July 14, 2024
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July 14, 2024
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Ma’ayanot Studies Leadership Training

A high school student wins her campaign for student council or she is selected to run a committee. The moment of acceptance feels triumphant, but eventually reality sets in and she is expected to take on a leadership role. How will she know what to do? How will she have the confidence to succeed?

For Ma’ayanot student leaders—those who have been elected to serve on G.O. (Ma’ayanot’s student government organization) or who have been appointed as heads of Ma’ayanot’s numerous committees—the answer is Ma’ayanot’s leadership training seminar, a half-day, hands-on experiential workshop that took place on Friday, September 15.

Organized by Sarah Gordon, director of student activities and experiential education, this leadership training seminar was designed with the following goals in mind:

teaching of concrete, step-by-step instructions for how to develop and run successful student programming;

development of a shared language for giving and receiving constructive feedback;

exploration of positive strategies for successful team building;

tailoring each student’s training for her specific role or responsibility on her committee (for example, PR, social media, and creative programming, among others).

“Often students are thrown into leadership positions with little training or support,” said Gordon. “Our plan at Ma’ayanot is for this seminar to give students practical training on how to succeed in their leadership roles and space for reflection on their growth as leaders.”

This year’s program, the third year of the leadership training seminar, began with a Dvar Torah by Rivka Kahan, the school’s principal, followed by a variety of interactive sessions taught by Ma’ayanot faculty. Classes included practical guidelines on how to run productive meetings and how to balance schoolwork while running extra-curricular activities. Former student committee heads also presented “programming successes and failures” to help their peers achieve success.

Sarah Rosenfeld, a junior who is head of the holiday enhancement committee, said that she learned how to delegate responsibilities without being condescending. She appreciated the advice to start a meeting by summarizing what needs to get done so that the conversation doesn’t veer off course. “I also learned to follow up with people who are assigned to roles in person and not by text, which will help things get done” she said.

Eliana Lebowitz, a junior who is vice president of programming on G.O., added that she liked the idea of assigning committee members to participate in activities as observers so they can give constructive feedback. “That way we can learn how to do better next time and become better leaders,” she said.

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