Friday, September 1, 2023   15 Elul, 5783

Dear Harkham GAON Families,

It’s September 1st, and we’re already two weeks into the school year!  I am grateful for all of the students, teachers, families and community members who are instrumental in the success of our school.  

Many schools in our area just began this week, yet here we are, already implementing two important aspects of our school program in terms of curriculum and instruction. We’re getting started with our StrongMind curriculum, and we’ve already had two of our onsite Hebrew classes with Santa Monica City College. We ask that students and their families be aware that it takes a couple of weeks to fully integrate and normalize these and other programs into our master schedule.  We ask for your patience during this time. Teachers may be reaching out for assistance to ensure that your child has completed all steps necessary to take advantage of these opportunities. 

“Lo telech rachil b'ameicha” (Leviticus 19:16) tells us not to “go up and down as a talebearer among the people.” Earlier in my short tenure here, I was asked if I was planning to use WhatsApp to push out information from the school to parents.  I stated that I might eventually use WhatsApp in that manner, but that I would start by using our school website and/or the Constant Comment app (the one I am using now). These are both standard practices in the education world, and with which I am most familiar.  I respectfully request that WhatsApp or other Social Media not be used as an interactive communication device. From my years of experience, I have learned that such communication easily, and quickly, becomes toxic. 

Official communications regarding school programs and policies will come directly from me, or a member of my administrative team. Any questions about our school programs and policies should come directly to me.  In order to better manage and keep track of communication within our community, I have instituted a series of forms on our website under the “About” tab.  Please use these whenever applicable, and I will be adding more forms.

It has been a pleasure getting to know your children.  Our students are generally respectful to faculty and administration and kind to each other.  Students have been learning that honesty is the best policy.  When students leave campus without permission, this constitutes a lack of appreciation for the special opportunity they have been afforded to attend such an amazing and unique school.  As we work through the next few weeks, we are hoping to foster an environment of respect, kindness, honesty and gratitude.

Let us all look forward to a restful and enjoyable Shabbat and three-day weekend for the Labor Day holiday. 

Shabbat Shalom,

Ruth Morris


Harkham GAON Academy