Usually the first week back after Winter Break is full of taller students in new shoes, well rested teachers eager to get back to the work of educating their students, new projects, and stories of vacations. While it can be difficult to get back into the regular routine of school, for most teachers and students the first week after Winter Break is usually one filled with learning and a renewed sense of commitment and enthusiasm around all of the joy school has to offer.
Like so many other things since March of 2020, this year our return to school looked a little different. Students are still taller and they are still wearing new shoes, teachers are still presenting new units and material and learning, excitement, and joy is still in the air. However, because of the COVID 19 pandemic and other circumstances beyond our control, this week at PJA we found ourselves short many of our valuable faculty members each day. While we are fortunate to have a few wonderful substitute teachers in our community, like all schools in 2022, we don’t have nearly enough subs to fill our needs. This meant that on this first week back from winter break nearly all of our faculty members did double and triple duty!
If you were to have walked through the hallways of PJA this past week a sampling of what you would have seen was: our Spanish teacher teaching a Hebrew class, an Instructional Assistant teaching fourth grade, our Music Specialist teaching Kindergarten Hebrew and Jewish Studies, our school counselor teaching Health, and our Makerspace teacher teaching first grade General Studies. You would have seen teachers covering each other's recess, limmud and lunch duties, and teachers teaching multiple levels of Hebrew all together in one room. You also would have seen so much compassion and care for all of our faculty unable to be at school this week, and so much dedication to the academic and social emotional well-being of our students. If you would have walked through the halls of PJA this week, you would have seen what it means to be a part of a kehilah, a community that cares for and values each other and our shared commitment to our students above all else.
In the days and weeks ahead we anticipate that we will continue to work at our capacity to take care of our students and each other. We hope and pray that in a short time all of our faculty and students will return in good health and wish anyone who is sick a refuah shelemah (a complete healing). Meanwhile we will continue to bolster our community and support one another as the joy of learning and community continues at PJA. We are so fortunate, and if you visited the halls of PJA you would see that heroes work here.