This Week In Upper School 3/27/2020

Friday, March 27, 2020
 
Pride in Community
This week in Theatre Arts classes, AEC students experienced virtual visits with three of Mr. D’s former students who are now industry professionals, highlighting the accessibility and realities of careers in the Arts.  The high school Technical Theatre class had a visit from Rachel Goodman, a professional Stage Manager for shows at Universal Studios and freelance production assistant at various Los Angeles theaters. Full disclosure -- she’s also Mr. D’s niece.  The middle school Theatre and Cinema Arts classes had the opportunity to talk to professional actors Josh Brener (The Internship, Silicon Valley, Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Wars Resistance) and Jon Bass (Baywatch, Loving, Miracle Workers, Book of Mormon on Broadway). Throughout the visits, the AEC students asked thoughtful questions, made insightful comments, and presented themselves with a relaxed, yet professional demeanor.
 
AEC middle school students were able to participate in a few virtual lunches this week hosted by Mr. Koch and Ms. Paxinos!  Middle school students were able to join their friends and virtually eat together while chatting, sharing stories and having surprise visitors such as our librarian, Ms. Nails.  This was such a wonderful way for our community of students to connect in the familiar setting of lunch.
 
We at AEC are here to make our Senior class feel special! Today, our AEC Seniors were treated to a surprise delivery to their door... What special surprise awaited them? An AEC Prom goodie bag!  With AEC Prom canceled, this was one way we could bring the Senior Prom to our Seniors.
 
AEC middle school students were able to participate in a few virtual lunches this week, hosted by Mr. Koch and Ms. Paxinos!  Middle school students were able to join their friends and virtually eat together while chatting, sharing stories, and having surprise visitors such as our librarian, Ms. Nails.  This was such an excellent way for our community of students to connect in the familiar setting of lunch.
 
Pride in Excellence
On the last day we were at AEC, 8th grader Chris Chakryan completed his lamp project in the Break it – Make it Club. Students were challenged to take apart common items that were broken or no longer useful and create something with them. Chris made a fabulous LED lamp from old computer and 3D printer parts.
 
While adjusting to our new (and hopefully temporary) reality of remote learning, our Seniors are continuing to hear back from their colleges and universities. Highlighting the past week were positive decisions from American University, Boston University, Colgate University, Drexel University, George Washington University, Lehigh University, Miami University, the University of California, Davis, the University of California, San Diego, the University of California, Santa Barbara, and Yeshiva University in New York City. Furthermore, with recent notification of significant scholarship awards coming from George Washington, Lehigh, and Miami, our seniors have surpassed $3,679,000 in merit scholarships.  Mazel Tov to the Class of 2020!!
 
Teachers continue to show how nimble and responsive they are as teachers during this time of remote learning. This week, they learned how to set up and move students into breakout rooms during classes for concentrated discussion and work groups.  Teachers also make and upload videos in direct response to student questions and share recorded lessons for student review.
 
Pride in Jewish Values
“What does Hashem require of you, but to do justice, to love kindness and to walk humbly with your G-d.” - Micah 6:8
The Prophet Micah is teaching us the way to be a good human being: Do Justice, Love Kindness, and Walk humbly. AEC students and teachers came together to remotely celebrate Shabbat while staying at home. Inspired by Micah the Prophet, students put together a program that focused on “Acts of Kindness.” The 10th-grade students shared their yearlong “Chesed Project” in which they learn how to be a philanthropist by raising a bit less than $2000, which they will donate to worthy causes after spring break. During Kabbalat Shabbat students spent time calling Holocaust survivors and people in quarantine to support them during these challenging days. A student shared his thoughts, focusing on the concept of “Hineni,” “Here I Am,” in Hebrew. Students from 6th grade and 11th grade shared their own “Hineni” describing a “call” for acts of kindness. Other students shared their note “You Matter” expressing gratitude to someone important in their lives. We ended this Kabbalat Shabbat by praying for healing to all of those who needed healing of body and healing of spirit and let us say, Amen.
 
 
From your AEC School Counselors
 
BREATHE, BREATHE and BREATHE.  Then... BREATHE some more.
 
There is no academic emergency right now!  These are unprecedented times and adults and children alike are working to adjust and cope with what is our new normal.
 
First and foremost, you are a parent.  Decrease the possible pressure you place on yourself to be the main educator or academic teacher at home.
 
Learning will look different than it did in in-school classrooms.
 
In order to thrive in stressful times children need supportive and stable relationships with the adults in their life.  Make time to listen and help them manage their expectations, fears, concerns and emotions.
 
Expect learning at home will be like a rollercoaster.  One minute you look around and all is going perfect, according to plan, and you feel like you have this home learning thing down.  Thirty seconds later, chaos ensues, meltdowns are happening and it is insanity. BREATHE, BREATHE and BREATHE. Then... BREATHE some more.
 
Model emotional control for your children.  Recognize when you need to tap out, step out or ask for help.  Practice the pause; pause before responding, pause before reacting, pause before speaking.      
 
Many parents are doing triple duty: parenting, working and teaching.  This is a huge ask on your emotional resources.  Make sure to take care of yourself and practice good self care.  Just as the airline industry says, put on your oxygen mask first before placing one on your child.
 
Lean on your support system.  Social distancing does not mean social disengagement.  These are times when social support of family, friends and community are vital to our  overall well being.
 
Reach out to AEC counselors!  We are here for students, faculty, AND parents.
 
SAVE THE DATE
Conversations will not be cancelled.
Relationships will not be cancelled.
Love will not be cancelled.
Songs will not be cancelled.
Reading will not be cancelled.
Self-care will not be cancelled.
Hope will not be cancelled.
May we lean into the good stuff that remains.