This past year has been a year of moments. We will remember the moments when we felt isolated and alone, and the moments where we felt the sense of community more than we ever have before. We will remember the moments of uncertainty, and the moments of strength and clarity. As clearly as we will forever remember the moment that our Governor announced the first shutdown due to coronavirus, and that our world was changed forever, we will just as clearly remember the moment when we knew that our children were returning to learn in person on the Berman campus.
This was the moment that we were able to restore some sense of normalcy. This was the moment when we recommitted our entire community to the academic, religious, and social wellbeing of our students. And with everything that has occurred during the 2020-21 academic year, perhaps our community would’ve said “dayenu”. Perhaps people would’ve been grateful enough that students were back in school, back with their teachers and friends. Perhaps people would’ve been relieved enough to restore routines for our children and households. But at Berman, we did not say “dayenu.” It would not be enough to just be back with our students. Our goal is not to beat Covid… our mission is to educate children. We continued to make investments in our teachers through directed professional development. We continued to invest in better assessment methods to learn about each of our students. We pursued our capital projects that would enhance our religious and spiritual learning and provide us with better learning spaces. 2020-21 was not just a year of managing Covid, it was a year to lead our community to a better place.
As such, we share with you this new “Community Update.” The moments of reaching each child, teaching new ideas, and exploring new frontiers. The moments of individual student milestones, and the moments of community highlights. Simply put, this new quarterly communication will share the incredible moments that truly make us BERMAN.
I hope that you feel as much pride, gratitude, and joy in reading about these moments.
Rabbi Dr. Yossi Kastan
Head of School
On September 1, 2020 we opened our campus doors and began the process to bring our students back to their second home. Watch this short video outlining these efforts.
Every week, Lower School students look forward to Friday Oneg. In “normal” years, they all gather in the auditorium, but this year, we are bringing the excitement into the classrooms. Virtual Oneg is streamed into all of the classes, allowing our students to see each other, and sometimes special visitors show up.
Recently, we started bringing grades back into the auditorium so they can have a special Oneg experience in a safe way. Check out these photos from our fifth grade “live” Oneg a few weeks ago. While not quite the same, it was a very meaningful experience for the students (and staff!)
When we made the commitment to return our students in-person, we knew we couldn’t just focus on education. The social aspects of our Berman community are just as important. We wanted to create a special event for our seniors so they could celebrate their Chanukah Chagiga, Coronaka style. With the help of plexiglass and pool noodles for distancing, our cafeteria was transformed into a beautiful event space. Click here to see more photos.
In October, we unveiled our new tennis courts and basketball hoops. The courts provide additional outdoor space for all of our students, and they are used for recess and lunch on the courts. We also hosted tennis clinics for our students in the Fall and we are building a Berman Cougars tennis team in the future. We are grateful to the anonymous donor who made this possible. Here are more photos of the transformation.