For every two familiar faces, one was new. For every familiar idea, two were new. Yet, by the time our intensive three days of in-service drew to a close yesterday, the new seemed familiar and the familiar seemed energized and new.
The atmosphere was dominated by a sense of camaraderie and collaboration: Master teachers sharing their wisdom and experiences with those still new to the profession, and those new to teaching offering their insight and perspective with all. In but three days our faculty got to know each other a bit better, our new faculty was introduced to the school culture, an extensive initiative to "reach more students, more of the time" was launched, a peer coaching program got off the ground, our curriculum mapping project took significant steps forward, class rooms were set up and decorated, policies and procedures were reviewed, and faculty divisions honed in on their particular goals for the year.
Perhaps most importantly, we focused on the fact that the single most critical element in an institution of academic excellence in the 21st century - whether in limude kodesh or in General Studies - is the willingness of its faculty to reflect and respond, to collaborate and to share, to learn and to grow. These three days were just the beginning of a journey we are going to take together with our students, together with our parents, together with our community, as we continuously seek to improve ourselves and our effectiveness in educating and inspiring the Jewish future.