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SJCS Perspectives

Moving Forward Together

June 28, 2017

Congratulations and mazal tov to all you SJCS kids who are stepping up to new grades and stepping out to new schools. Tonight is the rare occasion when almost every parent in the school is in one place so I’d like to share a few important ideas with you. Speaking on behalf of the Board of Trustees and for the school, the sole goal of our school is to contribute to the positive growth of your children. Every day our teaching team, Shoshi, and her staff come in to teach the very best we can to nurture your child’s intellect and their emotional development.

This is a school where we love your kids. Our school is heir to the incredible Jewish tradition of families like yours, that emphasize children’s education above all else.  We are heirs to the Jewish track record of academic and intellectual achievement that comes when you combine inquiry-based learning with values like דרך ארץ, respect for others, and תקון עולם, making the world a better place. And as a small, private school we have the advantage of giving personal attention to your unique child. This is an important moment for our school when every one of us has an opportunity to help the children in our school as we strive to grow and to improve.

In some contexts, highlighting improvement can sound like a criticism of the present or the past – but not here at SJCS. Because if there is one thing that Jewish parents always seek to improve in every generation, it is the quality of the education of their children. That is just how we roll. In that spirit, next year, we will implement the Integrated Education Model. We listened carefully to parents and teachers, and even to your children. I want to share just some of the things we are doing in response to your input:

  • We listened to you to design as much attention to your children on the playground as in the classroom;
  • We listened to you to design a focused Hebrew Language Arts Program;
  • We listened to you to design more contact with the same teachers at the beginning and the end of the day;
  • We listened to you to design more time for teachers’ collaborative planning;
  • We listened to you to better communicate what is our social-emotional program;
  • We listened to you to preserve the school traditions you love and to infuse them with new ideas to keep it fresh and exciting for your children; and
  • We listened to you who love the Wampanaugs, the Northwest Rain Forest, the Tropical Rain Forest, and the Boston Tea Party to deliver more innovative, project-based learning.

Our fast transition to the Integrated Education Model shows the power of what is possible when we listen to parents and to educators and we work together – all motivated by improving quality and a confident vision of the future.

We see what happens when every decision is guided by love for your children, and preparing them for life and to excel in Middle School. As our kids know, in this week’s parsha, Shlach Lecha, ten scouts come back from Canaan who are pessimistic, afraid of the future, and ready to quit – Ammorites, Hittites, Bnai Anak, giants, oh my!  But two scouts, Caleb and Joshua, come back, optimistic and excited to enter the Promised Land.  They report on a land  זָבַת חָלָב וּדְבַשׁ הִוא: a land flowing with milk and honey.

SJCS kids, do you think they really saw rivers of sticky honey flowing through the land of Israel? Did they really see lakes of milk and ice cream?  Of course they didn’t! The saw a land full of potential for farms, goats, cows, and flowers. They saw the future and they had the self-confidence to make it happen. Our goal is that your children be like Caleb and Joshua, to be brave and confident as they journey into the unknown – even in the face of certain adversity. They will journey equipped to seek knowledge and to apply it to a meaningful purpose.

Our work isn’t done. We know that our precious kids deserve our every effort.  You’ve asked us how you can help.  I’m very grateful for that.

  • First, we want you to engage with your class teachers to let us know how we can best serve your child and your family;
  • Second, we want you to serve on the Board of Trustees, on Board Committees, and to actively participate in the Parent Association;
  • Finally, we want you to do what someone did for you – perhaps just a year ago or perhaps six or seven years ago; we want you to introduce young families to our school.

We need to grow to reach our full promise.  Every additional child in our school and additional family in our community brings more resources and opportunities to support your child. Imagine this: If every family in this room introduced one new family to visit the school, we would grow rapidly and have all the resources we need to be the school that we dream to be. Our success this year shows what we can achieve when we are like Caleb and Joshua and have the confidence that we can create our own and better future.  And we can, when we act together as a community.

Thank you for all you do for SJCS. Thank you that every day, the Board, teachers and staff get the honor and pleasure to love, encourage, and support the growth of your children.

Don Doering, SJCS President, Board of Trustees