As I walked the halls past our youngest classrooms enroute to get the kids and head home, I briefly started my daily reflection on the days events. It was a fairly normal Friday for me, but it occurred to me that fairly normal at Davis is likely unique at most schools.
At most lower schools, having over 500 students, teachers, administrators, and parents all together as a community in a room, singing, sharing spiritual moments, and a guest storyteller with a guitar, would be a unique community event. While uniquely special every time we gather, we do this every Friday morning. Our kehilla (community) shares its collective ruach (spirit) with such genuine passion.
I then traveled to our middle school and enjoyed a similar, but adolescent age appropriate gathering where our ensemble led us in song, our teachers performed, and again we shared prayer, stories and anecdotes reflecting our values as a community.
Following our weekly Kabbalat Shabbat, our Athletic Director took the opportunity to speak with our fall athletic teams to congratulate them on a terrific start to the season (4-1 overall on day one of the season), and to celebrate the importance of sportsmanship and respect in competition. This was not a planned assembly, but an opportunity we found to celebrate and teach our students. The Kavod (respect) we inspire in our student athletes exemplifies our commitment to our values.
While classes were in session, not all the learning was happening in classrooms. In the middle school, our 6th graders were on a quest throughout the building using iPads to capture on video or in stills images that exemplify the multitude of prepositions in the English language. Led by their lead pirate, @SteinatDavis who was attired in full regalia, their learning was authentic and unique. But our buildings might as well be pirate ships, because this sort of learning happens daily.
Soonafter, I had one of my favorite impromptu conversations with one of our teachers about how he can better share his passion for talmud with his students. While his energy and love of the content is immeasurable, and the mutual affection between him and his students unwavering- he seeks a deeper connection and experience for himself and his students. An exemplar of what it means to teach at Davis.
Our teachers and students’ passion for chochma (wisdom) exemplifies who we are as a community of learners.
When I returned to the lower school, I happened past a classroom where a number of teachers were having lunch. Laughing, sharing, enjoying each others company- surely they planned this meal together. No- just another example of the beautiful chemistry of our community. And while plans for the weekend after a week of back to school night events were part of the conversation, these educators spoke as enthusiastically about their love of the students and excitement for the learning that occurred during the week.
Inarticlable energy in the classroom, fabulous collaboration and cooperation among teachers, administrators, and parents, creative learning experiences in the classroom and out, and a warm community feeling highlighted this day. Everyone in our community is committed to the important Tzedek (righteous service) that is unifying a community and educating our children.
Today wasn’t the exception, but rather the norm at Davis. Nevertheless, each day feels like a special celebration of who we are as a community.