There they are…these are some actual members of our current Class of 2023. All the talk and rhetoric about what we could be, what we ought to be – it is all for these children. They are not an educational theory to be debated; they are flesh and blood children to be educated. What we do now matters not in the abstract realm of philosophy, but in the practical realm of whether these girls and boys will be prepared for success in the 21st century in all the ways academic, social and Jewish that can be defined. They – and all of the children in our school – are what it is really about. They are the reminder and the inspiration; the goal and the promise.
January this year brings us a wonderful confluence of events – the publication and mailing of enrollment materials for the 2011-2012 academic year and the Jewish holiday of Tu B’Shevat – a holiday celebrating, among many things, the planting of seeds and the harvesting of fruits. I always marvel when the rhythm of Jewish living intersects with the rhythm of school life – it never fails to create meaningful and new connections.
And so the time has come to see how well we have sown the the seeds of confidence and competence; love and caring; rigor and renewal; energy and enthusiasm – have we begun to deliver on the rightfully lofty academic, spiritual, emotional and social expectations our children and parents have for us?
Those who study the phenomenology (I hear I am supposed to include at least one word per blogpost that requires being looked up. I linked it for you this time. This time.) of religion often refer to Kierkegaard‘s (OK, I may be showing off now) so-called “leap of faith” describing what is necessary for someone to become a believer. The “leap of faith” is predicated on the notion that one cannot really know (at least in scientific terms) religious truth and so in the end it is a matter of faith.
As enrollment packets find their ways into parents’ hands all across America, all of us involved in the sacred and holy task of educating children look to this time of year and hope we have nurtured the seeds we have sown with success. We are not looking for parents to make a leap of faith and enroll their children in our schools. We are looking for parents to make a leap of fact and enroll their children in our schools – confident that our school is the right place for their children to receive the education they want and deserve.
The seeds were planted during the summer. They were watered and nurtured during the fall and into the winter. As winter moves on (even in Florida!) and slowly moves towards spring, the faculty, staff , lay leaders, donors, supporters and administration of the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School look forward to a rich and satisfying harvest.
We look forward to many, many leaps of fact.
[Want more facts? Check out this podcast with Alan November, interviewing our teachers and students!]