test to return to school. The test is preferably a high-quality nasopharyngeal swab that is collected within 24 hours of symptom onset. Rapid tests are helpful for determining COVID status quickly, but must be followed up by a PCR test.  Individuals taking a COVID test may not return to school until after documentation of their negative tests results is received. Depending on the situation, an individual may still be quarantined beyond the date of the negative test result.



Getting Brainy in Psychology

Juniors and seniors in Vered Lopez’s Psychology course explore the wonders of the brain, often using the most interesting animals for lab experimentation -- themselves!  This year, students have already engaged in a wide range of fun and insight-building investigations to understand the form and function of the brain’s various parts, its myriad of sensory inputs, and how it processes information. On any given day, you may see Ms. Lopez’s class using colorful Legos and writing building instructions to assemble structures; or two students working cooperatively to tie a shoelace -- one using their right hand and the other using their left; or individuals attempting to ride a bike or walk a straight line while obscuring their vision using perception goggles (see a great video of this here). Ms. Lopez also guides students in exploring the anatomy and physiology of the brain, working in conjunction with Science Department Chair Paula Garrett to dissect sheep’s brains (note that students who prefer to conduct a virtual dissection can do so). In a challenging year during which she must conduct hybrid teaching of a very hands-on subject, Ms. Lopez dazzles her students and sparks their imaginations (another key ability of the amazing brain)!



Catching Zzzzzs -- Building Good Sleep Hygiene

By Maria Paxinos


AEC high school students were fortunate to attend a recent Zoom presentation by Dr. Rachakonda from The Sleep Center of Nevada.  Dr. Rachakonda is a Las Vegas native who attended Duke University, and Weill Cornell Medical College. Recognizing the disruption which characterizes our current world and the unique challenges experienced by teens during this critical period of “growing up,” Dr. Rachakonda helped students learn about the importance of sleep and proper sleep hygiene in their lead up to adulthood.


Dr. Rachakonda spoke to students about four different theories of why we sleep, and what negative effects can happen when teenagers do not get enough quality sleep.  She also presented different sleep studies focusing on teenagers which showed that sleep deprivation has the ability to affect a students attention and focus, academic performance, memory issues, increased risk of mental illness, behavioral difficulties such as impulse control and drowsy driving.  Most students were surprised to learn that teenagers should be getting 8 to 10 hours of sleep a night for optimum benefit and health.  


Dr. Rachakonda concluded her presentation with the following tips for healthy sleep:

  • Get 8-10 hours a sleep per night
  • Keep electronics out of the bedroom
  • Keep a regular bedtime and wake time as much as possible
  • Avoid or reduce caffeine intake
  • Avoid fatty foods or strenuous physical activity prior to bedtime
  • Adopt a relaxing bedtime routine like meditation, lavender oil or non caffeinated herbal tea
  • Minimize daytime napping
  • Exercise regularly during the day

We all want to thank Dr. Rachakonda for her time, expertise, and interest in providing teenagers with the knowledge to make healthy decisions about their health and wellness.



The Life and Legacy of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l

By Aviel Parente


As a follow up to the article written by Interim Head of School Arnold Zar-Kessler regarding the passing of Rabbi Sacks, sophomore Aviel Parente offers this additional tribute:


“To be immortal all you need to do is engrave your values on the minds of your children.”  ~ Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks z”l


On Saturday morning, November 7, 2020, Shabbat Kodesh, the 20th of MarCheshvan 5781, the world experienced a major loss–the loss of Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks Zichrono LiVracha, Baruch Dayan HaEmet (May his memory be a blessing, Blessed be the True Judge). An incredible man, an inspiration to many, and a light to all that shined brightly for our time, he illuminated four generations, and his light will continue to radiate for generations to come.


Born in 1948 to a Jewish family, he attended religious Christian primary school. While a student at Cambridge, Sacks visited Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson (the Lubavitcher Rebbe) where he was inspired to become a rabbi. After becoming a well-known philosopher, politician, and educator, he was appointed to be the Chief Rabbi of England. He became a world-renowned author, theologian, rabbi, and lecturer. He was knighted in 2005 and—four years later—became Baron Sacks of Aldgate. Awarded the Templeton Prize in 2016 for “bringing spiritual insight to the public conversation through mass media, popular lectures and more than two dozen books," he became an influential figure, not only amongst the Jewish community but for the entire world.


Rabbi Sacks dedicated his life to not only his fellow Jews but to the entire world. He went above and beyond, engraving his values of kindness, respect, virtue, dignity, and honor into the minds of countless people whether they were followers of his or not. He–and his morals and values–will be immortal because he engraved them in the minds of so many people. Possibly his greatest achievement of all was his ability to do this.


For his legacy, for the everlasting impact he left on this world, we dedicated Kabbalat Shabbat last week to him. He found ways to make the most specific subject universally understood. He affected peoples’ lives in the millions through his many works, which he dedicated his life to crafting. He dedicated his life to bettering the world for us all, Jews and non-Jews alike. Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks, may his memory be a blessing, will be missed greatly.



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