As part of our faculty preparation time before school started, we went on a two-day retreat. We toured an old mill, tried geo-caching, and even climbed Quandary Peak (the summit of which stretches to 14,265 feet).
That last part generally either really impresses people or makes them really grateful they are not part of our faculty. For us, though, it was less about the experience of climbing a mountain and more about what it taught us as individuals and as a team. Not surprisingly, among our six faculty members (and our board chair who joined us for a bit) were various levels of fitness and experience in climbing mountains. For some of us, it was an easier task, and for some it was quite the challenge. There were times that we weren’t sure we’d all make it to the top, but we did. And we did because we were a community of people who supported and relied on each other. We cheered each other on and took breaks. We allowed people to go at their own pace. We stayed in communication about how we were each feeling and what we needed, and we considered the group’s needs in addition to our individual needs.
Ultimately, we made it to the top (and back down, which was actually more challenging) because we did it as a team.
We’re now in our fourth day with students, and we’re building a different kind of team.
We’ve started to form our community, with kids asking about each other when they notice someone is missing. We’ve started setting our norms, sharing a vocabulary of kind words. We’ve spent lots of time focusing on safety, from crossing the road to wearing masks to washing hands to respecting personal space. And, most importantly, for us, we’ve engaged in some amazing learning. Kids who have never spoken the language before are excited about learning Hebrew. Kids who never liked math are excited about the subject. Kids who struggle to express themselves are writing stories.
And that’s just the mornings.
In the afternoons, we’ve delved deeply into the world of water and boats and ships. We’ve explored what sinks or floats and how to survive a hurricane. We’ve looked at Biblical boats and modern boats and how the structure of a boat suits its purpose. We’ve looked at how sea vessels are powered and how they maneuver obstacles...all of this building towards Friday when our teams integrate all that they have learned and apply it to different challenges.
More than that, though, we’ve learned quite a bit about building teams and communicating with each other. We’ve learned how to listen and share and consider. We’ve learned how to come together for a greater purpose. We’ve learned how to work with people who are very different from us.
We’re building our school team. And we’re only on day four.
We have been so fortunate to have a phenomenal team on our side this past year while we’ve been designing our school, and we’re so fortunate to have an extraordinary team with us as we start the school. We have four incredible teachers who have stepped up in every way, truly acting as team players. We have eight amazing board members who have supported us and guided us through different stages of this process. We have four outstanding advisory board members who are there with answers when we’re not even sure of our questions. We have 20 spectacular families who have taken a leap of faith with us and have been so patient in so much newness. We have countless other extraordinary individuals and consultants and donors who have believed in us and pushed us through this journey.
The best part of being on a team is the feeling of being in something together, of drawing on each others’ strengths to achieve something you wouldn’t be able to do as an individual. Sitting here, on day four of Einstein Academy, it’s clear how strong our team is...our team of faculty members...our team of 27 students...our team of supporters...all of the different pieces of the Einstein Academy team.
We know we couldn’t be doing any of this without our team. So thank you! Go Team Einstein!