In late June 2020, everything changed during a conversation between Heather and the temple’s Executive Director, Steve Kaufman which opened the door to endless possibilities. “I wanted Heather to feel free to create a new curriculum, abandon benchmarks and focus on the most critical areas; all the while keeping everyone part of our community and, most importantly, removing a financial burden for our families,” he said.
She then reached out to educators across the country to see how others were coping with this challenge, and soon found a new online year-long religious school curriculum specifically created for the pandemic year. We decided to give it a try and to only charge our families $180 for the year; since now there would be many less expenses to budget for, such as staff, supplies and other overhead, and it was a 180-degree pivot from our current way of teaching.
Heather then took on the daunting task of creating the curriculum with weekly lessons and collateral material, plus sending out all the email and text reminders to the families herself.
Our clergy would be her supportive partners in teaching, Brigitte Livingstone and Perle Gasse provided crucial administrative support; Izabela Tenenboim and Amanda Brensel of our Marketing and Communications team created the graphics and web pages for the RS 180 online portal so families could access content at their convenience, even if they couldn’t make it to virtual class.