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January 1, 2015

Living the Talking Points

by Dr. Eliezer Jones

This year for me has come with many firsts and this week was no different. I was a part of my first VTHS roundtable discussion for parents interested in sending their children to our school. Having no experience in such a presentation I did not know what to expect. There was no prep, written speeches or videos to show like at our Open House. I felt like we were going in blind and, I have to tell you, I was a little nervous. As we discussed internally, we were not going to prepare any polished speeches or presentations. We were going to discuss what we know to be true about the school and answer any questions. Simple as that. Well, we did that, and, in my humble opinion, we did very well. That is what I wanted to share with you.

If you are reading this you are either in the school, were at some point, planning or thinking about coming here, are connected in some way or accidently stumbled on this post online. So, for most of you, there is no need to get into all the great things that make up VTHS that we discussed that night. What I wanted to share was how we discussed it and why I believe in our school.

The administration, athletics director and our Director of Recruitment attended the roundtable. We sat among the parent attendees in a large informal circle in our hosts living room. Wonderful things were said by us and wonderful things were said by parents who had students either in the school now or in previous years. However, what struck me, and was pointed out by our host, there was such a strong mutual respect for each other on the VTHS team, clear love for what we do and a focus on the education and students.

As we spoke, there was a constant appreciation stated for each others contributions to the success of Valley Torah. As stated, there was neither a plan or a discussion prior about making sure we look like a team. It just is the way we are and I was so happy to see that it was obvious to those who did not know us. In regard to the school itself, everything we spoke about was focused on what we do to educate, grow and support our students. Yes, we spoke about the many innovative programs we have, are integrating and plan to integrate, but never at the expense of our core mission that the students are our priority. We were not a PR machine. We were ourselves. We were, as we are, a group of educators who love what we do and the students for whom we do it for. In fact, Rabbi Stulberger set this tone at the start of the meeting when he very clearly made the point that each parent must choose the school that is right for their child, regardless of whether it is or is not VTHS. That is the bottom line. We are committed to ensuring each and every student at Valley Torah is successful and is in the right environment for them. This is not always an easy task, but we strive for the continued and growing success that we have. At the end of the night, I walked away a proud member of the VTHS team and realized that we do not require any talking points to make clear what we are doing at VTHS. We live the talking points.

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