This week in Upper School 8/28/2020
Upper School Team
Friday, August 28, 2020
Judaism Informs These Trying Times
We are finally together again, boots on the ground, for the 2020-21 school year! The year looks different than any previous school year, and we know that while most students and teachers are exhilarated by this tempered freedom, some members of our school community are struggling with the constraints we must observe to maintain safety. Inbar Levi-Agami, our High School Lead teacher for Jewish Studies reflects on our current condition through a cultural and historical lens:
Trying times are not a strange concept in Judaism. In fact, the first time the Israelites are referred to as a nation is by Pharaoh, who in the story of the Exodus enslaves them out of fear for their growing numbers, strength, and unity. As in Exodus, some of Judaism’s most challenging and defining moments are directly linked to the people’s unity, resilience, and faith in God, each other, and a better future to come. That is one reason why Jews are commanded to retell the story of the Exodus over and over again, and remember that: “…in every generation they rise up to destroy us. But the Holy One, Blessed be He, delivers us from their hands.” (Pesach Haggadah).
Remaining steadfast and resolute in our daily lives is a theme our high school students tackled during today’s Kabbalat Shabbat services. Organized and led by junior, Judah Hafter -- who is mentored by our Jewish Life lead teacher, Jackie Edery -- today’s services included a special message of action-oriented positivity. That message, created by our PreMed upperclassmen in Human Body Systems -- Itai Blank, Isabella Saunders, and Madison Speidel -- offered all Adelson Lions strategies to occupy our minds and bodies constructively in today’s COVID world. We are proud of the collaboration and cross-disciplinary partnerships our students and faculty engage in each and every day. As Ms. Levi-Agami notes:
Be it the Egyptian enslavement, Roman exile, Spanish Inquisition, or Covid-19, Judaism teaches us that together we are stronger than anything that might come.
Hybrid Teaching is a Hoot with the OWL
Adelson Upper School educators have become remarkable masters of technology in creating lessons that capitalize on interactive teaching software -- such as Smartboard for Zoom and Pear Deck -- and hardware including omindirectional cameras and microphones. This week, Law Program, Lead and English teacher, Ms. Courtney Stern piloted one of our newest devices, the OWL, which provides 360-degree, audio-triggered views on her onsite students. Employing the OWL, her desktop computer, and her laptop simultaneously in her middle school You and the Law course and her high school Trial Advocacy course, Ms. Stern found that the additional technology afforded an even more connected and immersive experience in the hybrid paradigm. Specifically, she observed that remote learners were able to view a full panorama of her brick-and-mortar classroom, with one student exclaiming his joy in, “finally seeing what the entire classroom looks like!” Adding additional tech tools is no easy feat, and watching each teacher instruct their hybrid classes is like seeing someone serve as a show runner, a television director at the control board, and the live show host all at the same time. Kudos to our intrepid team of Adelson teachers who are diving into new technologies and working hard every day for the benefit of our equally amazing students!
Reminder of Uniform Requirements
Beginning August 31, students must wear proper uniforms every day. Of note, outerwear on Monday through Thursday must be official Adelson logo wear -- students wearing non-Adelson outerwear will be asked to remove it. The Friday dress uniform demonstrates our respect for Shabbat. On Friday, students are expected to wear their official Adelson logo blazer; an official Adelson button-up shirt or blouse in white or light-blue; khaki pants, khaki skirt, or plaid skirt (non-khaki pants are not permitted). Shirts must be tucked in and pants must be worn with black or brown belt. For high school students: solid black, brown, or navy dress flats, shoes, or conservative boots are required. Middle school students may wear dress footwear like high school students or they may wear dark, conservative tennis shoes.
Perspectives in Middle School Math Enrichment
In Middle School Math Enrichment (MSME), students with a knack for mathematics try their hand at solving puzzling problems and exploring tangential topics. This week, students were introduced to two-point perspective drawing used in architecture and graphic design. Using only pencils and rulers, students drafted their own creations, drawing inspiration from an elegant example that MSME instructor, Mr. Swiecionis developed and shared. “Mr. Swis” (as he’s affectionately known) commented: “They were astonished at how parallel and perpendicular lines with a varying scale of size made their buildings jump out of their paper. Both sections of MSME loved it!”
Families should note that the Adelson Educational Campus does not provide opt-in remote learning. Remote learning is provided to students who have been placed in temporary quarantine, or -- one quarter at a time -- to students who have medical issues documented with the Upper School Office. Additionally, we are pleased to announce that, beginning August 31, Mr. Frank Browne will be serving as an Academic Coach to help support remote learners in managing their experience and staying connected to campus.
Students who are at home with a short-term illness or emergency and have communicated with the Upper School Office may be able to attend some classes via Zoom, however, students should not expect that all teachers can offer their classes remotely on short notice. We appreciate your help in coordinating and streamlining all remote learning requests through the Upper School Office (message Michele Kaufman via Edsby) to ensure that our team has sufficient lead time to provide productive and high-quality learning experiences.
Welcome History Teacher, Brian Tann
Mr. Brian Tann is joining the Upper School faculty next week as a history and social studies teacher of both middle and high school students! Mr. Tann earned his BA in History from Denison University and continued his education at the Claremont Graduate University. After completing his MA in history, he completed the Post-Degree Teaching Licensure Program at Capital University, beginning his career as an educator. During the past 16 years, he has taught Social Studies, History, and Gifted and Talented Education at the high school and middle school levels in face-to-face settings in Connecticut, Ohio, and Nevada, as well as via online distance learning platforms. He enjoys content addressing United States history, especially Civil War studies and the Roaring Twenties. An avid life-long learner, Mr. Tann has traveled the globe attending professional conferences and presenting scholarly papers. Mr. Tann also stays active in his life’s sport, swimming, through coaching at the high school and club levels. Let’s give him a warm welcome to Adelson!
Back-to-School Night for Upper School
This year’s back-to-school night will be conducted in the comfort of your own home, via Zoom! Save the date of Tuesday, September 15 from 5:30 to 6:45pm. Parents, you will Zoom through each course in your child’s complete course lineup, including all core courses, focus area courses, and Pride Period. Teachers will provide quick previews of their courses, inviting you to engage briefly as your students do during their regular schooldays. The Zoom link will be provided as we approach the event. Looking forward to “seeing you here!”