Shalom and Welcome to Gann Academy

When you walk through the halls of Gann or explore the pages of this website, you will find it hard to believe that our school just turned 20 years old. The same kind of bold, innovative thinking that inspired our founders to create this new, international model of Jewish high school education continues to animate this dynamic community today.

High school is an incredible time in the life of a young adult. These four years are about developing skills and gaining knowledge, yes, but they are also a time for growth, exploration, and for discovering who you are.

What I love about Gann is that from the moments our students arrive in the morning until they complete their classes, sports, arts and extracurricular activities, sometimes late in the evening, they fill our campus with open and spirited debate, passionate engagement with ideas, and deep analytical thinking – all taking place on the foundation of a caring, compassionate, and joyful community.

Gann’s outstanding faculty sharpens our students’ intellects, challenging them to become both analytical as well as creative, out-of-the-box thinkers. Whether reading literature, conducting a science experiment, or deconstructing a Talmudic argument, Gann students learn that academic excellence requires the ability and the courage to ask interesting and essential questions, and the drive and the skills to explore various possible answers.

A Gann education also inspires our students to think deeply about what matters to them as people. What do you value and what do you care most about? Where do you come from, what communities are you part of, and for what future do you feel responsible? The power of being in a diverse Jewish community during these formative years is that our students learn to find meaning, inspiration, and purpose in their Jewish heritage as they navigate their human journey.

The result is that our students develop into intellectually confident, ethically responsible, passionately engaged citizens and leaders, creators of the future and repairers of the world.
I invite and encourage you to explore this website to learn more about a Gann education.

With blessings,

Rabbi Marc Baker
Head of School
 

Rabbi Baker's Weekly Message

List of 5 news stories.

  • Just Do It

    Head of School, Rabbi Marc Baker
    9 February 2018
    24 Shevat 5778

    Shalom Chaverim, 

    I want to share with you my words to our students last Friday about an insight that I had recently into an important Jewish concept. 

    Our community was deeply saddened last week when the father of one of our students passed away after a long illness. As we explained to our students, there are really no words to adequately express our grief in times like this and, often, the best we can do is to be there for our friend and classmate and student and her family. This is what it means to be a community—we celebrate together, and we mourn together. 
    Read More
  • Seeds of the Future

    Head of School, Rabbi Marc Baker
    2 February 2018
    17 Shevat 5778 

    Shalom Chaverim, 

    This week was Tu B’Shevat, known as the “birthday” of the trees. It is a holiday that can be difficult to relate to when you’re not living in the land of Israel and beating to the rhythm of biblical, agricultural time. Contemporary Jews have reclaimed the holiday for its connections to Zionism and environmentalism and for its mystical, spiritual dimensions. 

    When I walked out of my office on Wednesday, I encountered a tree made out of paper with leaves of words taped on it.  
    Read More
  • Song of the Sea

    Head of School, Rabbi Marc Baker
    26 January 2018
    10 Shevat 5778

    Shalom Chaverim,
     
    It has been a whirlwind of a week! I have been both overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support since my announcement on Tuesday and inspired by the expressions of confidence and excitement for me, Gann, CJP, and our entire community. 
     
    Our students’ response has been particularly heartwarming and encouraging. When I spoke with them through my teary eyes on Tuesday, they listened with openness and respect and reacted with maturity and caring for me and our school. Many have expressed gratitude, blessings, and words of wisdom well beyond their years. One even offered to serve as interim Head of School! And students are already offering input and suggestions about the future leadership of the school, taking responsibility for our community exactly as I charged them to do. Their responses speak to the character of our community and to how values- and purpose-driven our school is.
     
    Read More
  • Make Your Life a Work of Art

    19 January 2018
    3 Shevat 5778 


    Shalom Chaverim,
     
    “You must build your life as if it were a work of art.”
    -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

    I’ve been thinking about this quote all week as our student artists displayed their work, their learning, and their talent in end-of-the-semester performances, showings, and workshops. Art has so much to teach us about life and learning, some of which I have written about before.  

    I recently met an educator who pursued a fine arts degree in theater before becoming a teacher. I asked him in what ways his experience as an actor has shaped his thinking about education, and he shared two ideas. The first was the idea of a covenantal community in which everyone is truly accountable to everyone else. As a high school student, he felt that school had been more like a solo endeavor to him, where his academic performance only affected himself. The theater taught him what it means to need and be needed by peers who are creating something together. “Kol Yisrael arevim zeh l’zeh – All of Israel is responsible for/bound up with one another,” the Jewish tradition teaches. Theater taught him about what it means to be part of a learning community. 

    Read More
  • What Makes a Good Story?

    Head of School, Rabbi Marc Baker
    12 January 2018
    25 Tevet 5778

    Shalom Chaverim,

    This week I had the pleasure of sitting in on the final presentations of an 11th grade American Literature class. Based on short stories that they had read throughout the semester, students shared their perspectives on the "essential question" of the class: "What makes a good story?" Their top five answers included elements of stories such as complex characters, emotionally resonant themes, and a plot that includes change or a journey.

    I loved that the students’ reflections on the literature they read included both critical analysis and personal connections to the stories, the characters, and even the authors. Asking questions such as "What speaks to me or resonates with me?" means that students are forced to learn about the texts they study and about themselves. Perhaps, most importantly, they come to see connections between the two. The pedagogical power of a great essential question not only deepens students’ learning and understanding but also deepens the relevance of material from a surface-level "what does this mean to me" to a richer, more textured sense of, in the spirit of the great philosopher of education John Dewey, "How does this material really map onto the authentic questions of my life?"

    Read More
  • GANN ACADEMY
  • 333 Forest Street
  • Waltham, MA 02452
  • P: 781.642.6800
  • F: 781.642.6805