This past week I had the opportunity to attend the North American Day School Conference together with over 1,000 educators spanning the entire spectrum of Jewish Day Schools . Networking with colleagues from all over the world was a fantastic experience.
The real work begins now that I have returned to OCA. Here at Ohr Chadash we must build a sense of community within our faculty and stakeholders. Together we can build a progressive school by setting goals and creating an action plan to implement the themes and ideas I bring home from these conferences into a reality.
The theme of the conference was “Learning to Lead and Leading to Learn”. This catchy phrase boils down to the following central themes:
· There needs to be a paradigm shift in education away from just imparting information to one where we insure that our students are inquisitive, innovative, critical thinkers, and collaborate with their peers.
· We must create a culture where students and teachers are willing to take risks and learn from our failures.
· Teachers must be forced to examine their curriculum to ensure they are not only teaching, but IMPACTING their students.
Creating a 21st Century curriculum takes time. This should not scare us, nor prevent us from digging in our heels and starting to work. However, we can’t simply snap our fingers and see the changes appear before our eyes.
So what next for us at OCA?
· We are committed to be growing and learning together. We all must understand that this is a process that requires buy-in from everyone. We are in the process of creating parent, faculty, and student surveys to learn from your valuable feedback.
· We are working with both professional and lay leaders to create a 3-5 year strategic plan with measurable timelines, milestones and goals .
· We are working with Avi Chai and the Alvo Foundation to incorporate and pilot blended learning initiatives and utilize technology in the R.I.G.H.T. way.
· The faculty and staff will be carefully and critically examining the curriculum to incorporate essential 21st Century skills into our classrooms
· We will be collaborating closely with other schools around the country to learn from our shared experiences and create a sustainable blended learning environment
I am excited about this journey, and I ask that the faculty, parents and students actively participate by supporting OCA. We must be willing to take risks and we must not fear the possibility of failures. We must work together as a community – whether by volunteering your time on the board, committees, PTA or other projects to help insure Ohr Chadash’s success and long term future.