A Note From Noah

Dear parents,

This Note includes three topics that I wanted to highlight for you. The first is my upcoming paternity leave, and the second two are “can’t-miss” school events in the coming weeks.

Beginning Monday May 8th, I will be taking a twelve-week paternity leave with my baby boy Solomon. I will be back at work for the final four days of the school year, to say goodbye and be here for the conclusion of our year together. I will then be in part-time over the summer months.  During my leave, Shari will assume many of the responsibilities of Director and will be your go-to person for anything you might have come to me for, including any exmissions conversations. As always, please reach out to Tara for any admissions or enrollment matters. I am proud to work in a family-friendly organization that supports fathers taking leave for child care.

Please see below for an overview of two important upcoming events, both of which I am deeply passionate about. These two events – Peer Learning Cycle on May 4 and Our Immigrant Stories on May 21 – showcase two of the many ways in which we are more than a school; we are a community.  By enrolling your child in our nursery school you have become a part of something much deeper and broader than the four walls of your child’s classroom. Our Immigrant Stories is a chance to explore the roots of our community; the Peer Learning Cycle is a chance to explore where our teachers will be bringing our school in the years to come. I would love to see you at both events.

Peer Learning Cycle – Thursday, May 4, 5:15pm-7:15pm, 2nd floor classrooms

A teacher does a lot of things. A good teacher is not only a “teacher” but is also a friend, counselor, judge, psychologist, mayor, artist, author…the list goes on. We hold our teachers to a high set of expectations and broad responsibilities – and at the JCC they always seem to exceed even the highest of bars! Yet, the title “teacher” sometimes obscures those responsibilities that are not strictly “teaching.” One role which our teachers have devoted themselves to is “researcher”, a muscle they flex through our Peer Learning Cycle (PLC). The PLC is designed to offer small, self-selected groups of teachers the opportunity to research a particular school-related topic throughout the course of the year, yielding fresh understanding on an element of our school. In a paradox of nomenclature, our teachers are learners.

On Thursday May 4th our teachers will be sharing their research journey with you. It would mean so much to me – and them – to have you there with us that evening. We believe that curiosity – that essential ingredient in all moments of authentic learning – is cultural and contagious. Join us for an evening of exploring our teachers’ curiosities, and share with your children that you, too, want to learn from, and with, their teachers. This evening is inspired by a statement by Dr. Robert Schaefer, a former dean of Teachers College, Columbia University, who wrote about teachers and parents: “How can children fully know the dynamism of learning if the adults around them stand still?” The PLC encourages our teachers to not “stand still” but rather eagerly pursue the exploration of ideas. We invite you to join us on May 4th in a community evening where we can all enjoy “the dynamism of learning.”

During the evening, you will have the opportunity to attend two half-hour presentations from different PLC groups. The full description of each group is available here, as well as which teachers are doing which group, if you want to attend based on teacher instead of content). Please RSVP to Linda at lsierra@jccmanhattan.org and indicate which two groups you would like to attend.

The schedule for the evening will be as follows:

5:15-5:45pm - Arrive, check in, schmooze over snacks and wine in Common Space
5:45pm - Transition into classrooms
6:00-6:30pm - First presentation
6:30-6:45pm – Transition
6:45pm-7:15pm – Second presentation

Our Immigrant Stories – Sunday, May 21, 4:30-6:00pm, L2 Auditorium.

Come celebrate the diverse global roots of our nursery school community! After spending months interviewing many of our PreK parents and children, this program will share audio and visual aspects of Our Immigrant Stories. Interwoven throughout the evening will be a perspective on Jewish history and values on the topic. This is our first time hosting this event and we look forward to this becoming an annual staple and part of the fabric of our community. Please see the event flyer here.

RSVP by Sunday, May 14 to Linda at lsierra@jccmanhattan.org. Please include name and number of adults attending the event. We will also be offering childcare during the event for children currently enrolled in nursery school (no infants or alum, sorry!). If you will be using this service, please also include the name and number of children for childcare in your RSVP to Linda.

Shabbat shalom,