Over Veterans Day weekend, Rabbi Yechiel Hoffman, Jewish studies teacher, Mr. Pavel Lieb, biology teacher, Mr. Shawn Watanabe, mathematics department chair, Nancy Sackett, science department chair, and Jake Fishman ’11 were invited to attend the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) conference in San Francisco. At the conference, the five Milken representatives spoke about student-centered learning, focusing mainly on the development of Tiyulim week.
Once Dr. Roger Fuller, upper school principal, approached Hoffman and Lieb about participating in the conference, they decided to bring along a student leader. As one of the few students to successfully organize a tiyul, they thought it appropriate to ask Fishman to join them.
Together, conducted by Fishman, they articulated the importance of student leadership to over 20 people from all over the country while also directing them towards achieving student-piloted learning in their own schools.
While in San Francisco, the five representatives visited a few schools in the area. At one of these schools, there was a mandatory class for all ninth and tenth graders called leadership. In this class, students were able to develop both their personal and global leadership skills while also speaking about issues of racism and sexism.
“From my time spent at the conference, I was able to experience and be inspired by the ways in which other schools teach, yet also realize that we too do great things,” Hoffman said.
The conference enabled the representatives from Milken to recognize that Milken was closely associated with many of the other schools, and that this kind of student initiated learning is something that is growing among progressive educational communities. The representatives also hope to apply what they’ve learned at the conference to some aspects of our community.