What is the purpose of learning?
What kind of students are we trying to educate at Gann?
At Gann, we educate students to discover and to be themselves—to develop their intellects, their own unique relationship with Judaism and their own path toward the future. We also want our students to be reflective, responsible and ethical learners and citizens.
That’s the aim of Chanoch LaNa’ar (CLN), a school-wide program launched in 2012 that encourages students to develop the habits of heart and mind necessary to build meaningful, ethical Jewish identities. The program will roll out over the next few years.
At the core of this program is our focus on middot. By middot we mean more than just character traits like patience and trust. We’re interested in how traits combine to form identity and establish integrity.
We think of middot as our responses to the the world—points of intersection—a way of learning and growing. Learning about and developing character traits engages our intellectual, spiritual, social and emotional life and helps us build strong Jewish identities.
Leading by Example
CLN starts with faculty and staff and is built around a series of workshops and daily practice. We’ve found that when school leaders are engaged in character development, their personal growth improves their work with students.
Our approach focuses on leadership and professional development because the adults in our community offer the greatest leverage for cultural change.
Student leaders are also currently involved in CLN workshops, and by the time the program is completely implemented CLN will be part of classroom activities, advisory, special programming about adolescent social-emotional issues and all school programming about politics, culture and ethics.