From the Desk of Brandon Cohen
I hope that you and your family are well and weathering these days as smoothly as possible. I know this is an incredibly challenging time for most, and the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything. We are all feeling enormous uncertainty, and for some, it has been particularly difficult. We have nonetheless pushed through this together, keeping our community strong and supporting one another through a challenging time. I am writing with several updates about the remainder of this school year and to share some information about the summer and fall.
2019-2020 School Year: After a great deal of deliberation, the decision has been made that Brawerman will continue with BES@home for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. I recognize that this news may have seemed inevitable at this point, but there is no denying how disappointing it is that our students will not have the opportunity to learn, play, and laugh in person with their friends and teachers for the rest of this school year. Even though our BES@home program continues to evolve and offer the best possible learning outcomes under the circumstances, nothing replaces being together in person, on campus. I cannot overstate how much we miss your children!
Our goal for the remainder of this year is to ensure that Brawerman's remote learning program continues to help our students thrive personally and intellectually while keeping them connected to each other and the broader Brawerman community. Despite different developmental needs and expectations from grade to grade, our faculty have been committed to finding the right balance to support each child's academic growth. Our educators have found creative ways to teach content and skills, assess performance and knowledge, and offer meaningful feedback. I am incredibly proud of our teachers for what they have done in such a short period of time.
Graduation for Class of 2020: At this time I can not say precisely what graduation will look like, but I know it will be different. Planning is underway led by Mrs. Zysman at West and Dr. Miller at East, and we are committed to celebrating and honoring our Brawerman Class of 2020 graduates and their families. We will create an event that will feel special, be memorable, and can be shared with classmates, families, friends, and teachers.
Summer Programing: Blaze Camp has been a popular option for Brawerman students rising into Grades 1-4 for the three weeks immediately after school ends, this year scheduled for June 15 - July 03, 2020. We want camp to happen this summer more than ever. However, we continue to monitor the situation to determine if we will be able to run camp. If we are unable to offer our traditional Blaze Camp during its normally scheduled sessions, we are considering alternative programming dates or options that we might be able to offer, if it is deemed safe to do so. Over the next few weeks we will determine if (and how) we can move forward with a summer program in the safest manner for our community.
2020-2021 School Year: Many of you have reached out with questions regarding our plans for the upcoming academic year and whether we will resume our normal on-campus program in the fall. Brawerman and Wilshire Boulevard Temple are fully committed to doing everything we can to reopen the campuses for our scheduled opening day of the 2020-2021 school year, September 1 for East and September 2 for West. There remains an immense amount of uncertainty about what we will, or will not, be able to do come September. For this reason we are preparing for multiple scenarios to ensure we have options once we have more clarity about what will be necessary for returning school to our campuses. Our priority is to get students back on campus as long as it is safe to do so, and we know that we may have to adhere to social distancing policies that may require more space, more staffing, modified schedules, different hygiene and sanitation protocols, or other adjustments to be determined later.
I have multiple meetings each week with the Temple's Director of Safety and Security Cory Wenter and Executive Director Donna Nadel as well as other members of Temple leadership for strategic planning sessions. I am also working closely with members of the Board of Education and School Governance Committee, a subcommittee of the Wilshire Boulevard Temple Board of Trustees, on assessing options and considering resources to allow for a safe and effective reentry. We know from our implementation of BES@home that we can deliver instruction and move students along a curriculum, but we also know that we miss being together. We will be prepared to accomplish our mission, maintain the highest quality learning experience for students, and nurture our deeply connected community no matter what the scenario in September. We will continue to communicate our plans as new information and recommendations guide our decisions in the coming months.
Credits/Refunds: Refunds for enrichments and athletics will be prorated for whatever portion of the activity that was canceled due to the campus closures. Credit will be applied first to any outstanding balance on 2019-2020 fees, and any remaining credit will then either be credited to next year's tuition or refunded at the discretion of each family. Additionally, families will be given the option of donating refunds to BES scholarships. Party Book and challah payments are managed by the Parent Associations, and refunds will be provided for canceled parties and undelivered challahs. We are grateful to those families who have redirected these refunds to scholarships. A separate email will be sent to each family in the next few weeks to ask how you would like us to process your refund.
Financial Hardship: We are aware that each family is experiencing the consequences of the "Stay at Home" order differently, and we know that many of our families are undergoing financial hardship due the pandemic's economic impacts. We want all of our new and current students to be a part of Brawerman next year and will do everything we can to make that possible. If you are experiencing financial hardship right now, please reach out to me directly so that we can support you.
Lastly, your feedback continues to be important to us as we continually evaluate our students' learning experiences. Our mutual success is dependent on working effectively together. If you need anything or have a suggestion, please email me.
I speak for the entire faculty in expressing our deep gratitude for the support and positive wishes we have received, and I hope you are well and safe. We will get through this together. #BrawermanStrong