What an amazing week we experienced with our Northern Cheyenne friends! The bonfire/campout was remarkable, the many classroom learning experiences for all of our students were meaningful and authentic, and the walk was powerful. As I walked on the Portage Path with our friends form Montana and our 1st-8th grade students, I thought about this question: how do children learn best? More specifically, I thought about the following: would a student learn more form two weeks of study in the classroom through textbooks about the local significance of the historic portage path, or spending two hours walking the path with other schools, community members, local politicians and our partners at the Summit County Historical Society? It is easy to learn and quickly forget dates in history, but what we learned through our experience together on Monday is something that these students may never forget.
There was much press coverage about this event, but the most significant story ended up on the evening news on WKYC Cleveland/Akron. The link to the clip is found below. Please note that our goal in “Walking the Path” -which we initiated one year ago before much of the local political attention noted in the newscast- was to bring awareness and education to one of Akron’s most historic and important landmarks that few in our community know exists. At the same time, our educational philosophy supports the important ideal that education can lead to action, civic dialogue and broadening the perspective of those around us. Additionally, there is a strong ethic found in Jewish wisdom that minority groups and their historical experience and perspective is important to bring to light for those around us. Without such knowledge a society can become ignorant of its past and present and this can easily lead to misconceptions and even negative stereotypes.
I know that through our 6-year partnership with the Northern Cheyenne Nation and the two walks we have facilitated together, we have brought important and authentic learning experiences for our students and community. I am proud to say that The Lippman School is taking a local leadership position to help not only our students, but the citizens and civic leaders of Akron become more knowledgeable about the history of our land and nation.
Here is the news clip:
As we end the Holiday of Sukkot with the celebration of Simchat Torah, Jewish people rejoice as the Torah Scroll (the Five Books of Moses) is completed and we roll the Torah back to the beginning. In Jewish philosophy there is great emphasis on the cyclical nature of culturally significant moments. As we enter a new season/holiday it is as if we are experiencing the events of the past at the same time (think concentric rings) just one year removed from it. My friend Burt Medicine Bull from the Northern Cheyenne Nation said that as they were drumming and dancing along the Portage Path, he could feel the spirits of past indigenous people being re-awakened. He felt they were drumming, dancing and walking with us on that day. We hope to walk the same path on Monday, October 8th, 2018. We invite you to join us.
Chag Sa’mayach (Hebrew for a joyous holiday)
Have a great weekend,
Head Of School