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North Miami Beach, Florida – Within 48 hours, Scheck Hillel Community School transformed its entire academic program for more than 1,100 students into a virtual school as an effort to keep the campus and community healthy and to uphold its commitment to continued academic excellence. With this nearly overnight transition, students and teachers are continuing to maximize learning while not physically on campus. On March 12, Scheck Hillel was the first independent school in South Florida to announce its move to virtual instruction.

“I want to thank our faculty and staff for working tirelessly to create a most meaningful educational experience, our parents for their partnership, and our students for their technological savvy, resilience and smiles,” said Vanessa Donaher, Head of Scheck Hillel Community School. “Our students are our responsibility: thus this proactive action to lead and help ensure their well-being and that of our faculty, staff, families and the greater community. As a Jewish day school, we have an ethical and moral responsibility to do our part in helping to stop the spread of this virus. Our hearts and prayers go out to everyone affected by COVID-19.”

In an effort to keep screen time to a minimum, every grade level has an age-appropriate mix of independent work assignments as well as live instruction and recorded content, which can be accessed via desktop/laptop computers, mobile phones, tablets and web-browsing smart TVs. In addition, live classes are scheduled at different times to allow time for siblings to share access to family devices.

“Students have been absolute rock stars! They have adapted so well to this new environment,” said Katie Geiman, a Kindergarten teacher at Scheck Hillel. “Their whole world just kind of flipped upside down, but they have been absolutely wonderful.”

Enrichment is also extending into virtual instruction. Every week, students receive physical education videos with fitness and nutrition tips that kids can apply at home, music challenges, and art assignments. Maintaining the school’s focus on social-emotional development, all teachers and counselors have daily office hours and personally reach out to students weekly. In older grade levels, students have weekly meetings with the grade’s guidance counselor, and the school’s counselors, from Early Childhood through High School, are at the ready to provide support for students and families through live virtual sessions, mindfulness tools and demos, all conducted via Scheck Hillel’s instructional platform.

“We want to show our utmost appreciation,” said Annie and Jimmy Benarroch, Scheck Hillel parents. “We are in complete admiration of how quickly the school transformed to an online system and how, within a few hours all of our children were back into their routines.”

“Teachers have built out extensive class pages with resources for each course including video links, online labs, online assessments, daily calendars to find learning activities, and extra practice for learning. Virtual office hours are offered and teachers connect through email with students throughout each day to help with specific questions. Additionally, supplemental learning opportunities are offered as a way to increase learning beyond the classroom and build even stronger relationships,” said Nikki Gutierrez, a Scheck Hillel Middle School Science teacher. “Just today I hosted a discussion on the plants and animals of Florida where we learned about nature around us. Not only was it educational, but it was an opportunity to meet each other's pets and engage in a way that helps us get to know one another.”

Reflecting the school’s mission, Scheck Hillel’s Middle School Chessed (Kindness) Coordinator, Talia Eisenberger, continues to work with students to share kindness to the community. Throughout the year, students regularly visit nursing homes and the school intends to maintain these connections and lessons in caring for others through technology, lending Apple iPads and reaching out to residences north of South Florida. Now students can virtually visit nursing home residents conducting FaceTime chats, sending pre-recorded messages and virtually performing music via the schools’ band and orchestra.

About Scheck Hillel Community School
Scheck Hillel Community School educates and inspires students 18 months-Grade 12 to become exemplary global citizens with enduring Jewish identity and values through an individualized college preparatory curriculum highlighted by Design/STEM, Capstone, college dual enrollment, arts, athletics and community service. Its 14-acres include a 115,000-sq.-ft athletic complex with academic expansion plans. Set within a nurturing, diverse community, Scheck Hillel is one of the world's largest Jewish community day schools and a National Blue Ribbon School of Excellence. For more information about Scheck Hillel Community School or to arrange a visit to the school, please contact our Admissions office at 305.931.2831x173 or write to


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