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Leadership Day at Ma’ayanot

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Thursday, November 7th, was no ordinary day at Ma’ayanot. Peek in the gym and you would find students playing with feathers, string, tarps and balls, and even building structures out of plumbing pipes. It was Leadership Day at Ma’ayanot, and while there was lots of fun, and even some games, participants were engaged in serious activities meant to foster group cohesion, build personal confidence and instill the feeling that every person in a group can make a difference.

For the second year in a row, Ma’ayanot contracted with Dr. Jim Cain, noted author and principal consultant of Teamwork and Teamplay, to run a full day of programming for various groups within the school, including the entire senior grade, the faculty and student leaders.

The main portion of the day’s programming was dedicated to the senior grade. Elana Flaumenhaft, Assistant Principal for Student Life, explained that she likes to run leadership training for the senior grade to make sure that all students, those who strive to be leaders and those who shy away from the spotlight, understand that “you don’t have to be the loudest or the most outspoken person in the room to be a leader. You need confidence, you need to be comfortable with yourself, and you need to believe that you can make a difference. This program will help all students get to the point where they realize they can make a difference in whatever they set out to do.”

During lunch Dr. Cain gave a seminar for teachers on the theme of building relationships within the classroom. He acknowledged that much of what goes on in the classroom is task oriented, but he also explored how and why students respond better to assigned tasks within an environment that fosters positive and safe relationships, both between students, and between students and teachers.

Later in the day Dr. Cain ran one last training session for Ma’ayanot’s student leaders, including G.O. (student government) representatives and committee chairs. Before introducing Dr. Cain, Ms. Flaumenhaft explained why training of the sort they were about to receive is crucial for student leaders. “You have all chosen to assume leadership roles within the school,” she explained, “but we want to make sure that you succeed well in those roles, and to do that we need to help learn how to work together, how to manage a project, how to delegate responsibility, and how to get the rest of the student body interested in what you are doing. We want to make sure you succeed as leaders here at Ma’ayanot, and also for the future.”

The day was clearly enjoyable and, according to senior Hannah Ash, meaningful as well. “I learned valuable skills for the workforce, like how to lead a team, how to work collaboratively, and how to value the opinions of others.”

Spoken like a future leader.

By Pam Ennis

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