Shavua Tov: Gann BaBayit (Gann at Home)
It is a true sign of the strength of our community that even in such challenging times, there has been an outpouring of support for Gann Academy. Students, parents, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members have all reached out to see how they could help our beloved school.
As soon as we made the tough decision to move Gann to online learning last week, our team had to pivot to ensure that a new plan could be put in place for students, for employees, for our business functions, for development, and for prospective students. Over a short period of time, I witnessed an abundance of creativity, teamwork, and agility across all departments at Gann.
After a short planning process, we opened our Gann BaBayit (Gann at Home) program with great success. In just a few days, we trained over 70 faculty and staff members to teach 123 classes on ZOOM running a full schedule for nearly 300 students each day. We also began testing and incorporating other software programs into instruction to keep things interesting for kids. Throughout our planning, we have been committed to retaining the Jewish Neshama (soul) of our school with online Z’man Kodesh (holy time) and additional Jewish Studies options. We have created additional online flex blocks to accommodate electives such as Jazz Band, Robotics, meditation, and even dance parties! We are also making sure our students and faculty gather on Fridays for our regular Hakhel in order to retain our sense of community. To help address the isolation of social distancing and to attend to the social-emotional needs of our students, our student support team is reaching out to students individually every week to make sure they are not falling through the cracks. In essence, we are running a full program virtually.
I want to share an email I received from a parent of three Gann students about her kids’ first day back:
What an incredible day of learning! Our house was abuzz with excitement throughout the day, and we were amazed at how well everything worked. KOL HAKAVOD / WAY TO GO to the most incredible team of educators, administrators and teachers. I have SO MUCH GRATITUDE for all of the teachers and the entire team that made this possible in no time at all. You all must be wearing superhero capes under your clothes. I know so many kids who are just home with nothing to do - because of you our kids are engaged and their lives are full of learning and community.
Some community members have asked how they can help. We don’t yet know the fiscal impact of COVID-19 on Gann but we are confident that together, with our committed families and community supporters, we will be okay. If asked, please recommend that folks give to the Gann Fund to help the school meet unanticipated needs and expenses.
The best part of working with kids all day is that they teach us adults so much. May we as adults learn how to be as resilient and spirited as our children. Most importantly, may we learn how to infuse each day with gratitude and laughter.
Dr. Dalia Hochman
Head of School