Seven now attending Shalhevet on Zoom from Arizona, starting new school there

Ms. Crincoli, Mr. Meisel now in Scottsdale as ‘academic facilitators’ for hybrid school


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NEW: Shalhevet Scottsdale students wearing Nishmat Adin sweatshirts with academic facilitator Josh Meisel, right, in the Scottsdale JCC last month.

By Benjamin Gamson, Editor-in-Chief

Seven students have begun Zooming into school from Scottsdale, Ariz., as Nishmat Adin/Shalhevet Scottsdale has opened its virtual doors hoping to jump-start Modern Orthodox education in a growing Jewish community near Phoenix.

The students — three freshman girls, three sophomore boys and a sophomore girl — are meeting at the Ina Levine JCC Campus, part of Scottsdale’s Martin Pear JCC Campus which is located next to Pardes Dayschool, a Modern Orthodox K-8 day school.

Acting as academic facilitators in Scottsdale are longtime Shalhevet English teacher Ms. Michelle Crincoli, who relocated to Phoenix this year to be closer to family, and Mr. Josh Meisel, a Shalhevet alumnus who has previously taught Judaic Studies both at Shalhevet and at Northwest Yeshiva High School in Seattle.

Ms. Crincoli, who is Nishmat Adin’s Secular Studies Teacher and Facilitator, will also be teaching two 12th grade classes for the Los Angeles students via Zoom. Mr. Meisel is Judaic Studies Teacher and Facilitator.

Another part of the Shalhevet Scottsdale program is frequent trips to the Los Angeles campus. The seven students attended last month’s orientation in person and got to meet their teachers and peers, accompanied by Mr. Meisel.

“I thought that it was really great to be able to meet everybody,” said Scottsdale freshman Hinda Gross. “It was cool because we came for orientation so we kinda got to get a sense for the school even before we started [in Phoenix].”

The most unusual things about Shalhevet Scottsdale are what Hinda likes best.

“It’s a very different type of school that we’re opening up, it’s been really nice for me,” she said. “I think that this is a very very cool thing that we’re doing so I’ve liked it.”

Owl technology — used by everyone at Shalhevet during Covid’s remote learning last year — has been expanded to make Zoom smoother for the hybrid education. The Owls’s white, camouflaged videocameras have now been installed in the ceilings of certain classrooms instead of having the Owl take up room in the class. This gives Scottsdale students on Zoom a 360-degree view of the classroom and lets them feel more immersed in the class than last year.

Director of Technology Mr. Nick Parsons told the Boiling Point that currently there are Owls in rooms 204, 205, 206, 216 and 308, as well as Biology and Chemistry Labs. He said that after Sukkot more would be installed, in rooms 305B, 305A, 303, 304, 217 and the theater.

Mrs. Cheryl Wolf, Director of Institutional Advancement, told the Boiling Point that not everyone was accepted.  School officials said last spring that between 13 and 18 students had applied to attend Shalhevet Scottsdale.

“The difference between those students attending and those that applied is primarily that we rejected many students,” wrote Mrs. Wolf in an email response to Boiling Point questions.

“Nishmat Adin Shalhevet will carry the same rigorous admission process as our Los Angeles Campus.There were of course a few that decided against coming because of the hybrid school situation. We are thrilled to be starting with seven, as our goal was between five and 10 and that is right where we sit.”