- Ahmad Khatib
Summer Study at PVS
Even though the 2019-2020 school year technically ended in May, PVS staff and administration worked diligently to ensure that students had programs to keep them engaged throughout the summer.
Even before the summer began, the school administration developed a plan to continue teaching Islamic knowledge that benefits not only the students, but the teachers and parents as well. The Dhuhr Khatera with Brother Omar, which has been a tradition at PVS, transitioned to Zoom, giving our students and parents that essential sense of community. While COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders canceled Br. Omar’s summer camping trips for our students, the remote learning environment gave our students a fun space to gather with one another while learning about our religion. One of the main topics covered in the summer class was the diseases of the heart, followed by Kahoot games to give students a way to have fun while learning. During this learning period, Br. Omar was able to cover 3 Islamic books with our students.
In addition to maintaining the Dhuhr Khateras after PVS moved to remote teaching last March, the school also established a Ramadan Reflections program for every night during Ramadan, right before Maghreb Prayer and the breaking of the fast. A main part of the program was the Ramadan Quiz competition that excited students about the holy month while encouraging them to learn something new about the Quran each day. A series of questions were posted every day after Fajr and was answered during the Ramadan talks after student recitations and reflections.
During the Ramadan talks, students signed up to recite Quranic verses and provided a brief explanation of the verses afterwards. At the end of the Ramadan talks, Br. Omar recited duaas and words of encouragement that always put the attendees in a very spiritual and happy mood.
Right before the start of the school year, during the 10 days of Dhul Hijjah, Br. Omar undertook a similar, daily program in which he studied Surah Al-Hajj with our students.
Since the school year’s start, PVS continues to provide Islamic programming in the form of the daily Dhuhr Khateras. We encourage all students to participate and attend the sessions at 1 pm on weekdays.
Traditionally, PVS assigns summer reading projects, in which students from kindergarten to twelfth grade read assigned books and complete projects relevant to the reading. This summer, approximately 200 students from grades K-12 discussed these books with Mrs. Jennifer Alejo and high school student facilitators. High school, middle school, and upper elementary school students also engaged in written discussions about these texts in Google Classroom, thus enhancing their writing skills. According to Mrs. Alejo, the high school discussion leaders were critical to this program’s success. They met weekly to develop lesson plans for the discussions; they developed the discussion questions for Google Classroom; and they adapted to shifts and interests within the conversations.
The school wide theme for this summer’s reading program--one which we plan to emphasize throughout the school year, as well---was grit and determination. All of the books assigned were relevant to the school-wide theme.
High School Books:
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Grit by Angela Duckworth
Middle School Books:
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
Elementary School Books:
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy M. Montgomery
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
K-2 Books/Live Readings and Discussions:
Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltsberg,
The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do by Ashley Spires
Emmanual’s Dream, No Excuses by Laurie Ann Thompson
My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis
Making a Splash by Carol E. Reiley
Because of the efforts of the facilitators, the students, the parents, and the English Department, the first virtual School-wide Summer Reading Program will likely become a fixture in our regular curricular offerings.
High School College Counseling
During the month of July, the school’s college counselor, Mrs. Alejo, held a series of workshops focusing on the changes in the college application and admissions process due to COVID 19. These counseling sessions were open to both parents and students. The topics discussed in the sessions included the following:
Building Your Common Application and the True Meaning of Test Optional
The Personal Essay and the Covid Question
Mrs. Alejo will continue to hold sessions about these topics and other changes to the admissions process throughout the year.