Teacher Writing a Formula on a Blackboard


Dearest YOF Families,

In following up with our communication shared on Friday, today we share with you our Flatbush Home Learning plan we are calling Kesher Flatbush קשר פלטבוש. Over the past few days, in truly admirable fashion, our faculty has come together to train, collaborate, and plan for our students' continued learning during these trying times. I am a firm believer that when in life we are dealt an unexpected hand, it is our choice whether to see it as a challenge or an opportunity. While these are undoubtedly challenging times on every front, educationally and communally we have an opportunity to rise to the occasion. 

Due to the sheer quantity of information that is integral for us to share with you, we are bulleting the topics here for your convenience. I strongly urge that you take the time to read through all of the shared information as we evaluated and considered the entirety of this message with great care and feel that it is ALL important for our families to know.

  • What is Kesher Flatbush and when does it begin?

  • Who do we reach out to if we need technical help and how?

  • What is my child’s learning schedule?

  • What is Zoom and how do we use it?

  • What will communication look like?

  • What is expected of our children during this time period?

  • Seder Hayom

  • What are our expectations of our parents during this time period?

  • What do I do if my child needs access to belongings currently in school?

  • My child is feeling anxious about all or some of what is going on. How can I help them?

  • Important Tips

Please click "View entire message" at the bottom of your screen if you are not able to see the entire contents of this email.

What is Kesher Flatbush and when does it begin?

At Flatbush our ultimate goal over this timeframe is to stay connected with each and every one of our students and their families.

Our objectives are to:

  • Provide a healthy sense of consistency and routine for our students.

  • Provide each of our students with feelings of stability, strength, familiarity and reassurance.

  • Keep our students connected with their teachers both in terms of their face to face communication and through online communication platforms.

  • Continue their learning process and educational development.

  • Have our students feel, to the best of our ability, that during a time when we have to understandably be disconnected, albeit physically from each other, we maintain and cultivate more profound forms of connectivity in all other facets of their life.

Kesher Flatbush is going to be easily accessed through our new Kesher Flatbush Website. The Kesher Flatbush page will be continuously updated as we continue to evolve over the coming days. Our learning sessions will begin on Monday, March 16th.

Please keep in mind that teachers have been and continue to be working tirelessly to update these pages. You may see that not all links have been entered to this point but rest assured, all live and prerecorded links will by entered and updated as we progress.

To provide feedback general about the site, please note there is a feature at the bottom right to send us an email with your comments. We will respond as quickly as possible. If you need technical assistance, however, please refer to the section below entitled, "Who do we reach out to if we need technical help and how?"

Who do we reach out to if we need technical help and how?

Since there will be a heavy focus on new forms of communication, we will provide technical support for both our students and parents:

The Yeshivah of Flatbush Technology Department is ready to support our YOF Users and Parents in distance Learning, professional development and any technical issues you may be having.

YOF Students,Teachers, Administrators, and Staff who need technical or training support, please go to support.flatbush.org to place a Helpdesk Ticket with your technical issues or questions. You will need to use your YOF email (@flatbush.org) to place your request. Our Technicians are ready to provide you with support during business hours.

For YOF Parents who may need technical support for home learning resources or have a question, please send an email to yoftechparent@flatbush.org and provide a phone number to reach you. Our Technicians will respond Monday-Thursday- 8:00AM-5:00PM and on Friday from 8:00AM-1:30PM to provide support.

What is my child’s learning schedule?

To access your child’s learning schedule please visit our new Kesher Flatbush Website.

Please note that while a schedule and classes are provided here, we do anticipate that you may seek further and varying forms of engagement for your children. We are therefore providing an archive of age-appropriate home-based projects, learning platforms, Judaic- and General studies-based independent learning models and more on the website. We urge you to peruse through the archive and check in frequently as we will be updating it often.

What is Zoom and how do we use it?

Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars.

Zoom users can choose to record sessions, collaborate on projects, and share or annotate on one another's screens, all with one easy-to-use platform.

YOF has a Premium Zoom account (flatbush.zoom.us) that provides added features for teaching and learning and unlimited minutes for up to 300 participants at one time.

Our Zoom Premium account is Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) compliant, secure, in our own Zoom virtual environment.

Our Zoom Teacher Premium accounts include:

  • Instant messaging

  • Video meetings

  • Webinars

  • Group chats

  • Screen sharing

  • Room shares

  • Vast training opportunities

  • Video and audio conferencing

How do I join a class on Zoom?

  • Click on the link that your teacher sends you.

  • The next step depends on your device:

  • If you are on a Chromebook, you will be added to the class automatically.

  • If you are using a computer (Mac or PC): you will typically be added to the class automatically.

  • Sometimes:

  • You will be asked to click to download a file. 

  • After it downloads, double-click on it and it will invite you to join a meeting. Use the teacher’s 10 digit number or the end of their personal link (e.g. if the link is https://flatbush.zoom.us/my/ykrainess - just type ykrainess)

  • If you are using a phone:

  • You will be asked to download the Zoom app.

