Friday, November 30, 2012
Why I love being a Principal
Here is an article I wrote for our school newsletter. In a very quick way it gives you a glimpse into my day and why I love my job.
There is a book in my office entitled “What Principals Do When No One is Looking” by Jim Grant and Irv Richardson. This book gives an accurate description of the daily activities of a principal. However, OCA is not a typical school, and there is no book that fully captures the joy and excitement in my daily activities and interactions around the halls of OCA. I invite you to come along with me to see what makes OCA unique and different. We use the educational terminology of “active learning”, “child-centered”, “cooperative learning”, “ differentiation”, and I want you to see that at OCA these are more than just words but what your children actually experience each day.
Each morning – rain or shine, I have the privilege of greeting over 100 students as they come to school ready to learn. The smiles that I see at 8:00 am are the same smiles I see throughout the day. There is nothing better than seeing children happy to come to school and happy when they return home.
Following the morning routine of announcements, Hatikvah and the Pledge, I daven (Pray) with the 4th and 5th grade boys. We do not simply daven and sing, but we discuss the meaning of Davening and the importance of devoting this special time each day to Hashem.(G-D)I recently commented to the students that according to Malcolm Gladwell, a noted author and journalist, is takes 10,000 hours to become a master at something. We need to work hard on learning how to Daven and to build a relationship with Hashem throughout our entire life. Even if we dedicate 1 hour per day to Tefilah, over the course of 10 years, we will have spent only 3,650 hours, far fewer than the 10,000 needed to be a Master Davener!!
After Davening, I try to visit each classroom as much as possible, since “seeing is believing”, and nothing can compare to actually seeing children learn and witnessing the talent of our teaching staff.
In grades 5-7, students are collaborating on projects in both Judaic and General studies. From presenting Pasukim to their fellow students in a creative and fun way, to working on creating commercials as part of a BG&E contest,to publish their very own autobiographies – our students are actively learning throughout the day.
Our 4th graders, under the guidance of Mrs. Werdeshiem ran our school presidential election by acting out and presenting each candidate to the entire school and coordinating the OCA voting. In Judaics, students are learning the halachot (Laws)of Chanukah by identifying and explaining which Chanukiot are kosher or not. Rabbi Meyer’s also has also started to teach Chumash using the Jigsaw method which is a common tool used in differentiated instruction.
Our 3rd grade class is being taught the importance of our role within the larger Jewish Community by actively raising funds for the victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Our students are also working with children in our sister school in Ashkelon with Morah Ruth and Gesher Chai to assist them during these turbulent times.
Child-centered, active learning is the cornerstone of our curriculum in the lower grades. 1st and 2nd Graders can be found in centers, working in small groups and engaged in hands on activities throughout the day.Yasher Koach to the Kindergarten for their Thanksgiving presentation which they prepared in record time! Kol Hakavod to the students and to Mrs Forsythe!
Let me reiterate, that words are not enough to describe the enthusiasm and energy that pulses through the halls of OCA. I invite current parents, perspective parents, board members and members of the Baltimore community to come, watch our children, teachers and experience Ohr Chadash first hand.