It was great to see so many of you at our Back To School Barbeque on Sunday. As I mentioned to the parents there that day, this school year is off to a great start. Our school continues to see growth as demonstrated by our 19 Kindergarten students. This is the largest Kindergarten class the school has had in over 10 years. In addition, we welcome many new students throughout the school. The reputation of our school in the community has grown as we are recognized as a school where academic excellence lives in a school in which diversity and cross-cultural learning are a hallmark. This year as a staff we are emphasizing Jewish values that speak to all people. We are challenging ourselves to increase our awareness of developing our students as global citizens who are at our best when we listen to others and understand that living in community (the Jewish value we learned about recently) together requires that we all look out for each other to ensure that all are cared for and their voices heard.
Today, when a student was injured playing ball at recess, I saw an older student help that child to the office. Yesterday, when there was disagreement in a classroom 3 students came to my office to “right a wrong” they were concerned about and we together developed a plan to fix the problem. Students at the Lippman School understand that in this community we put compassion and empathy at the top of the list of character traits we want to see in our students.
As I have met informally with new students in the upper grades, and speak with their parents I hear things like, “the work is more challenging here, but I am getting help from teachers” and “my son/daughter is so eager to come to school, it’s like I have my happy child back.” To put academic excellence on equal footing with compassion and empathy is no easy task for a school; at Lippman it can be seen every day.
As I begin my 7th year as Head of School, I now have a greater perspective on the trajectory of our school and the work of our staff as a collaborative and forward-thinking team. Together we have developed a shared sense of purpose and a highly professional approach to teaching and learning. And above all, we place the individual child in the center of the decisions we make together in partnership with our families.
On Friday, together we end our day with something we call TGIS (thank goodness it’s Shabbat). We come together as an entire school and reflect upon the week of learning as we welcome the weekend during which we hope that students have time to be with family. For the Jewish people Shabbat –the Sabbath- begins at sundown on Friday night and ends at sundown on Saturday. This time is set aside as a time where some in our community try to abstain from work, have a family/friend meal together and some attend synagogue Friday night and/or Saturday morning. The universal themes that we try to share with all students is that being with family, being reflective about the week that has ended and what will be in the future and sharing time away from our busy “plugged in” life is important. When we take times like this –whether it’s Shabbat or a traditional Sunday night family dinner- we develop in ourselves the important bonds that we share between family and friends.
We also sometimes use our TGIS time together to recognize other important cultural moments that are connected to our curriculum. Today, Maestra Kogan (our Spanish teacher and a native of Mexico City) had students cook and eat traditional Mexican food, taught us about her native country and led the entire school and staff in traditional Mexican dancing. The timing of this experience coincides with Mexico’s Independence Day.
Shabbat Shalom (literally translated from Hebrew as “a peaceful Sabbath”).
Have a great weekend,
Head of School