With the summer days waning away, the Upper School faculty came back to Williston Park last week to set up classrooms and begin our preparations for the 2012-13 school year. Beyond these usual preparations, we sat to explore how we approach teaching and learning. In small groups, teachers reflected on their own learning experiences and discussed the implications of the changing world, particularly with technology. We continued to work with the staff on the roll out of Moodle, a learning management system that will support classes in the Upper School.

It was exciting to see the students arrive in the building and watch them greet old friends and meet new ones. We started our day with a school-wide tefillah in the High School and in the Middle School, where Rabbi Josh treated us to a visualization of the tension between the fixed routine of our davening and our desire to engage spiritually through a scene from one of my favorite movies, Dead Poets Society

The 9th graders and their peer connectors headed off to the Midway Jewish Center (graciously filling in as our rainy day location) for a fun and engaging 9th grade orientation. Outdoor educators from Nassau BOCES worked with the students to help them grow together as a class while engaging in problem solving activities.

The Middle School celebrated its first bat mitzvah of the year with much nachat (joy) and energy on Thursday. Later that day, E2K kicked off its first session of the year. Elsewhere, the 9th and 10th graders in the Sci-Tech program began their first classes in this exciting new endeavor.

Looking ahead, we have the High School Shabbaton around the corner (9th grade sign-up and 10-12th grade signup). I strongly encourage all high school students to join us for this event. Meet-the-Teachers Nights are also coming up (MS – September 12; HS – September 20) and I’m looking forward to meeting parents that evening.

Thank you to everyone for your ongoing warm welcome and support as I begin this new position of Upper School Principal.

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