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As we settle back into routine after the holiday season, Prizmah is gathering together leaders of the day school field for a major convening. We are hosting Leaders to Leaders and the fall gatherings of Prizmah’s leadership training programs, the Head of School Excellence Program (HOSPEP) for new heads, and YOU Lead for current and up-and-coming leaders. These three events are taking place together at the same location next week, as we double down on the power of shared learning. We believe strongly that “getting back to routine” means building in time for learning, even as the school year’s engine is just getting revved.

Bringing together such an impressive group of school leaders to take part in these powerful experiences creates momentum in each person’s learning. We cultivate an environment where planned discussions and incidental elevator conversations can yield dramatic impact on individual school leaders, communities, and the Jewish day school field at large. There is no better time for this gathering of great minds and dynamic personalities than now, early in the school year.

Traditionally, the month of Cheshvan, following all the holidays of Tishrei, is called “Marcheshvan,” literally “bitter Cheshvan.” We anthropomorphize the month itself, attributing to it an emotional state of sadness as it comes—holiday-less—after the great joy and celebrations of the month before. (For a deeper exploration into the derivation of this name, including some debate over its significance, I invite you to read this article.) If we accept the idea of a letdown after all the holidays, we acknowledge the very human tendency toward routine, the comfort with doing things as they are usually done. Perhaps, though, we can turn the “bitterness” of the month into an opportunity. Full work-weeks give us the chance to deliberate and improve upon our routine in order to invigorate the life of our school. This is what Prizmah’s conferences are meant to achieve.

Those attending one of the three gatherings in Newark will have extensive peer-to-peer interactions (the core learning platform of Leaders to Leaders), as well as opportunities to incorporate expertise on topics such as leadership presence and change management. Whether in HOSPEP or YOU Lead cohorts, or in deep conversation focused on dilemmas of practice, participants will make time to reflect upon and apply new ideas to themselves and their schools.

The acts of reflection and application are key ingredients for starting the year off strong and for making innovation a priority, for not getting stuck in the rut of routine. As Prizmah launches its own long-term strategic planning process (watch for more details in a future issue), we follow the same advice: know what you are doing, do it well, and continue to grow and integrate new ideas.

It is not too late to register for Leaders to Leaders, an intensive two-day experience to examine your own dilemmas of practice that influence your success and that of your school. Learn more here or contact Shira Heller.