Rosh Hashanah is a time for renewal and re-commitment. This year at Akiva as we once again renew what is most important to us as a lead North American Jewish Academic Institution; we renew our commitment to all of our students and we renew our perspective on focusing on the best possible ways to reach each and every one of our students. The number one priority at Akiva is that each and every child believes in themselves and that they learn the tools and strategies to excel both academically and as kind, responsible members of their community. Every year for your child is a new year, and every your child’s teachers see new potential in the students they teach.
With respect to setting and reaching expectations in schools, I recently read an interesting article on the topic on the website Asih.com and below is a quick excerpt…
“In 1965, teachers in a San Francisco elementary school were given lists of students who were likely to have amazing “growth spurts” in the coming year. A Harvard psychologist, Robert Rosenthal, had tested all of the children, and was able to inform their teachers which kids were likely to achieve great things in the coming months.
At the end of the year, the teachers’ experience tallied with Dr. Rosenthal’s: those students he predicted would have growth spurts did so, enjoying above-average intellectual success across the board in school.
What the teachers didn’t know was that the list of names they were given at the beginning of the year was entirely randomly-generated. There was no academic test; each teacher was given a list of arbitrary names. Yet the students’ growth was real. When teachers expected more from those students, the students delivered, increasing their performance in class. The IQs of those students identified as “Growth Spurters” also increased, measuring much higher after the academic year than at the beginning, and increasing significantly in relation to their peers.”
Together as an Akiva community we set high expectations for ourselves and for one another. The beauty of our commitment is that we are not all only committed to our personal growth, but as much to our growth as a special learning community. By believing and supporting the growth of one another, we continue to blossom and renew as a school, but as a result, each one of us also stands to benefit and strengthen our own personal journeys.
I wish you and your families a very happy and sweet New Year.