The Boiling Point

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The BP Editorial Board

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Yet another drastic change in the administration was announced this week.

Feels like the same old story.

Last year, Rabbi Weinbach resigned just a month after the announcement of the lower schools’ closing. This year, two teachers who have taught here for over a decade were not renewed. And now Mr. Tranchi is leaving for Oakwood School in North Hollywood.

We all hear it; we all think it. Shalhevet’s “instability” seems to be the buzz around school and even around town.

But these changes are different, in a larger-scale kind of way, and students are concerned and angry. Fully 25 percent of faculty and administration that were here last fall will not roam the halls next year, granted part of that is due to warranted down-sizing.  But it’s not the numbers; it’s the people.

And the majority of them have worked at Shalhevet for 8 years or more.

So what is our responsibility as Shalhevet students?

If we genuinely want to preserve the Shalhevet culture that we always complain is on the verge of disappearing, we have to meet the incoming leadership at the front gates of our school on Day 1 and prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that no decision will slip under our keen noses unexamined.

It’s on us to display just how much we care about keeping the faculty and way of life.  If culture is something we actually care about, it’s time to show it through more than one event every couple of years.

Obviously, we’re not shooting for anarchy, so we don’t need to ditch more classes or escalate our actions to new levels. But make your feelings known to teachers, administrators, and incoming Heads of School.

Be skeptical, be Shalhevet. Students’ voices and protests are important. The incredible protest held to keep a teacher who’s very dear to many was inspiring. In the coming year, we may need to fight for the things we care most about at Shalhevet – not just the people, but the things. The things that make Shalhevet Shalhevet to you – whatever they are.

Because whether or not we support particular decisions, there’s something we should always support, and that’s Shalhevet itself. We love the concept of it, the idea of it, and the school itself.  There is Town Hall on Thursdays, a weekly Ma’agal, and our basketball teams can’t ever beat YULA (Next year…).

And in the meantime, have a little faith, everyone. Hostility toward next year’s administration sets the wrong tone, but complacency is just as dangerous. It’s good for Shalhevet students to demonstrate, especially when everyone seems to be on the same page. But we shouldn’t harbor an assumed anger toward people who aren’t even yet here.

Instead, we should do our best to accept that they are our new leaders.We should welcome them as warmly as we can when they arrive while definitely reserving our right to question, examine, and sometimes, to challenge major decisions.

If we can maintain this delicate balance of hospitality and critique, we can ensure that Shalhevet stays the way we like it – and even make it better. If ever there was a place where the student body could write its own destiny, it’s Shalhevet School.

We are Shalhevet, the flame that renews itself.  Especially now.

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