Since I entered the field of education over 40 years ago, I have been hearing about the notion of summer educational loss, a notion that looks at learning as some sort of a bank of knowledge that unless actively invested, loses a percentage of its corpus. Countless research studies have disproven this myth – and have shown quite the contrary, that having a respite from directed learning actually allows processing of materials learned, and after quick review, students are able to ramp up and learn much more effectively than otherwise.
While many public schools are considering amending their calendars to make up for lost learning due to the fact that it took many weeks for online learning to be established, at Yavneh we feel that the quick adjustment of our teachers and continuous engagement of our students have, overall, kept our students on track to achieve their educational goals. We encourage you to seek summer opportunities for your children to explore their interests and interact with others – through virtual camps, enrichment classes – such as the ones that we are planning at Yavneh, and time in the backyard, and in any safe way that they can engage with the world.
After the Roman conquest of Jerusalem, the leadership of the Jewish people were driven out and created a new center of learning in the city of Yavneh. It is the innovation of transference from a religion based on the practices of the holy temple to a decentralized model that kept Judaism alive. But in reality, the reason this innovation worked was that innovations to worship and observance began well before the Roman conquest of Jerusalem. The expulsion itself brought these innovations to the forefront and encouraged further innovations.
For the past six years, Yavneh has been continuously innovating. Our models of immersion and integrated learning are but a few of the innovations that we have been undertaking. It is this mindset of innovation that has allowed us to respond as quickly as we did to the changes in reality. It is also this mindset that is guiding us as we study the successes and challenges of these past two months in anticipation of the next school year. Your participation in surveys has been invaluable, and I highly encourage you to participate in next week’s parent survey which will include a greater focus on your attitudes towards reopening as well as your needs as parents.
This summer we hope that our students do their part preparing for school by taking the time to reboot. We have yet to receive absolute directives from authorities about the opening of school, nor do we know when those guidelines will be issued, but we do know that Yavneh will continue to innovate to create meaningful learning for our students, whether in person or virtually. Shabbat Shalom -Zvi