March 27, 2020

Dear Pardes Community,

I wanted to reach out today to say THANK YOU. Thank you for all of the support, patience, and flexibility that you have shown these past two weeks. We know all too well that this is not an easy time for any of us, but I am so proud of the way that our entire community has rallied. To that end, I hope you have seen the viral social media post Adjusted Syllabus written by a University of North Carolina professor. He writes what we are all thinking, “Nobody signed up for this—not for the sickness, not for the social distancing, not for the sudden end of our collective lives together on campus.”   Many have commented that this piece truly speaks to our new normal.

I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to fill out the survey that we sent yesterday afternoon. While we are collecting them until Sunday morning, we have already started the process of reviewing them, and we will send another communication detailing how we intend to use the data to refine and upgrade what we are currently doing with our distance learning. For example, one thing that stood out right away with our Lower School families was the need for more face time with their children’s teachers. So, starting Monday, we are going to have the Lower School teachers use ZOOM instead of Google Meets to connect with their students four days a week in the morning. Your child’s teachers will be sending out information about that prior to Monday. In addition, Music, PE, Makerspace, and Art will all be hosting live Zoom meetings with the Lower School. A schedule will be sent by Sunday evening.

It is our continued goal to offer significant learning opportunities for your child. Please remember to refer to your child’s Schoology page for Agendas (K-3) and assignments (4-8). Additionally, please know that we do understand how challenging all of this can be. I want to encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher, Ms. Lock, Ms. Woodnick, or me for support. 

As we prepare to welcome in Shabbat, I wanted to share a wonderful post from Emily W. King, Ph.D. She wrote this to all parents and it definitely hit home. She writes:

“Parents: What we are being asked to do is not humanly possible. There is a reason we are either a working parent, a stay-at-home parent, or a part-time working parent.

Working, parenting, and teaching are three different jobs that cannot be done at the same time.

It’s not hard because you are doing it wrong. It’s hard because it’s too much. Do the best you can.

When you have to pick, because at some point you will, choose CONNECTION. Pick playing a game over arguing about an academic assignment. Pick teaching your child to do laundry rather than feeling frustrated that they aren’t helping. Pick laughing, and snuggling, and reminding them that they are safe.

If you are stressed, lower your expectations where you can and virtually reach out for social connection. We are in this together to stay well. That means mentally well, too.

I wish you a meaningful Shabbat and a relaxing weekend. 

Shabbat Shalom,
Peter Gordon
Head of School