  • After it loads, click “Get” or “Open.”

  • Click the “join a meeting” button.  

  • Type the name or number of your teachers’ meeting.

  • Enter the teacher’s 10 digit number at the end of the link or 

  • Click “Join with a personal link name” and type the end of their personal link (e.g. if the link is https://flatbush.zoom.us/my/bkramer4 - just type bkramer4)

What can I do in the Zoom Class (after you log in, see the bottom of your screen)

  • Your teacher will probably have your sound muted.

  • You can click on Chat.

  • You might be able to send a personal message to the teacher.

  • You might also be able to send a comment to the whole class.

  • You can Click Start Video to show your face to the class.

  • You can click Participants and you can raise your hand and answer simple questions.

What if I’m having issues?

YOF Students,Teachers, Administrators, and Staff: go to support.flatbush.org to place a Helpdesk Ticket.

YOF Parents: send an email to yoftechparent@flatbush.org and provide a phone number to reach you.

For more details, please refer to section above entitled, "Who do we reach out to if we need technical help and how?"

What will communication look like?

Please pay attention to our email updates and social media posts. We will be sharing upcoming highlighted classes, activities and opportunities for engagement for both students and parents.

The success we seek to achieve together will be founded on our ability to communicate effectively. We will do our best to provide clear, consistent and compelling communication and we ask that you do your best to stay on top of it. We are confident that together we will ensure optimal learning and connectivity for all of our students.

What is expected of our children during this time period?

It is important that students recognize that an increased sense of maturity and responsibility is in order during this time period. While this certainly looks different at each age level, it will often appear in the form of increased choices. Many of the lessons are going to be based on models like PBL (Project Based Learning) or Flipped Lessons, or simply in the form of choosing when to do their work. 

It is important for our students' well being, that they do not see this time as "vacation,’’ and that they establish a strong sense of consistency and routine.

In order to provide and maintain these healthy standards it is important that our students, depending on their age, attain these goals either independently or with the support of their parents:

  • Foster our beliefs about character development and in particular about Achrayut and Yosher, as represented in our Flatbush Five. We will face many challenges along the way of new transitions in any phase in our lives. Honesty, integrity and responsibility are the foundations on which we define who we are as people. Let’s ensure that we continue to foster and cultivate those characteristics within ourselves during these times.

  • Ask questions: If you have problems, questions or simply need support of any sort, please do reach out to your teachers. They are eager to support you and ensure that you have everything you need to succeed. Be proactive and reach out to teachers outside of class time to ensure that you have all the necessary support you need.

  • Be good participants: Classrooms will look and feel different. With that in mind, our classrooms are often as good as you make them. We rely on your great questions and feedback. While it will look and feel different, your positive and active participation will be important to us. Make sure to understand from your teachers what their systems are for asking questions and giving feedback. Your positive participation not only helps you but will have a positive impact on all of your classmates.

  • Dress appropriately: We do not need to have school uniform during these days, however, we want a respectful and conducive learning environment. Make sure to get dressed for the day, following with our school dress code for both boys and girls, and ensuring that we attend all classes dressed respectfully.

  • Make sure to stay spiritually engaged. This is your opportunity to connect with Hashem in very personal terms. Ensure you daven every day and dedicate learning times, chessed times, tzedakah etc. beyond the regular schedule every day. Define the importance of these mitzvoth in your life and make them a priority. See the "Seder Hayom" section below for more on this topic.

  • Comply with the Yeshivah’s Acceptable Use Policy

Seder Hayom

Our constant goal is to imbue our students with a positive perspective to our unyielding commitment to Torah U'Mitzvot. This time period provides us with an educational opportunity to support this message and demonstrate for our students the alignment of values and partnership between school and home. Our goal is to take the beautiful routines of life that the Torah provides and share with our children how we perform them wherever we are. Modeh Ani, Netilat Yadayim, Berachot etc. are the pillars that help us maintain the presence of Hashem within us at all times.

Many of us shared inspiring and powerful feedback when utilizing our Seder Hayom Chart over winter break. We are now sharing a similar chart for your reference for this coming time period. It provides a fun and positive way to keep our students engaged in these routines. Students will be recognized for any amount of engagement with this program upon their return to school. Click here for a print-friendly version.

What are our expectations of our parents during this time period?

It goes without saying that our Yeshivah provides our students with important religious and spiritual structures that are going to be no less challenging to replicate and provide at home. As you will see in the Kesher Flatbush, opportunities for both live and prerecorded tefillah will be provided along with a strong and robust Judaic Studies program. With that said, our students are going to be at home and it is important that we are able to immerse them with the beauty and strength that they see and feel every day in our building. We urge our parents to dedicate daily time to thinking about how this can be provided at home. With the coming month of Pesach in front of us, there are many opportunities for how we can do this. Do not hesitate to consult with your child’s teachers, administrators or you shul rabbis for more direction if you seek it. It would be my pleasure and zechut to be of support to you personally as well and encourage you to reach out with any such questions or thoughts.

