Dr. Gereboff's Head Notes
Endings and Beginnings
Have you ever arrived at the last few pages of a great novel and then turned back to the beginning because you just wanted to savor that story again? This week felt like that – there were poignant endings that summarized and tied together the school year like the conclusion of a well-written novel. At the same time, our staff and families dug into next year.
On Tuesday evening we celebrated with our Wornick Rams – our middle school athletes at the annual athletic banquet. We applauded team spirit, the leadership skill of the team captains and cheered for our awesome coaches who know every child. It was also an evening honoring parents who rearranged schedules to get their children to all the athletic meets and events. There was ample evidence of our usual Wornick JDS balance of serious and funny throughout the program. Above all, the leadership quality of poise that we often describe to prospective parents was in full display, as each student who won an award comfortably controlled a microphone and, without any practice, thanked their parents and their coaches and spoke about what their sport and their team meant to them.
On Wednesday and Thursday, we heard the K-5 music presentations. Children demonstrated their facility with musical notation, tone, rhythm, choral arrangements and ensemble work. The students’ facial expressions summed up the whole experience – passion, team work, individual accomplishment and pure expressions of joy.
Thursday morning was the first grade siddur ceremony where students demonstrated their competency in understanding tefilah (prayer) – asking for thanks and acknowledging beauty in their world. They sang and spoke with enthusiasm. Then there was the ever poignant moment when parents read their siddur dedications to their children and the children read theirs to their parents.
Thursday night, we introduced a new 8th grade performance – portfolio presentations. Each eighth grader created a portfolio showcasing their reading, writing and critical thinking skills. The portfolio exhibits student selected writing samples, as well as reflection papers describing their personal reflections demonstrating their self-awareness as writers and thinkers. It is a sophisticated project for fourteen year olds to summarize their learning.
Each of these experiences belongs to the summary chapter of the 2015-16 school year. They tell a story of an education where leadership skills are honed every year as students present their skill and knowledge in public performances. Performance assessments are both an important way of determining individual student success, as well as a vehicle for the careful cultivation of leadership skills that is a hallmark of our school.
As all of these end of the year performances occurred, there were meetings for incoming seventh grade parents to preview the 7th grade tzedakah project. There were staff meetings and board committee meetings to plan for next year. There were meetings to plan for the 30th year celebrations that will take place next year.
As we experienced endings, we opened a new chapter, and began our story again. I’m looking forward to the new story that we have begun to write for 2016-17.
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