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Scheck Hillel Enhances Student Experience With Intensive Faculty Training, Program Additions

Scheck Hillel Enhances Student Experience: Intensive Faculty Training, Program Additions

The summer “command center” at Scheck Hillel Community School is abuzz with activity. From planning campus logistics and sanitization measures to intensive professional development and installation of new technologies, Scheck Hillel is prepared to deliver on its pillars: providing a rigorous college preparatory education steeped in Jewish values and community. All the while, the health of our students, faculty and staff is the priority.

The command center is in itself a community of constant learning led by Head of School Vanessa Donaher and Rabbinic Head Dr. Ezra Levy. Members of the school’s leadership team, faculty, staff and volunteers rotate in and out of the center, ensuring that each decision made meets the highest quality standards. “No single person or entity has all the answers in this situation. A unique and ever-changing landscape requires collaboration and a healthy amount of listening,” remarked Mrs. Donaher.    

On campus or online, Scheck Hillel’s key area of focus is the educational product to be offered in the fall. 
  • Academics will kick off with an optional, free of charge Academic Boot Camp for Kindergarten-Grade 12 for the two weeks immediately before the start of school. Students will  refresh skills and make connections online; 240 students registered for this incredible value-added opportunity.  
  • A comprehensive Student Orientation program will aid the transition to school.  
  • Every student in Kindergarten-Grade 5 will receive a new personal Chromebook pre-loaded with all software and resources for the school year, along with an individualized kit of essential school supplies. 
  • Upper School students will receive necessary learning materials before school begins. 
  • Taking lessons and feedback from spring’s swift move to its Hillel @ Home model, the online offer is strengthened in both quality and quantity:  
    • Increased live daily instructional time
    • Developmentally-appropriate schedules
    • Enhanced Class Pages with easier user experience as the point of access to all classes, including specials like art, music and PE 
    • New flat-panel interactive displays in all classrooms to enhance in-class instruction and deliver a strong online concurrent learning experience
    • Expanded faculty office hours to include further opportunities for one-to-one connection.
    • Counseling groups to bolster social-emotional learning
    • A vibrant Student Life program to maintain ruach and community

The cornerstone of a strengthened online component is intensive faculty training. Led by Chief Academic Officer Craig Carpentieri, and designed by I LAB Instructor and Lower School Technology Coordinator Nancy Penchev, the program is personalized and self-paced. In the first week of training, Scheck Hillel teachers completed 200 classes. “I know how much our teachers love our children. I know how much they love teaching. And they wanted to improve their skills in using specific technology tools,” Ms. Penchev said.  

Scheck Hillel has been a model of collaboration and problem-solving this summer, when committed educators have learned from each other, from peers in other schools and from national leaders. Mrs. Donaher recently met with Miami-Dade County Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho for an exchange of ideas and experiences.  

Scheck Hillel is fully in the “doing” phase of what will be an extraordinary year of learning and coming together. As Lions we roar, as students we soar!