PAGE THREE: New schedule reflects our school’s values

By Shana Lunzer, Staff Columnist

At the end of every August, I spend 10 days with my entire extended family on my mom’s side. We are around 40 people, each with our own very strong opinions and personalities. This sometimes makes for frustrating conversations, as you may fundamentally disagree with what another family member might have said.

During lunch on one of those days, my parents and I were discussing high schools with two of my cousins. One of them very loudly told us that she would never send her kids to Shalhevet because she disagrees with it “hashkafically.” When I asked her to elaborate, expecting her to take issue with the co-ed environment, she said she didn’t like the extent to which the school “empowers its students.”

At first, I was a bit flabbergasted that a mother wouldn’t want her children to feel empowered. But the more her statement marinated, the more pride replaced my initial frustration. Pride that I belong to an institution with such a reputation. An institution that recognizes its students as people and not sponges, a school where the administration explains the psychology behind our new ridiculous schedule, so we know that there is a method behind the seeming madness.

Many of us, myself included, jokingly comment about our school’s uncanny ability to shorten the amount of time spent on learning in favor of making publicity music videos, allowing longer Mincha breaks and in general creating more free time for the students. However, I don’t think we stop to realize how incredible it is that the administration values our time as much as they expect us to value theirs.

Revolutionary in its founding, two decades later Shalhevet is still continuously trying to reshape its structure, literally and figuratively, to better mould itself to our learning. Some of these attempts fail, like the hollow beams connecting some of the classrooms, which force you to listen to Hebrew songs as you take a math test. But as of now, they haven’t stopped trying.

Similarly, it may be annoying to have a new schedule every year, sometimes every week. But what’s worse is when the administration of a school becomes apathetic and indifferent, and nothing changes at all. This year, the school recognized the flaws of last year’s new schedule and has tried to fix them. We should appreciate that.

Two years ago, then-Agenda rep Will Bernstein ‘16 credited Shalhevet for trying to create a “utopia” when officials cancelled many hours of class for a schoolwide “Just Community Reorientation.”  Personally, I didn’t find the reorientation to be wholly effective, and therefore the school failed in its attempt at creating a utopian institution. Where they succeeded was in proving to the students that we are all equal members of our community.

As the ever-evolving changes continue in different forms, and realistically some more effective than others, it’s important for us as students to recognize the meaning behind them and how they contribute to Shalhevet’s mission as a whole. If we can see them without the cynic’s lens, we can all hopefully embrace the empowerment our school has always been, and will continue to be, attempting to instill in each one of us.