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Adam Eilath

Dear Wornick Parents,

School Schedule for 2021-22 School Year
As we look towards next year, we want to share some updates regarding health and safety and the school schedule for next year. Our school is forecasting a return to our pre-COVID school schedule including morning and afternoon Gesher and five full days of school. As we gain further clarity on health and safety requirements for next year, we will update our community with any specific adjustments that will be needed.

Project Based Learning Certification for Our Professional Community
We are delighted to share that our entire professional community will be returning to work several days earlier than usual this August to become certified in Project Based Learning (PBL) through an in-depth course offered through the Buck Institute for Education: PBL Works. This is a significant investment in one of our core educational philosophies and we are grateful to our teachers for their time and commitment to this important training.

Professional Community Updates
We also wanted to share some professional community updates with you. As with every year, there is a mixture of sadness and joy as we say goodbye to some beloved members of our professional team and welcome new educators to join our community.

With a mixture of sadness and celebration we announce Vici Blackman's retirement. Ms. Blackman has taught at Wornick for twenty years in a variety of roles including as a 3rd grade lead teacher, 5th grade teacher and math coordinator. She also taught 6th grade mindfulness. She has brought a love of learning, relationship building and mindful classroom culture to her practice as a teacher. Ms. Blackman feels that it is the right time for her to step away from a permanent position in the classroom. She will however be staying in Foster City and we hope to see her on campus as a substitute teacher from time to time! We wish Ms. Blackman nothing but the best in this next stage of her journey and hope to see her as much as possible.

Our beloved 5th grade teacher and volleyball coach, Courtney Brenner, will not be teaching next academic year. Unfortunately, earlier this academic year, Ms. Brenner's father was diagnosed with ALS and recently moved to Los Angeles to pursue treatment. It is important to Ms. Brenner to spend as much time as possible with her father so she will be moving to Los Angeles this summer and joining her parents and brothers who are already there supporting her father. Ms. Brenner has proven herself to be an incredible leader in the classroom and within the community, and her presence on campus next year will be deeply missed. Ms. Brenner will be staying involved with Wornick next year and will be doing some teacher support and curricular consulting remotely alongside our teachers. It is her sincerest hope to return to Wornick as an educator when she is able to.

We are pleased to announce that Ms. Deborah Seligman will be returning to Wornick in the fall as our new 5th grade lead teacher. Ms. Seligman previously taught at Wornick for twenty-four years. During her time at Wornick, she taught a variety of grades (focusing on 4th grade for a substantial part of her time). She also served as technology coordinator, lower school principal, and DeLeT mentor. For the past three years, she taught at San Carlos Charter focusing on Humanities in 5th-8th grade. In Ms. Seligman's own words, she is thrilled to be "coming home to Wornick." She "has missed the students, families, and colleagues and the sense of community that is unique to Wornick." We are overjoyed to be welcoming such an exceptional educator back into our ranks.

In the elementary school, we are also saying goodbye to two teachers who joined us this year but left a lasting impression on our school. Ms. Sarah Brown and Ms. Tali Kreindler will both be leaving the classroom next year. Ms. Brown, who taught 4th grade, will be moving to the East Bay to pursue a Masters in Landscape Architecture from UC Berkeley. Ms. Kreindler will be leaving instruction to engage in the research and development of a new remote learning initiative. Both Ms. Brown and Ms. Kreindler stepped in magnificently this year and brought a strong dedication to educational excellence and student achievement in the classroom.

We have three other teachers joining our team next year on a full-time basis. Ms. Madeleine Steckley, who taught in 5th grade this year as a DeLeT fellow, will be joining our elementary school teaching team as a full-time teacher. Ms. Steckley amazed us this year with her teaching capabilities built on student engagement, creativity, and strong relationships. As a Wornick graduate herself, Ms. Steckley recognizes the importance of seeing every student as an individual.

Ms. Dawn Rathi, who joined our 2nd grade team in the middle of this year, will also be joining our elementary school teaching team next year. Ms. Rathi has seven years of experience in the classroom and a strong academic background with a Masters in Education and Literacy Education from Northern Illinois University. Ms. Rathi was a wonderful addition to our team this year and set strong standards for student achievement in an environment steeped in critical thinking and positive culture. We are also thrilled to share that both Ms. Ginger Slonaker and Ms. Debra Constantino who stepped away from the classroom in the fall will be back at Wornick next academic year.

We are also welcoming Ms. Asya Solomatin to our middle school team as a math and science teacher. Ms. Solomatin comes to us with a wealth of experience having taught at both Gideon Hausner Jewish Day School and Silicon Valley International School. Ms. Solomatin has a B.S. and M.S. from Stanford in Biology and has a California Teaching Credential with subject authorizations in chemistry, introductory science and biological sciences. We are thrilled to welcome Ms. Solomatin to the Wornick community.

Welcoming Shinshinim - Noa and Nir!
We are delighted to share that two Israeli young ambassadors will be joining Wornick for the next school year. They are part of a Jewish Agency program that sends Israeli high school graduates to volunteer in Jewish communities around the world for a 10-month period prior to beginning their army service. Their names are Noa and Nir, and they will be engaging with our community, helping to plan programming, and interacting with our students throughout the day, and at Gesher. Please join me in warmly welcoming them to Wornick. We invite you to view this video to get to know them.

As we continue our planning for next year, we hope to have clarity on our space requirements and how many sections each grade will have. In the next few weeks, you should expect both an update on sections as well as our plan for teaching assignments for next year.

In partnership,
Adam Eilath