What exactly it is that makes Lerner Lerner?
To paraphrase another long-time Lerner community member, Lerner is a school, a community, a place of learning and discovery. It is a home, a playground, a testing ground, and an ideal. It is warm, compassionate, open and inviting. It is diverse, challenging and engaging. It is more than each student and each family, more than administrators or teachers. It is a sum that is greater than its parts. It is a community institution and a community treasure. One word, one perspective, one picture cannot encompass all the learning, all the spirit, all the depth, all the friendship, all the love, all the community, all the tzedakah, tikkun olam, and g’milud hasadim that has emanated from Lerner’s walls for the past 25 years.
Lerner’s identity boils down to two things: people and philosophy. Our philosophy is best explained by our mission:
The Lerner School is committed to achieving the highest standards of academic excellence, fostering the learning of Jewish values, culture and traditions, while building a diverse and caring community ONE CHILD A TIME.
While the exact wording of our mission has evolved a little bit over our 25 year history, one thing has remained the same: we are focused on meeting the needs of each child ONE CHILD AT A TIME. Everything we do at Lerner is rooted in doing what is best for our students. The curriculum and our teaching strategies are designed to be flexible and adaptable to the learning needs of our students. Our schedule and class sizes are designed around the developmental needs of our students. Every decision we make at Lerner comes back to one question: what is best for the students?
Philosophy is great, and it is aspirational, but philosophy means nothing without people breathing life into it every day. The people living and breathing our mission make Lerner different from every other school in the Triangle. So who are these people?
First, Lerner is our students. Our students are curious, and creative, and smart. They are verbose and energetic and fun to be around. They are thoughtful, caring and kind. They are inquisitive and they ask great questions. Our students push the rest of us to be our best selves.
Lerner is also our teachers. Our teachers are caring and compassionate. They are creative and energetic and fun to be around. They make learning feel like play-time. They push our students to be their best selves. And they push themselves and each other to be the best teachers possible for our students. Good enough is never good enough for our teachers. Our teachers are constantly looking for new inspiration and new ideas. They don’t believe in worksheets or cookie-cutter teaching units. They strive for excellence in everything that they bring to their classrooms.
Our teachers also deeply understand that every student learns differently, sometimes in small ways and sometimes in big ways. They recognize that despite our students’ differences, every child deserves to learn the way they learn best. One of our students had trouble last year learning long multiplication, so the teacher tried other methods that she thought would work better for the student. I heard her say to the student, “It is okay that you haven’t mastered this yet. Your job is to ask questions, my job is to keep helping you and explaining it in different ways until you understand it, no matter how long it takes.”
Our teachers are not here to teach to a test. They are here to nurture their students and help each one reach their full potential. Sometimes our teachers have to be creative and think outside the box to help students reach their potential. Fortunately, Lerner is blessed to have extraordinary faculty who are fully committed to our students and fulfilling our mission. Every decision teachers and administrators make at Lerner comes back to one question: what is best for the students? But students and teachers are not the only people who make Lerner Lerner.
Lerner is ALSO our families. Parents and children, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles and cousins, grandparent, and great-grandparents. Lerner families believe in our mission and they share a deep belief in the Lerner way: shared Jewish values and traditions and a foundation to excel one child at a time. Thank you to each of you for entrusting the Lerner School with your precious children. We are proud to provide their earliest education and a safe place for each of them to learn and grow. Lerner has served the community with integrity and passion for 25 years. We continue to fulfill our commitment to provide a strong Jewish education, but we could not do it without you.
Lerner would not be what it is without each and every one of you. The families who established our school and its philosophy 25 years ago had the vision to see what a Jewish community day school could do for our community. Over those 25 years, Lerner has grown and it has changed, but Lerner grown to be a cornerstone of the Triangle Jewish Community. Lerner was built by our founding families, and we continue to build and grow Lerner each and every year. Thank you for being part of the Lerner community.
Head of School