Recently, my husband Fred was reminded that his late father liked to quote Archimedes by saying, “Give me a lever and I can move the world.” Fred shared this idiom with me and it stuck; it felt like an expression of hope and confidence. I had never heard it before so I looked it up to learn more. The actual quotation is, “Give me a lever long enough and a fulcrum on which to place it, and I shall move the world.” I like this one too and thought it would be great to share with our second graders who studied levers in their simple machine unit. It still conveys the same optimism and confidence, but with more description and accuracy. Our second graders can explain how the length of a lever affects its force. They can also identify and define a fulcrum and its purpose. Can you? These were learning objectives from their unit – impressive for eight year olds.

Last spring, I listened to voices from parents, faculty, and community leaders to learn as much as I could about our school. My work this first year was to be an agent of change who could move our school forward and bring a new spirit of optimism, hope, and confidence about the school. I drafted a strategic plan to address concerns and move our school forward. First and foremost, I knew that I couldn’t do it alone; a lever needs the fulcrum for support while trying to move an object. I am blessed to have incredible people working alongside me. My fulcrum included my administrative team, the faculty and staff, the Board of Directors, and of course, my husband and family who have supported me through this journey. Together, we all have moved the world. We have an incoming kindergarten class of at least fourteen students, we have the lowest attrition rate in years, resulting in over twenty percent growth in enrollment. We have a striking new logo and attributes to describe the educational experience at Cohen Hillel. Our students and teachers are harnessing technology’s tools to showcase teaching, learning, and achievement; everyone is eager to come to school each day. Attendance at Kabbalat Shabbat and school-wide events is the highest in years – our community is strong, vibrant, and energized!

With a lever and fulcrum, we have moved the world, but there is still so much more to do; by no means have we reached the summit of the mountain and there have been, and always will be, setbacks that have us moving more slowly or changing direction or starting again. Growing and continually improving our school is a monumental task that requires great effort and one that never ends.  Become part of the fulcrum and spread the word about your child’s and your family’s experience this year. Talk, post, tweet, and write about the excellent teaching, the remarkable relationships between teachers and students, and our warm community. Cohen Hillel is strong and we are confident and hopeful; together we will continue to move the world.