Our students, at their various developmental stages, are facing a lot right now. Their success will rely heavily on our ability to support their needs. Here are some important areas to be sensitive to that will help ensure their success.

  • Monitor work and progress. Depending on your child’s age, this will look different, but in ALL ages, your child’s work and progress needs to be monitored. They will need that extra support and assurance that takes the place that teachers are able to provide in the day to day school environment. 

  • Provide breaks. Provide your child with structured and balanced breaks. Be a student of their work habits and do your best to maximize the balance they thrive in. 

  • Help your children establish routines. Ensure your children begin their day on time with Shacharit and eat breakfast before starting their learning. As mentioned earlier, see to it that students take regular breaks during the day. Establishing how our students begin each day goes a long way to setting the right tone and expectation for their continued success.

  • Identify and designate physical space. Identify an appropriate and conducive space in the house where learning will take place. Make it "their learning space." Where appropriate, invest some time and creativity to establish it as a comfortable and "kadosh" place designated for their learning. Give that space chashivut- importance and high regard. It will go a long way to supporting our student’s focus and emotional comfort with the changes in learning atmosphere.

  • Monitor school communications. The school will be communicating frequently. Be sure to be up-to-date on what the school is messaging.

  • Establish check-in’s. At least in the beginning and end of each day, check in with your students to see how their day went. Were they engaged? Did they struggle? How are they emotionally? What support do they need? A brief conversation matters enormously, as the students will see your investment in their learning and you can provide appropriate praise, redirection and support.

  • Interact with your child. Children ordinarily have hundreds of human interactions each school day. These interactions will decrease significantly, therefore the human interaction time they have with you becomes that much more precious. Make sure to make the most of it.

  • Encourage physical activity. We have gone to great lengths this year to ensure that your children have a healthy amount of physical activity. This will certainly be a challenge in a home setting and therefore ensuring your child gets a fair amount of physical exercise will be of prime importance. Please do refer to our physical education videos and links for support in this area.

  • Assess your child’s stress level and emotional well-being. Our Guidance Department will be available to conference with you or your child in the event you feel that support would be helpful. See section below entitled, "My child is feeling anxious about all or some of what is going on. How can I help them?" for more details. In our website archives we will be providing other recommended materials for support. As a quick reference for any younger students exhibiting or sharing feelings of anxiety, here is a child-oriented slide presentation.

  • Monitor screen time. We continue to be cognizant and watchful of our students' screen time. Our teachers were encouraged to consider that balance as they prepared their lessons. Help us by having non-tech related activities for your children (books, exercise, chores around the house, etc…).

  • Mind social interactions. We want students to maintain social interactions with friends. No doubt, they will do so online and through social media. It is important parents are mindful of children’s online interactions; how much, with whom and of what character?

We recognize and deeply appreciate that all of this impacts you and your families profoundly and differently. It brings change, preparation and disruption on your part. We spoke with faculty and staff today about the importance of understanding these effects as we all move forward together through this period of change, and the ways in which we all need to support each other going forward. The demonstrated strength of our community, faculty, staff, students, and parents gives us confidence in our ability to navigate the steps ahead.

My child is feeling anxious about all or some of what is going on. How can I help them?

Our Guidance Department will be available to conference with you or your child in the event you feel that support would be helpful. The mental health and emotional well-being of our students remains a top priority for us during this stressful time. It is important to follow the advice of mental health professionals by encouraging your children to maintain regular daily routines, meals, prayer, consistent bedtime, etc. This will help them feel rooted while we move through this time of change.    

Director of PPS

Ruth Waide rwaide@flatbush.org

Early Childhood

Minna Samra msamra@flatbush.org

Lower School

Shlomo Stern sstern@flatbush.org

Robyn Luisi rluisi@flatbush.org

Yocheved Orlofsky yorlofsky_pps@flatbush.org

Sally Shatzkes sshatzkes@flatbush.org

Middle School

Chesky Pivovoz ypivovoz@flatbush.org

Susan Schmool susanschmool_te@flatbush.org

Nicole Yossef nyossef_pps@flatbush.org

Important Tips

  • Simple reassurance: Remind your children that doctors are learning as much as they can, as quickly as they can, about the virus and are taking steps to keep everyone safe.

  • Give them control: Remind your children of what they can do to stay healthy, such as washing their hands often, coughing into a tissue or their sleeves, and getting enough sleep.

  • Watch for signs of anxiety: Children may not have the words to express their worry. Instead they may be crankier than usual, be clingier, have trouble sleeping, or seem distracted. Keep reassuring them and stick to your normal routine when possible.

  • Monitor their media: Keep young children away from frightening images on TV, social media, and computers. For older children, talk about what they are hearing on the news and correct any misinformation or rumors they may have heard.

We are confident that our Faltbush community will rise up and embrace the opportunities that are inherent in the challenges we face. We look forward to being in touch with you and we wish everyone a HEALTHY and engaging week ahead.

Shavua Tov,

Rabbi Yahel Tsaidi