- Religious School
T’shuvah. Return. This is a central aspect of the High Holy Days. Throughout the month leading up to Rosh Hashanah, shofar blasts awaken our souls and call us to return to our best and most authentic selves. As deeply personal as this is to all of us as individuals, these same acts of introspection, reflection, understanding, and improvement can be seen among Temple staff and throughout our offices, schools, and camps.
Our schools, in particular, have been working not just in these preparatory weeks but throughout the entire year to identify the qualities and characteristics that continually lead people who know our students to say how remarkable they are. That our students at every level continue on to great schools and academic excellence are established facts. Of course, much credit goes to outstanding faculty, staff, and families who support and inspire learning. But to compete effectively with the best schools in the city, what makes the schools of Wilshire Boulevard Temple not only great but unique? What do our schools provide that is better and different? Equally important, even though each school and program is distinctive, from Baby and Me and Nursery School to Elementary and Religious School, do they actually share a common mission?
To help us answer these and other questions, the Temple engaged ISM, Inc., the leading school-management consulting firm. The research on our behalf included detailed surveys, on-site observations, and meetings with more than 100 people, including parents, faculty, clergy, and staff. Their analysis validated many strengths and provided new insights. Their findings and recommendations also revealed the opportunity presented by a common mission and challenged faculty and staff at the schools to work together to develop it.
In a series of after-school meetings, a working group of classroom teachers, operations staff, heads of school, site directors, and principals from our schools, guided by our consultant, informed by the research, and facilitated by Temple staff, crafted these words that now represent the mission of Wilshire Boulevard Temple Schools:
We provide an unparalleled educational experience rooted in Jewish values—inspiring innovative thinking, empowering responsible leadership, and honoring individuality within a nurturing community.
It is interesting to understand how significant Jewish values are to what makes the unparalleled educational experience in our schools exceptional. Research showed that families looking for a school might not initially focus on the Jewish aspect, but regardless of which of our schools they attend, they find Jewish values to be extremely valuable and enriching to their experience. Another is our nurturing community. This was the first time in our consultant’s years of practice that she found community life to be so strong and such a meaningful part of the educational experience.
The shofar blast last year called us to take a deep and honest look at ourselves. We answered that call and return this year as our best and most authentic.
Education is at the core of being Jewish. Our schools and camps help mold the essence of a fulfilling Jewish life. From our earliest Baby and Me all the way through lifetime learning opportunities, this is who we are.
Whether or not you have children of school age, I invite everyone to look at our Baby and Me and Nursery School Programs in the Early Childhood Centers, Kindergarten through Grade 6 at our Brawerman Elementary Schools, Grade 1 all the way through high school in our Religious Schools, and our camps. If you are already a school family, please accept our thanks. To everyone, we extend our very best wishes for the New Year. L’shanah tovah!