Reflect, set SMARTgoals, and take action

If you walked through the halls of Gesher this week, you would hear the sound of the shofar, the singing of holiday songs, and students engaged in serious and thoughtful discussion, reflecting on their personal goals for the upcoming year. As a Jewish community, the holiday season is the time we dedicate to goal setting, self-reflection, and building a stronger community. As we are settling into the new school year at Gesher, we are evaluating ourselves and our school in the same way.

Each new year, we have the opportunity to reflect and empower our students to set goals for themselves. The students declare their hopes and dreams often through SMARTgoals, goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound. Often, student goals are set around improving specific skills or working hard to create better habits. For instance, one student proudly declared “my hope and dream is to read 10 books in 3 months so I can get better at reading” while another student’s goal was “to stay on task and complete my work when I am supposed to.” Our students are entering the new year ready to challenge themselves and establish positive habits with an open mind.

Our teachers have also spent time reflecting on their teaching practices. Each Gesher teacher engaged in a process of self-reflection under the guidance of their supervisor or coach, which, in turn, informed the setting of goals to improve teaching and provide opportunities for professional growth. This process challenges every teacher to grow with intentionality. The Jewish New Year is a time that energizes us to look at our past accomplishments and propels us towards further growth.

Gesher as an institution also set educational goals this year so that we can reorient and push our school towards greatness. We set a goal to improve communication externally and internally as well as move our teaching towards data-informed instruction. Our goal is to collect and use data effectively to improve our teaching and provide greater ability to collaborate with parents about student progress.
I hope that each of you will take a moment to step back and embrace the fullness of the High Holiday season. Reflect, set SMARTgoals, and take action. May we nurture the seeds we plant today so that 5780 can be a year of exciting growth together.

Shanah Tovah U’metukah!